Jury Final: Vocal assessment of all the Junior Eurovision performances

Jury Final: Vocal assessment of all the Junior Eurovision performances

Tomorrow, 16 countries will compete in the 2017 Junior Eurovision Song Contest. But 50% of the results will already be decided tonight! Follow the jury rehearsal with us. In this blog you can read what we think of the vocal qualities of each country, and how we think the juries will react to their performance.

NOTE: The star ratings are our indication of how likely it is that the professional jury might vote for this performance. They do not display any personal preferences.

Time display is in CET.

18:01 – End of the liveblog

Thank you for following us tonight!

17:56 – Malta or Australia?

If our estimations are correct, Malta or Australia will have won the jury vote tonight, closely followed by Belarus and Poland. What do you think?

17:54 – Interval acts

We are not gonna stay live for the fake voting, just so you know.

17:44 – Belarus – Helena Meerai – I am the one

Helena looks more comfortable, smiling more. The second performance gave her the chance to correct any small mistakes in the first verse. The second take is visually better, but vocals are not too different. Last note slightly better. This was an improvement, but like Armenia, not one that will change the scoreboard all that much.

17:40 – Armenia – Misha – Boomerang

Misha performs and sings slightly better than in the first round, though he still only really looks and sounds comfortable when he steps off the hoverboard. The mistakes in the first twenty seconds are still there. The rerun might help him, but not massively. Camera work actually was worse, as the works of the boomerang was not shown clearly, and the camera man who gives Misha the boomerang, was visible.

17:33 – Armenia and Belarus get a second chance

The technical issues, which caused Portugal to start later, apparently interfered with Armenia and Belarus’ performance. Both countries get a second chance, and this is the tape that will be sent to the jurors. So stay tuned for two more ratings.

17:31 – Italia – Maria Iside Fiore – My choice

After a rocky start, Italy has improved vocals every performance. Tonight, too, she is without too many mistakes. When splitting hairs, though (and jurors will do that), she does not come through the notes as comfortable and convincingly as Isabella did. One big skid in the English bridge on the catwalk leads to a weaker end, with one or two missed notes in the last chorus. Still this is far better than we could have expected after seeing it on Tuesday. The song and performance are both rather mature, which will favor her chances with kid jurors.

17:27 – Australia – Isabella Clarke – Speak up

Besides one lower note at lower volume, Isabella warms up with a good first verse. She misses the first note of the second verse right after dance moves – this is however a combination that adult jurors recognize as being difficult. Isabella easily recovers with a good verse and even better chorus. The big note towards the last chorus goes well! It’s impressive so far, especially considering the combination vocals & act. Isabella is one of those persons who shows total control of the stage. Songwise, I’ve always advocated that this is age appropriate for both adult and kid jurors. Australia could win the jury vote.

17:23 – Serbia – Jana & Irina – Ceo svet je nas

The first minute, despite two or three missed notes, is better than expected. Act could work for adult jurors as Irina and Jana are definitely in control of every movement. However, this song is not difficult vocally, especially compared to Russia right before, and that means that every mistake counts double. Second minute almost without mistakes. However, when walking up the catwalk, they miss a few notes in the harmonies. Still one of their better performances of the week, this won’t be last in the jury vote.

17:19 – Russia – Polina – Wings

All week we’ve speculated on the balance between Polina’s vocal mistakes and the fact that she has a really difficult song to sing. Adult jurors can only reward her for that if she does not make too many mistakes tonight. She gets through the first verse, but misses the second note in the first chorus and one more later on. In terms of appearance and theatrical performance, I am certain of the appeal to kid jurors. Second verse good, second chorus shaky. Especially the last note of the chorus and the first of the bridge are a tough combination to listen to. It’s one of her better performances but far from flawless.

17:14 – Malta – Gianluca Cilia – Dawra Tond

Much like Destiny in 2015, the running order favours Malta. After three ballads, Gianluca comes on stage with the most happy performance of the night. The song might not be too difficult to sing, but it’s still important for Gianluca to get through it, and in the first verse, he does. Vocally one of his stronger performances. In terms of performance and appearance, he may not be as confident and master as Helena from Belarus, but his age and cute appearance will factor in here. Close-ups during the megaphone part show the best side of Gianluca. Strong performance.

17:10 – Ukraine – Anastasiya Baginska – Don’t stop

Compared to Albania – and it is quite comparable – this song is slightly more friendly to kid jurors. Vocally, Anastasiya has always been more of a question mark and tonight she produces a few hoarse notes at the start. The word “life” in the chorus almost always seems on the edge for her. As soon as the notes are higher, she overcomes her struggles, and tonight is no exception. In the bridge, again two missed notes.

17:06 – Albania – Ana Kodra – Don’t touch my tree

The prototype of an adult juror performance, both in terms of the song and especially of the performer. Ana has been strong all week long and she is on-key tonight as well throughout almost the entire performance. When she’s on the edge, she switch to the grunting part of her voice, which gets her through some difficult notes without big mistakes (but it’s not always soft on the ears). Albania’s main problem, apart from the strong competition, is the fact that kid jurors are less likely to vote for a small kid like Ana.

17:02 – Georgia – Grigol Kipshidze – Voice of the heart

The misbalance that Georgia has, is that this type of song is more for adult jurors, while Grigols mature appearance fits better with kid jurors. With the possible effect that neither will go for them. Then again – his vocals are flawless, and confident. As one of the very few tonight, he does not seem to suffer from nerves.

16:54 – Halfway through

Poland and Belarus will most likely top the jury vote so far. Now it’s time for interval act The Virus.

16:52 – FYR Macedonia – Mina Blazev – Dancing through life

Songs with a big musical switch (like this one has between verse and chorus) are a red flag for adult jurors. Mina misses two notes in the first verse, and one more in the chorus. She is unable to display her control of the stage during the performance, although for televoting audience she does her work with the cameras well. Second verse and chorus are without missed notes, however she’s sometimes on the border. Not convincing, not easily. Not giving anything to hold on to. Still the type of song and appearance could work for kid jurors. Mina gets the high notes at the end right.

16:48 – Ireland – Muireann McDonnell – Suile Glasa

Indie styled songs are generally not for jurors in adult Eurovision. I would hope them to notice that this song is relatively difficult to sing, but it might not be enough of an excuse for Muireanns performance. She is not strong, misses a few notes too many throughout both verses and chorus, and she has an almost constant thriller in her voice. Second chorus seems better, but the long note towards the bridge goes wrong. Last chorus on the catwalk is alright.

16:43 – Portugal – Mariana – Youtuber

Mariana makes a couple of mistakes in the first verse that she has not made all week. It might be because of the unfortunate situation that preceded her performance. Still she might be punished for it as the song is relatively flat, something adult jurors will notice. While kids jurors will consider this to be too childish for their taste (given the background + Mