Bonswa! That’s ‘hello’ in Maltese if you’re reading this in the afternoon, if you’re reading in the morning, then it’s “bonġu”!
The jury rehearsal for this year’s Junior Eurovision has come and gone, and most of the scores are now being decided as we speak. So, with Kylie on the ground and John back in the UK keeping an eye on the news, will they agree on the eventual result?
So I just got home last night, finally getting a decent night’s sleep and now having to sit down and articulate my thoughts on what happened the past two weeks. I’ll try my best to get everything out of my system.
Two weeks ago I came to the Swedish capital with uncertainty but a good level of hope that I would enjoy this experience. I collected my press badge, reunited with some of my friends in press (too many to mention, you all know who you are), walked through Gamla stan and had a tour of the Euroclub/Fan Cafe. I was already starting to settle down and prepare myself for the first slog of rehearsals the following day. It was great to be back in the Eurovision Bubble.
The first week of rehearsals started and day-by-day we were all excited and anticipating over what each country would bring to the table. Some produced big applause, some produced huge rants, and some produced large indifference. As you can see on the site, I made daily video updates over my opinions of the rehearsals. Some people agreed with me, others, well, didn’t appreciate my criticism over certain performances to say the least.
Wednesday morning was the most nerve-wracking for me, because my favourite’s rehearsal was first up that day. “Please don’t have messed this up, please be good”, I kept saying to myself, as I was battling the negative thoughts in my head. I was pacing up and down the room as everyone I was sat with tried to calm me down. In the end the staging turned out fantastic and I could breath a sigh of relief, knowing that the Latvian delegation had done the song justice in my eyes.
After the joy of Wednesday, Thursday was a completely different story. Norway had their first rehearsal, and as soon as I saw it I was extremely worried. “Oh no, this is now going to do badly, I can’t bare to see my beloved Norway fail in the semis” as I broke down crying in what was the first of a handful of crying fits I had during those two weeks.
What really didn’t help was me getting extremely nasty comments later that day from people taking offense to what I said about a certain country’s rehearsal the day before in my video update. I understand if people don’t agree with my views on what makes a good staging, but it’s not easy seeing people tell you to be ashamed of yourself for being honest when you’ve been battling depression for over two years now.
By the Friday once we finally saw all 42 stagings, me and the ESC Insight and Eurovision Ireland crew, who I was sat with, were still none the wiser over who was going to win. I don’t like being uncertain in these circumstances, as to my slightly broken mind, it meant the higher chance of a nasty surprise.
I managed to get a couple of interviews with Greta and Poli, both of whom were so lovely and it was an absolute pleasure to meet and talk to, and both gave me big hugs after recording. I wish I had gotten the chance to speak with more artists, but it’s not easy to do everything required in a Eurovision fansite if you’re the only member of your team on the ground. Everyone who I managed to get a photo with were really nice, and it makes me realize how much I love working on this site, because everyone I meet whether it’s press or delegations or the actual artists are such wonderful people.
The first semi-final finally arrived and I was very excited and nervous at the same time. I actually had a ticket for the show and had a great time watching it with an Icelandic flag in hand. But then the results came, and the second of my crying fits followed. I was just heartbroken. I couldn’t believe what just happened actually happened. If I wasn’t so unsure of whether I was going to catch the last train to my apartment, I would’ve gone straight back to bed instead of sheepishly dragging myself to Euroclub. I think my reactions video said it all…
Everyone was shocked and upset, it wasn’t just me. I lost count of how many times someone spotted my t-shirt and consoled me over Iceland. I also bumped into Iceland’s Head of Press later that night, I told him that I was disappointed but they all seemed to be handling it well. Speaking of which, I bumped into Jüri Pootsmann at the end of the night, he saw my t-shirt and expressed to me how sad he was about Iceland. I responded by saying to him “I’m also sad about you, you were brilliant tonight”, but he smiled and said to me “please don’t be sad, it’s fine” before we gave each other a big hug.
The following day everyone kept saying “well, after what happened to Iceland, anything can happen tomorrow”, so naturally I was extremely worried about what could possibly happen to Justs the next day. I kept trying to convince myself “everything will be fine”, as once again the demons in my mind came out to wreak havoc on me. But the Thursday night finally came, and I finally had something to celebrate:
What you probably couldn’t hear at the end of the video is that I had bought a gift for Justs ready to give to him should he have qualified. I couldn’t give it to him in person as security had suddenly decided to have the second semi-final press conference table cordoned off from everyone, so I had to make do with getting Latvia’s Head of Press to come and collect it instead. It’s up to him whether or not he wants to show off my gift, but I’ll say that it was golden and came with a short message on a postcard.
The next two of my crying fits came the following day at the final jury rehearsal as I realized that soon it will all be over and I will have to leave everything behind. It was as if Post Eurovision Depression was about to make an early appearance for me and I really wasn’t ready for it. Thankfully I had a few shoulders to cry on as I was being an irrational fool in front of hundreds of people.
Final night came and I was hoping and praying that we would have a winner that I wouldn’t be upset about (not mentioning names). The voting came and I was freaking out over how all-over-the-place the jury scoring was. Once Australia was announced 4th in the televote and Poland was announced 3rd, the lightbulb clicked in my head and I immediately bounced and shouted “It’s Ukraine! We’re going to Ukraine next year!” as everyone tried to shut me up saying “No! We don’t know yet!”, as I had forgotten that we were sat next to a bunch of Russian journalists, how awkward!
But I knew that I was right. Once Russia’s televote score was finally revealed, the opposite end of the press centre exploded with blue and yellow flags, and I managed to run to the other end and congratulated a couple of Ukrainians and got a big group hug from them.
At the end of the day I was happy for them, and I was happy that we got a winner that I was pleased with. I partied at Euroclub in my dark red clothing until the early hours of the morning, it meant only getting two hours sleep before my flight home but I didn’t care. As I made my way back to the apartment, I spotted Justs coming out of the exit, and the first thing I did was give him a big hug and tell him how proud I was of him. He seemed really spaced out after a long night, but he thanked me for my support.
I still can’t quite believe that it’s all over, and it might take me a while to fully recover from the madness. But thank you to everyone who followed my ramblings on Twitter and on my daily video updates on the website, thank you to all my friends (both press and non-press) for putting up with me, thank you to SVT and all the organisers for making me feel welcome and doing such a great job, thank you to all the wonderful delegations and artists that I met who put their heart and souls into those performances.
And not least of all, thank you to a certain Mr. Sirmais for making me cry when I listened to his CD when I got home, it was an absolute pleasure meeting you and I hope we see each other again one day. I wish you all the best in the future!
I’m very much looking forward to going to Kiev (or whichever Ukrainian city we go to) next year!
Hej! The jury rehearsal for the second semi-final has come and gone, Kylie was there to witness it while Nicolas and Sara had to rely on videos and blogs from home. Will that show a difference in opinions and predictions between the three of us? Let’s find out…
Before we start, let’s have some quick comments about the first semi results:
Kylie: I don’t want to talk about it. At least my friends were happy, but, yeah… At least I wasn’t the only one in that press centre who was upset.
Nicolas: My god, for a split second I thought Malta wasn’t going to qualify, but then my heart was broken as Iceland was not announced last. But in general, I was very happy and, let’s not forget, for once I’m in the lead on ESC Pulse! I had 9 qualifiers right compared to Kylie and Sara’s 8! But.. I doubt I’ll keep that title after semi 2…
Sara: Iceland should’ve qualified! Go Austriaaaa!!!!! Just reminding people, by the way, that my predictions are based on a big load of statistics! So don’t blame me if I’m wrong!
Also, as there won’t be a podcast for predicting semi 2 (as we have quite a sick baby with us right now…) both Nicolas and I will actually try and predict the exact placing of every country on here instead!
Kylie: Yes. Talk about a jury performance! I just hope my heart doesn’t get broken again after Tuesday…
Nicolas: Yes. Though I’m not too fond of the song, there’s no denying he hits all the notes plus he’s very passionate. Should sail through! Will be 4th.
Sara: Yes. I don’t think this will do as well as people say it will. The staging is weak and boring and he’s pretty boring as a performer too… 6th.
Kylie: Yes. He kind of fluffed up the jury performance but I’ve always thought of this as more of a televote song, and I think it can get through on that basis.
Nicolas: Yes. Like Kylie said, televoting will save him, though I secretly hope he misses out. Will be 9th.
Sara: Yes. I think the juries will really like this, as long as he doesn’t make any mistakes and there are a lot of Polish people around Europe, so who knows. 4th!
Kylie: No. It’s just so weak compared to the two songs before and the one after it, and don’t get me started on her clown wig hair…
Nicolas: No. WHY did she decide to go for the curly hair? Anyway, it’s not like straight hair would’ve saved this. I think this year might have the interesting result of having the same last places in the semis as last year: Finland and Switzerland. 18th.
Sara: No. Just curling her hair is already putting her down five places. Bad decisions all around! 18th.
Kylie: Yes. Dark horse alert! I’m so sorry Nicolas for dismissing you in the review, you were right! The staging just looks so lovely and it’s very well sung, and it has THE pyro curtain of the year.
Nicolas: Yes. HAH, Kylie! At least I like that you aren’t trying to talk your way out of it. I had the feeling from the moment the final version got released that that would just wow everyone. The pyro rain will however not seem as impressive to viewers, I feel, because of Switzerland using it literally 3 minutes before. I do feel it’s one of tose that would do better in the final than in the semi, partly because of the draw. 8th.
Sara: No. I think it comes too early in the draw and too close to Poland to really have an impact. There’s nothing about this song that stands out (besides his sparkly clothes!!!). The backdrop has been done a million times before in this competition. 12th.
Kylie: No. I dunno, I just feel that between Israel and Serbia, this seems a bit trying too hard. I’m not confident about that statement though.
Nicolas: No. I really want this to qualify and I think that if someone like Mr Zelmerlöw (I don’t feel like going to copy the weird ‘a’, okay?!) had performed this with this staging, it’d be a definite top 10, but IVAN is still just as charisma-free as an overused toilet brush (or as Rykka’s hair, for that matter). Televoters will save this from the very bottom though. 13th.
Sara: No. He’s just too weird as a person and it will put people off. It’s a cool performance but I don’t see anybody voting for this. 13th
Kylie: Yes. Juries will love it and it’s not too dark or uncomfortable for the public to appreciate in my opinion.
Nicolas: Yes. If I were more daring, I’d say it’s top 5 in the final, but I need to see the performance first. But from what I’ve seen, it’s a perfect staging and her voice is outstanding. Great job, Serbia! 2nd in the semi!
Sara: Yes. I think this a really strong entry and a really good performance. She sounds spot on all the time and she’s a very likeable person. 5th.
Kylie: No. Being between two Balkan vocal powerhouses is very bad news for them. It just feels like a bit of fluff between two very substantial pieces of work. And yes, the fact that they’ve got a red backdrop for a song called freaking SUNLIGHT still makes me irrationally irritated.
Nicolas: No. I don’t think he’s chanceless just based on songs, as it’s very much in the vein of what Denmark would’ve sent between 2008 and 2011, but Nicky just can’t make it work. 15th.
Sara: No. This is just weak… Ireland doesn’t know how to stage their entries anymore. It’s so boring and the song lacks that certain je-ne-sais-quoi. 14th.
Kylie: Yes. I’m not 100% confident about this, but I’ve got a feeling that she might’ve done just enough to make it.
Nicolas: No. Though like Kylie said, not 100% sure either. I feel like this will narrowly miss out. In 2012 they only barely qualified with a much stronger song, so I feel like they might just miss out this time around. 11th.
Sara: No. It doesn’t appeal to juries nor televoting. Just too old-fashioned and her voice is something that you need to get used to and first time listeners won’t get the chance to do that and won’t enjoy it. But since they have a few friends in this semi they will get 11th anyway!
Kylie: No. I don’t know why, but today I got a hunch that this is going to fall short. I know they’ve got plenty of support in this semi, but something just doesn’t feel right here.
Nicolas: Yes. It won’t be as high as I first thought as I think the staging really fails to grab people’s attention. But Lithuania literally has all of its friends so I think it’ll manage to make it, though very narrowly! 10th.
Sara: Yes. I think this is the only song of its kind in this semi: a single male singing a real uptempo dance track. He’s a seasoned performer and I think if the camera shots are right he could impress quite a few viewers. 8th.
Kylie: Yes. Unfortunately…
Nicolas: Yes. No reason why this wouldn’t qualify. 3rd
Sara: Yes. She’s obviously one of the best singers in the competition this year and I feel like her performance will look really cool on screen (even though I haven’t seen it yet). 2nd.
Kylie: No. I don’t get the random acrobat and its running order position doesn’t really help.
Nicolas: No. This is the ultimate pee break material. 17th.
Sara: No. This song is too weak. Europeans don’t usually like country/pop songs like this. There’s a reason why Taylor Swift only really became popular in Europe after her change of style. And coming between Australia and Bulgaria will make her forgettable. 17th.
Kylie: Yes. It’s a really good pop song and people will appreciate that, it’s really enjoyable in my opinion
Nicolas: Yes. It should make it easily, but somehow I’m scared that if we have an Iceland 2.0 in this semi, it might be this… But loyal listeners will know that that’s just the pessimist in me talking, though I won’t let that part of me overrule the reasonable side of me! 5th.
Sara: Yes. I think a lot of the casual viewers will really like this song and relate to it. It’s extremely catchy and everybody will be singing it all night whether they know Bulgarian or not. 3rd.
Kylie: No. If they couldn’t qualify with the same schtick last year, what reason is there for them to do it this year?
Nicolas: No. Middle of the road things used to make it in Eurovision, but what statistics about this new voting system taught me is that the middle of the road songs are the ones that suffer the most from this. Juries might have this as qualifying, but televoters will forget about this completely. 14th
Sara: Yes. Just because I have faith in my Danish men, just like I had faith in them in DMGP! You’ll all see! 10th.
Kylie: Yes. It stands out in its semi and will be well-liked enough on both sides of the coin that they will be safely through.
Nicolas: Yes. I know that back in February I said this might be the shock failure of this year, but no way that this is going to happen. I’m even thinking this will win the semi. 1st!
Sara: Yes. It’s Ukraine. 1st.
Kylie: No. You have no idea how much it pains me to say it about my beloved Norway, so I’m just going to leave it at that and go cry…
Nicolas: Yes. I think people are being too harsh here. The song was seen as a definite qualifier at first and just because the box went away people now think this won’t qualify? Show a bit more faith in the actual song! She sings it really well and I think she’ll still sail through! 6th
Sara: Yes. I think the song appeals to teenage girls (I’m.. sorry, Kylie?) and you either love it or hate it. 9th.
Kylie: Yes. Another one that I’m not 100% confident on, but I’ve got a hunch that this might be exciting enough for people to appreciate and it MIGHT just sneak through, although I’m not entirely sure how much of that is my own personal wish…
Nicolas: No. As much as I want this to qualify, I can’t see the niche that this song appeals to pick up the phone to vote enough for this to qualify. And juries will sink it, I feel. 12th.
Sara: No. I think this song only appeals to a very small group of people and those people wouldn’t vote in Eurovision anyway. 16th.
Kylie: No. She really belts it out but it just does nothing and you will forget it by the time Belgium’s postcard comes on.
Nicolas: No. Again, if I were braver, I’d predict this as a shock qualifier, but I’m going to go safe and say that it’ll be completely forgotten between crazy Georgia and fun Belgium. 16th.
Sara: No. The song is lacklustre, lacks any type of real melody. People will be impressed by her voice but will forget her 30 seconds after the song’s over.
Kylie: Yes. Not much to say other than that it’s the semi-final closer that we all needed.
Nicolas: Yes. For once I’ll show faith in Belgium! I just feel like there’s too many things going for it to go really wrong in the semi. It’ll fail to do that well in the final, but the fact that it’s the only real fun song in this semi, with good choreography, making people want to dance, makes me quietly confident. 7th.
Sara: Yes. This is a funky song that people will enjoy. She’s really cute and super likeable. 7th.
Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoy the show, and if you agree/disagree with us, or want to make fun of us after the show for our incorrect predictions, hit us with a comment!
Hej! The jury rehearsal for the first semi-final has come and gone, Kylie was there to witness it while Nicolas and Sara had to rely on videos and blogs from home. Will that show a difference in opinions and predictions between the three of us? Let’s find out as we give a simple yes/no answer over whether each of the songs will qualify or not…
Kylie: First of all, I have to say that the production of this year’s show is so well produced, amazing graphics, I’m very impressed! I already can’t wait to see the other two shows now!
Nicolas: Our loyal listeners out there know that Sara and I have already made very detailed predictions, but following the jury rehearsal made me change one qualifier. In general though, wow (NOT secret advertising for Malta… although they did offer), what an amazing show it will be!
Sara: It all seems pretty good. Just a pity that so many countries almost screwed up their chances with bad staging decisions. But, as you might know, I always stick by my trusty statistics to predict the qualifiers! So I’ll probably fail again…
Kylie: No. It’s just an underwhelming start to the semi and it’s easily forgotten.
Nicolas: No. It’s not just underwhelming, it’s a completely wrong approach as well. When staging a fun uptempo song, going for an aggressive look and aggressive moves just doesn’t work. And the backing singers come across like five older mums wanting to do something cool (and inevitably cringeworthy) at some children’s party.
Sara: No. And if the song wasn’t enough to convince you that it won’t qualify, just look at that outfit.
Kylie: No. I thought it might just do it a week ago, but after the jury rehearsal, I just got a pretty good hunch that this might just get dragged down in the end. I’m very much open to being wrong on this one though.
Nicolas: No. This is the one I’m changing my mind on. Maybe the other Eurovision fans have made me more (too?) optimistic, but I’ll say this one will fail in favour of a country I’d much rather see in the final…
Sara: No. In a Utopian Land, songs like this should end last in Eurovision semis.
Kylie: No. I just think the astronaut is pretty silly, there’s no real reason for people to vote for it in my opinion.
Nicolas: No. Kylie said it all. It’s pleasant enough, but why would anyone want to vote for it? The only people I can imagine voting for it is your average Moldovan housewife. And that might be a bummer for Lidia.
Sara: No. This song simply failed to catch anyone’s attention during the entire season, as shown by my statistics, so there’s no reason to believe people will suddenly notice it now.
Kylie: Yes. There’s not much remarkable about this, but I just feel that there’s enough for it to sneak through in around 8-10th position.
Nicolas: Yes. After the first three songs, I have to begrudgingly admit that this feels like the real start of the semi. Sailing through.
Sara: Yes. The song is good enough, and even though I really don’t like his voice, I can see why some people would like this.
Kylie: No. That outfit just destroyed every single chance it had, which is a massive shame because I really like the song. Oh well…
Nicolas: Yes. I think the outfit turned it from a top 10 position to a 20th in the final. But yes, that means I do think it will still qualify, even just on song merit alone.
Sara: Yes. This is where my statistics might fail me, as this was so highly regarded before the rehearsals. Thanks, Nina. -_-
Kylie: Yes. The big pause in the jury rehearsal started off awkward but then the crowd gave a big cheer, so it KINDA worked out in the end. This is very much a jury song and that factor will push them over the line in my opinion.
Nicolas: Yes. Oozes class, charisma and performs effortlessly. This will do pretty well!
Sara: No. I disagree with Kylie, I think juries will have been bored with this. But I guess this is one that you need to see on screen, so if I fail on this one, I blame it on not being there!
Kylie: Yes. It just stands out in its semi because it’s so striking and intense, but in a good way.
Nicolas: Yes. I mean, who wouldn’t vote for those legs?
Sara: Yes. Obviously.
Kylie: Yes. Well, duh. I don’t need to explain why.
Nicolas: Yes. Outstanding staging with a mediocre song. Definitely enough to qualify.
Sara: Yes. Best performance of this semi! ❤
Kylie: Yes. Juries will love it and it’s a very well-done performance, I know what’s coming in the comments below mine though…
Nicolas: Yes. Hehe, Kylie will be surprised when she reads this… I’ve finally come to accept that she will qualify, as the song has all the merits to do so and she’s got some of the odds well in favour of her (only ballad, one of the best voices, simplicity after Russian complexity,…). Now watch them not qualify. -_-
Sara: Yes. I guess Kylie will also be surprised by my prediction, but I think this will even come 5th.
Kylie: Yes. It’s a classic Eurovision rock performance and comes across as very exciting. They should be very confident in a second successive qualificiation!
Nicolas: Yes. But I don’t think they should be VERY confident. It’ll be borderline, mostly because of François’ thin vocals.
Sara: Yes. This is how you do rock music, Montenegro! 😛
Kylie: No. It’s just too kitsch and fanwanky. Sorry guys (but I’m not sorry, no).
Sara: No. I’d be so sad if it doesn’t qualify, but I really think this is a borderline one… I don’t think it will, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did qualify. And Kylie, this is not a fanwank, not nearly enough people like this to call it that! 😛
Kylie: No. As much as it pains me to say this, but I just don’t think there’s much to engage the people at home here, and that gives me a sad face. 😦
Nicolas: No. I just don’t feel the connection between the song, the staging and the audience. I think the juries might like it, but for the televoters this might even be a bottom 3 placing.
Sara: Yes. For some reason, people seem to like serial killers.
Kylie: Yes. Even though she royally butchered the song in the jury rehearsal, I just feel that there’s certain factors that will enable this to 10th place in the semi yet again. I hope I’m wrong though.
Nicolas: Yes. Samra might struggle a lot, but it’s a popular genre with no real female competition, performed (yet not sung) professionally.
Sara: Yes. It’s Azerbaijan.
Kylie: No. It’s just messy, I’ve always said that this is the most likely last place in the semi and I stick with that now.
Nicolas: No. Chanceless, I fear.
Sara: No. This is just terrible.
Kylie: Yes. They took the NF staging and improved it, it looks great and should sail through.
Nicolas: Yes. I still think this will complete the top 3 in the semi after Russia and Armenia! Gorgeous performance (WITH a beautiful narrative, Russia!) and sung well enough. Let’s just hope Greta will catch her cues unlike in Söngvakeppnin..
Sara: Yes. Deserves to qualify both on song and performance!
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Kylie: Yes. With Croatia messing up with their Barbara Dex contender, this will mop up all the ex-Yu and Balkan diaspora votes. The very good running order slot also helps.
Nicolas: No. For me this is probably the hardest one to predict in this semi. I think it deserves to qualify, but this song’s main problem is that on first listening, it’s very very messy. And then there’s all the people seeing Deen for the first time…
Sara: No. This is just too much of a messy bunch of people and people won’t know what they’re watching.
Kylie: Yes. Well, duh, pimp slot and a good performance, this should have hardly any problem getting to the final here. Not sure how it will do if/when it gets there though.
Nicolas: Yes. Won’t get as high in the final as they want, but this is a no-brainer for the final.
Sara: Yes. Although I do really think that the staging is now very boring, with nothing happening and Ira just walking around aimlessly.
Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoy the show, and if you agree/disagree with us, or want to make fun of us after the show for our incorrect predictions, hit us with a comment!
Здравей! That’s “hello” in Bulgarian for those who don’t know. The jury rehearsal has come and gone, Kylie was there to witness it while Nicolas and Sara had to rely on videos and blogs from home. Will that show a difference in opinions and predictions between the three of us? Let’s find out…
Kylie: First of all, I just want to say that everyone has one hell of a show to look to, very well produced, no spoilers of course! If only you guys (Nicolas and Sara) were here, you would’ve had a blast here in Sofia, we’ve been treated well here and the food is cheap!
Nicolas: Oh great, Kylie, rub it in even more! We really wish we could’ve been there with you, but at least we’ve got a good reason to stay at home this time! We’re breeding our own little Junior artist… 😉 Anyway, from what I’ve seen from the show, the stage, the lighting, it’s all pretty impressive!
Sara: Well, I probably wouldn’t like any of the food anyway… But other than that, I’ve been pretty disappointed this year, mostly by the songs, the performances and the lack of interest coming from the fans. The stage on the other hand is really pretty! I can’t wait for the postcards either. As Vlad said before: (cue heavy Russian accent) ‘Sofia good host!’
Kylie: Very classic Balkan performance of being simple yet very very effective. Lena has great stage presence which prevents it looking empty. She properly gave it some welly in the jury rehearsal. If it was later in the draw it would’ve been a possible winner, but being on first, they’re going to have to settle for 3rd once again.
Nicolas: At first, I was disappointed that we didn’t get the very pretty staging we saw on RTS’s presentation show. Based on the videos we’ve seen, the stage looks so empty and it just feels like it’s lacking something. However, what the press have been writing is really reassuring me in that she fills the stage with her movements etc. once you see it on screen. I hope this will do really well! I love the ‘Care’ and ‘Empathy’ bits on the screen as well. 🙂 I’ll go with 3rd as well!
Sara: The performance is pretty boring… I’m really disappointed that she’s by herself and I don’t find her to be charismatic at all. She’s just kind of stands there with her arm up the whole time. I just don’t like it. It’ll get 2nd anyway because people are stupid. And God, please do something with her hair, she looks like she just rolled out of bed!
Kylie: Certainly a big palate cleanser after Serbia. I feel like the boy’s facial expressions are too much, but they certainly bring an element of crazy fun, their jury rehearsal was very energetic. I think about 9th or 10th would be fair enough.
Nicolas: First video I saw of this, I was cringing all throughout the performance. The girls are amazing, they have good voices and a lot of charisma. However, the boy’s performance just doesn’t feel right… In the first part, his singing doesn’t seem on point, in the chorus his dancing is really out of sync with the girls and then the worst is yet to come: that shouting. There’s nothing wrong with rousing the crowd a bit, but the way he does is just feels so wrong. I fear juries and the draw will sink this one: 14th.
Sara: Getting past the fact that the boy is obnoxious with his screaming and yelling, the performance is surprisingly surprising. I expected a mess, but it’s actually well done and the girls sing well. Their outfits are decent too. I thought at first they were going to get last, but I think they saved themselves and will get 13th.
Kylie: Coming after such a crazy song like Georgia is going to hurt this, it feels like a party-pooper after the craziness. She had a strong jury performance, but there’s something missing I feel. I can’t see it cracking top 5 this early.
Nicolas: There’s literally nothing wrong with this song. Lina gives a perfect performance, she’s very confident, the staging is pretty, the song is so well produced. But somehow, there’s just something missing to give it a top spot in this year’s competition. I’m guessing 7th for this one.
Sara: Well then, this is pretty and very Disney-like! Lina is beautiful, has a beautiful voice which always sounds perfect. I think both juries and televoting will like it, so congratulations on winning, Slovenia!
Kylie: Nice strong performance, simple but effective staging, not much else to say. They should do OK here, juries will be kind to them after that performance, definitely lower top 10.
Nicolas: I hope I’m wrong, but I think this will actually fail to make the top 10. It’s not a bad song, not a bad performance either, but it lacks a bit of oomph, I feel. That, paired with a forgettable draw, means I’ll put it 12th for now.
Sara: Sadly, it’s a pretty mediocre performance. It’ll be forgotten even though I really enjoy the song. It’ll get 15th.
05) The Netherlands
Kylie: Eh. It’s just nice, had a safe jury rehearsal, nothing more. It’s just not outstanding or memorable enough to encourage a lot of votes, I still stand by my earlier prediction of this doing badly in the end.
Nicolas: Ah, isn’t this nice? Nice is really the key word here. Everyone watching, especially adults will say something like ‘oh, this sounds really nice, I like this’ on their way to the kitchen to get a new drink. And they’ll have forgotten it completely by the end of the show. I’m sorry, neighbours, but this time I feel you’ll get 15th…
Sara: Yesh, well the Netherlandsh have a performance that jusht doeshn’t make shenshe. I don’t understand why they have hiphop dancers dancing to a ballad that has nothing to do with hiphop. The outfits are ugly, but then again, it’s the Netherlands. They could’ve at least had pretty ballet dancers and an actual backdrop instead of a live video that is delayed by a second. They’ll get 12th and the delegation will be pissed again… Sorry, not sorry.
Kylie: I apologise for saying this will flop, I’ve changed my mind this past week seeing how it looks on TV. Although in the jury rehearsal she was too screamy in my opinion. They can get top 10 but I can’t see them cracking top 5 at all.
Nicolas: I think after all the fuss about this song and performance, I feel like not getting top 5 IS kind of a flop for Australia… But I think it’ll definitely make it there, just short of winning because of the weak jury rehearsal. It’s still a strong performance with a very jury friendly song and by a country no one will forget: 2nd.
Sara: Well, I’m glad she bombed the jury rehearsal because I was really scared that she was a contender for the win. It looks good, she sounds good in rehearsal videos, the dancers are a bit off, but that’s their own fault for wanting to break the rules (Nic.: the Australian dancers were over 20 years old, so they had to go with locals instead…). I’m going to go out on a limb here and say they’ll get 11th. Hahahahahaha!
Kylie: Really classically Irish-looking, it looks very pretty. I do kinda worry about it following an ad break, but I think juries will really like this and will push it up the scoreboard. The Irish delegation who watched it in the press room were very happy with that jury rehearsal.
Nicolas: I really hope so much this cracks into the top 5, but I think it’ll end up just outside of that, sadly. It just doesn’t have enough appeal, but I hope I’ll be proven wrong. They fixed everything about their performance and it’s just completely perfect! I say 6th.
Sara: Thank you for fixing the backdrop, but I find her kind of boring on stage. She has a really pretty voice but the song just kind of stays flat for three minutes. Because of this, I think televoters will get bored unless they’re old grannies (ciao Italia!). The fog is beautiful, though, and so is she! She’ll get 8th and I think Ireland will be happy with that!
Kylie: This one grew on me over the week, I think the whole performance has a very dreamy feel (see what I did there), jury performance was very good, they will safely get another top 5 but I don’t think they have enough to crack top 3.
Nicolas: I think it’s a really pretty performance, but I don’t like his very Bilan-like mannerisms after each sentence sung. He’s obviously a great singer and the song is gorgeous, so I think it’ll have the usual Russian JESC result: 5th.
Sara: He’s cute, he’s a good singer, he’s got a nice performance, nice stage, nice hair and a nice song. And with that he’ll get 9th. 🙂
09) FYR Macedonia
Kylie: The performance does the job done on being a simple kiddie pop song. They had to perform their jury rehearsal again after their mics failed and did fine, technically being the last to perform for the juries might help them a little, although not much.
Nicolas: It starts of so well! It looks cool, fun, pretty and then they start singing, you get to the chorus and it all falls flat in my opinion. It’s the usual Messydonian staging we’re used to. It has a lot of friends in the contest, but they’ve got better things to vote for. I still think this will be our last placer: 17th.
Sara: Pletenka! They’re kind of awkward on stage, but the song is pretty fun and really ‘Junior-like’. I hope they get some points from the Kids Jury at least, but I don’t think juries will like this. I also think televoting will overlook it since it’s between Russia and Belarus. Sadly, I predict 14th. Pletenka!
Kylie: In my opinion it seems to be an ESC 1991-esque scrapfight between two totally different songs running back-to-back, and Belarus is the Amina in this equation due to it having more “artistic” merits. Hopefully it won’t get to the stage where we need a tie-break unlike back then. Jury rehearsal was near perfect, so they will definitely score very high with them.
Nicolas: What an amazing live voice! He just delivers perfectly, but I can see this one being forgotten, sadly… I hope I’m wrong, as it’s one of my favourites. The backdrop is by far the best of the year. I think it’ll come 8th.
Sara: Ruslan has the voice of a winner, but not the song. I mean, I wouldn’t mind if this wins, but I just can’t see that happening. Then again, I said that last year with Vincenzo, and look what happened… Great performer and my favorite backdrop of the year. Coming before Armenia it might get lost. So I’ll say 10th.
Kylie: They are the Carola of my 1991 equation as being the big well-performed happy pop song, although Armenia certainly don’t have any big wind machines here! Another strong jury performance here, although I think Armenia will have a stronger televote score which could push them over the line.
Nicolas: I still think we’ve got the winner here! Perfect draw, great performance that could be liked by kids and adults alike and a country that has enough friends in this contest. 1st!
Sara: I like pink and sparkles and it seems like Armenia has a lot of those this year! He is one of the best performers of the year, never missing a note, very professional. It’s a fun upbeat song, so he’ll get 3rd!
Kylie: I still cannot get over how ugly the backdrop is (for those who have followed this site’s Twitter feed), and I find it quite an achievement that you can have a performance that throws everything in the kitchen sink and still be rather forgettable. She was fine in the jury rehearsal but I don’t think it’s enough.
Nicolas: I really like the backdrop, and I don’t think it’s that gimmicky. It’s a really pretty intro and the song is really good too. It just has a weird ending and coming after Armenia might make it forgettable. I’m sadly saying 10th for now.
Sara: I like Ukraine. She looks beautiful on stage with her flower and dress thing. I’m not a huge fan of the backdrop but I think it’ll look good on screen. But sadly, this isn’t getting many points from anybody: 16th.
Kylie: The consensus here is that this is going to do badly. It’s nicely staged but it doesn’t peak interest and the two clearly don’t want to be on the same stage together. Gabriela also messed up big time during her part in the jury rehearsal. It will go big in the hall though for obvious reasons, but in terms of the voting it could suffer from what I like to call “Host Entry Voter’s Apathy”.
Nicolas: I actually think it won’t do so badly. I see a midtable result for this one, and I think Bulgaria would be happy with that. The staging is really pretty and I think having her on the satellite stage works. I’m saying 9th.
Sara: I’m glad she’s wearing a dress! It’s a very pretty dress, too! It looks really classy and it’s also one of my favourite overall performances. I like the ribbon dancers and rhythmic gymnasts, but I still don’t really like the song. I feel like they scream instead of sing, especially in parts that should be sung more quietly. In the end, they’ll do well for their country and get 5th!
14) San Marino
Kylie: Oh dear god, it’s a good thing Sara wasn’t here because she might have gone into labor from laughing so much at the dress jokes in the press room. It is a rather special dress to say the least… Her makeup also looks a bit harsh. She was fine in the jury rehearsal until the final chorus where her voice cracked badly. I still don’t think it will come last, but it’s not doing well on the scoreboard at all.
Nicolas: The staging is absolutely genius, and I won’t expand on the gory things some ESCInsight members are spreading. :p The main problem is Kamilla herself. She’s obviously a sweet girl, but she lacks a lot of charisma and voice. Her not knowing Italian also makes her lose confidence, I feel. 11th.
Sara: Everybody is underestimating San Marino this year! I don’t care what anybody says, this is the most professional performance this year. She may not have the greatest voice and she may make weird facial expressions, but she’ll get 6th, you’ll see!
Kylie: It’s looking much much better after that underwhelming first rehearsal, and having finally seen all the songs in order, it does stand out, Malta really have got a plum draw here (sorry Sara). She absolutely killed it for her jury rehearsal and had the charm turned up to 11, that’s top 5 locked for them after that.
Nicolas: Malta must be so happy with this draw, one between four fairly hopeless songs. She has an amazing voice, but I’m not a fan of the backdrop. I’m not sure about her charisma and look either. I feel like she needs to wear something more colourful. Still, this will do well: 4th.
Sara: So, Destiny. She has a really strong voice that juries will wank over (note from Nicolas: this is Junior, Sara, keep it clean, please!!!!) and televoters will love her bubbly personality and her ridiculous facial expressions. Too bad she doesn’t have dancers. Also, the background is cheap. 4th.
Kylie: Here comes the winner of the Junior Barbara Dex Award! That dress really looks like a primary school art project. Her jury rehearsal was fine, but Albania is a bit of a dampener after Malta and are suffering a bad case of Empty Stage Syndrome. Despite the really late draw, this is going to do SO badly here.
Nicolas: The staging is comparable to Serbia. She’s alone and moving along a bit to the rhythm of the song. However, Lena has the charisma to pull this off. Mishela is sweet and is a good singer, but it just falls flat after about one minute of this song. I’m sorry, Albania, but at this point, I guess 16th.
Sara: I’m quite surprised by Albania this year, but I’m disappointed again by the lack of dancers and performance. She just kind of stands there and walks around, which makes it reminiscent of their 2012 entry… But I think the running order saves her and she’ll get 7th! Stop laughing at me, Nicolas.
Kylie: Well, certainly an interesting end to the show with their random yellow ribbons. Vocally she was fine in the jury rehearsal, but she is the most awkward performer of this year’s bunch and always looks so uncomfortable on stage. The pimp slot will not save this song from being bottom 5 in my opinion.
Nicolas: Oh Montenegro… Her voice just isn’t strong enough for this song. I think it’ll be helped a bit by the draw, but I can’t imagine a lot of people picking up the phone for this, except the closest neighbours. And as Croatia’s result in 2014 showed, even that’s not a given… 13th.
Sara: Last in the running order, last overall! 17th! There’s nothing that stands out here, she doesn’t perform well, doesn’t smile enough, the dancers are just bad and I don’t understand the backdrop.
Kylie: It’s gonna be a tough contest this year for sure, and I’m still not 100% sure of how it’s going to pan out outside of the top 4. If I’m going to stick my neck out and make a prediction, this would be it:
6th to 10th) Ireland, Slovenia, Australia, Italy and Georgia (in any order)
Keep an eye out for the Kid’s Jury votes on Saturday, ever since they were introduced in 2013 the eventual winner has been in their top 2.
Nicolas: Well, here we go then. I’ll probably be royally wrong yet again, but this is the top 17 I’m going for:
Sara: Nicolas thinks I’m joking, but I’m being serious with my predictions, okay?
So that’s it! We’ve made our final judgement on the possible outcome of this year’s Junior Eurovision. Will we be right? Will we be wrong? Who knows, be sure to watch the show and we’ll be back on the podcast shortly after we find out the winner. Enjoy your Saturday night Junior fans!
So another year is all over. Soon you’ll get a podcast with all the team waxing lyrical about everything that happened, but I wanted to take the time to write in words about my very first time attending Eurovision as accredited press. Sadly I wasn’t able to be joined by my loyal colleagues Sara and Nicolas, so it was quite daunting to have to do all the hard work on my own…
So here we are, we’re very nearly at the final hurdle, and soon we will know who is the winner of ESC 2015. It’s been a hell of a journey so far, and we’ve got one thing left to do…
But first, let’s talk about Semi 2…
Kylie: Oh boy! I’m sad about Iceland not making it, but HELL YES NORWAY!!!
Nicolas: I’m really happy with the results! I was ecstatic when Montenegro qualified, and even more so when it was Latvia being called out! I’m also glad Israel managed to end their streak of bad results!
Sara: Pretty predictable, except for Iceland, I was really upset about that.. She was way too nervous and it was so sad because she was such a princess and deserved to qualify. ❤ Justice for Iceland!
Let’s talk about the automatic finalists!
Kylie: Having actually seen what they look like on TV – France looks better than expected, they probably won’t do really well with that crappy draw but mid-table would be fair. Germany looks amazing and I hope it does well. Spain is… interesting, I feel it comes across as a bunch of fluff after Romania and especially before Hungary. Italy looks BORING and I feel they’re an underwhelming close to the show, I think viewers will be fatigued by the time they come on, I still stand by my earlier prediction that they may flop in the televote. And the UK… well we didn’t balls up the jury rehearsal which is a plus, I hope that’s enough to stop us finishing really badly. Australia feels too slick and plastic after Cyprus and Belgium just leaves them for dust.
Nicolas: France seems so good! That one took me by surprise! It’s the only rehearsal video that gave me goosebumps. The UK is… well, the UK. Clueless. Germany is nice, nice staging, nice voice, but nice doesn’t win Eurovision. Surprise last place? Spain just feels like a completely wrong performance for an atmospheric song like this, really sad, it’s too kitsch. Italy is just being Italy, classy, pompous and giving the impression they’ve already won. Will that work though, I don’t know.. I never got the love for Australia, and I do think they should win the Barbara Dex award this year. Austria could be a surprise lower top 10 candidate.
Sara: Poor France.. Getting drawn second with such a beautiful staging and song, they were screwed over. Maybe I should vote for them. And the UK… What is this crap? Why on earth did they give her such a massive battery pack and hide it in the most stupid way possible. Poor girl, possibly affects her voice and dance moves. It’s as cheesy as Eurovision can get, but I think it’ll get a better result than people expect. Germany is really nothing special. I like the song, I like Ann Sophie, I just don’t like the performance. I kind of hope it’ll be forgotten but then again, I said that last year, and Elaiza did better than expected. Spain looks pretty cool. She sounds good but I heard that in the jury rehearsal she didn’t sound too great. I’m pissed that the Spanish fanboys ruin my statistics, because now apparently Spain is going to get fourth place according to my stats, like every other year. And everyone knows that’s not going to happen. Italy is Italy. Congratulations. Australia can go suck a nut! It ruins Belgium and I hope Guy Sebastian falls on his face in the middle of his performance! Austria.. well, it’s the most plain, boring, forgettable song I’ve heard in my entire life. If it does well, it’s just because it’s the host country.
So, who do we think is winning this year?
Kylie: I’m still expecting it to be Sweden, with about 290 points roughly, with Russia and Belgium being 2nd and 3rd in any order.
Nicolas: Sweden. Said it back on the 28th February, and I still stand by that. It’ll win with a landslide and afterwards people will say that it was so obvious.
Sara: Since both Kylie and Nicolas say Sweden, I’ll be different and say Russia. With Sweden second and Italy third.
Any last words?
Kylie: Heia Norge, Bonne Chance Belgique and καλή τύχη Κύπρος!
Nicolas: Bonne chance, Loïc! Succes, Loïc! Viel Glück, Loïc! ❤
Sara: Go Belgique! I love you, Loïc and no matter what happens tonight, I’ll still love you!
Kylie: I’m pretty happy with the results really, a bit sad that some of the songs I like didn’t make it but no real heartbreaks last night. Oh, and FAO Nicolas: I TOLD YOU SO!!!
Nicolas: Of course I’m really happy about those results!!!!! I was SO nervous and so convinced that Belgium wouldn’t qualify especially coming in tenth. I was so sure it was going to be Finland! But I’m really satisfied with the results!
Sara: I’m really happy because my three favorite songs qualified! Woop for Finland having been judged on their musical merit!
Ok, that out of the way now… as per usual we will go through the songs of Semi 2 and give a Yes or No answer in regards to whether they will qualify or not, and give a short comment as to our reasoning for our answers.
Nicolas: This is such a hard semi-final to predict! Anyone (but San Marino) could qualify! I can’t call it! Also, just warning people, Sara’s really grumpy!
Sara: I’m not grumpy! I just have a massive headache. Might be from Bojana’s screaming, to be honest.
Kylie: Yes. A very cute opener to the semi and they’ve got plenty of friends, so no problems there.
Nicolas: Yes. Cute opener indeed, very bright, very fun, though a bit contrived. Considering who votes in this semi, it won’t have too much trouble.
Sara: Yes. It’s the most uptempo song and it just makes everyone feel happy.
Kylie: Yes. Molly was nervous tonight but I feel juries will see it through, it’s a very authentic performance.
Nicolas: Yes. This is one of three songs that I come back to every time when it comes to whether it’ll qualify or not.. I feel that in the end, it’ll get enough jury votes as it’s different to every other ballad in this semi, it’s way less ‘showing off vocals’ and much more intimate.
Sara: No. She doesn’t sound amazing and it gets forgotten very easily because of this bad draw. Her voice and song are nothing special.
3) San Marino
Kylie: No. They’ve staged it as best they could but sadly they’re pretty much the most certain non-qualifier out of the bunch. Their jury performance was also bad, I feel for those two.
Nicolas: I’m going to let Michele decide on this one. What do you think, Michele? “……………. No”
Sara: No. It’s simply the weakest song of the semi. Also, Anita doesn’t sound the best, to be honest…
Kylie: Yes. It’s a visually stunning performance and Knez knocked it out of the park tonight. Call it the Željko Effect.
Nicolas: No. I’m really sad that I have to say no, but even though Knez is such an amazing vocalist, he does not have a face that works on camera and I also fail to see who would vote for this in this semi-final.
Sara: No. Knez is too creepy-looking for anyone to vote for. The song is okay, but he ruins it.
Kylie: No. It sounds weak thanks to them ditching the backing singers and I think this will do surprisingly badly in the televote. I remember Nicolas saying all the way back in November that it would be a shock NQ and I said he was talking rubbish… Nicolas you were right, I’m sorry.
Nicolas: No. I can see this slipping into the final with jury help, but I do stick by what I said back in November. It’s simply not powerful enough.
Sara: Yes. The song has nice instrumentation and she sounds really good. I think it’s strong enough to qualify in this semi.
Kylie: Yes. Well, duh! Heia Norge!!!
Nicolas: Yes. I can’t see this fail, but I can’t see it challenging anyone for the win either.
Sara: Yes. I think this one is really obvious.
Kylie: No. It just doesn’t leave much of an impression at all, I think it’ll be bottom 3 of the televote.
Nicolas: No. It grew on me with the way she performs it live, she gives it her all and she looks really charming on camera. However it just doesn’t leave a lasting impression at all…
Sara: No. It’s just a bad song and everyone will forget about it, getting drinks during this one. I just don’t like it, especially after she wanted to go sing it twice in the jury rehearsal, wha wha go cry to your mommy about it.
8) Czech Republic
Kylie: No. I sincerely hope I’m proved wrong here, but I feel it’s been badly memory-holed by Israel coming after it, they sounded great tonight though, so I hope they got a good jury score at least.
Nicolas: No. Like Kylie, I really hope I’m wrong on this one, but I can’t see it happening…
Sara: No. It’s boring, the shoe throwing will put people off, it’s stupid and… it’s Czech Republic, what do you expect.
Kylie: Yes. It’s a very well done performance, well shot, lots of fun. The final NEEDS more fun songs!
Nicolas: No. I’m just scared juries will collectively put this last considering he has the worst vocals of the night…
Sara: Yes. It’s a breath of fresh air after the 25,000 slow songs. He’s not the best singer but televoting won’t care. It’s fun. Eurovision needs fun. And if Serbia can make it, this can make it.
Kylie: Yes. Visually great, it’s a breath of fresh air, looks like Latvia is making a long-awaited return to the final!
Nicolas: Yes. I always go from yes to no and back again on this one. Is it too avant-garde to make it among all these other ballads? I hope not…
Sara: Yes. She hits every note perfectly, no mistakes, good backing vocals, nice staging. Everything that leads to a qualification.
Kylie: Yes. I still LOATHE the dancers and I feel it suffers coming after Latvia, but I see no reason why it shouldn’t make it.
Nicolas: Yes. If there’s a massive shock non-qualifier in this semi, it’ll be Azerbaijan. But I’m not gutsy enough to actually make that prediction. :p
Sara: Yes. Azerbaijan qualifies with anything so why not this too?
Kylie: No. I am so so so SO sorry Sara, I sincerely hope I’m proved wrong but I’ve got a horrible feeling that she’ll be the shock NQ, she did well tonight though.
Nicolas: Yes. I know a lot of people are now predicting this to fail, but I think this has really strong televoting appeal.
Sara: Yes. Screw everyone! She’s a fairytale princess and every fairytale princess gets their way. And her way is to qualify. So she will. Also, she doesn’t sound that bad, she hit the notes that mattered, so all the haters can get glitterbombed! Suck it!
Kylie: Yes. Well, DUH!!! Semi-winner and still the obvious winner of the final. The reception in the arena was HUGE!
Nicolas: Yes. No doubt about this. Winning Eurovision.
Sara: Yes. He’s handsome, he’s got a good song and he’s Swedish.
Kylie: No. It’s suffers a lot coming after Sweden and I feel it’s kinda anonymous. The uber noisy jet streams also really drowned her out at the last chorus.
Sara: No. This is the most insignificant entry of the year (even though I quite like it). Coming after those four songs and before these three songs it’s just a death trap. She won’t qualify and yeah.
Kylie: Yes. SERIOUS dark horse, there’s no way this ain’t top 10 in the final!
Sara: No. Even though it’s sparkly I don’t think anything that special about this song. It’s a pee break in my opinion and he looks funny.
Kylie: Yes. Solid performance and I see no reason why it shouldn’t make it.
Sara: Yes. Sounds good. The violinist is good. It’s a popular song, so there’s no reason why it shouldn’t qualify (besides the fact that it’s Slovenia). Justice for Ula!
Kylie: No. I’m probably gonna slip up on my predictions with this one, but I just kinda feel this will be a jury fave that doesn’t make it.
Sara: Yes. She’s a good singer and she’s in a wheelchair. Good job, Poland. Oh, and it’s pink. Good job, Poland.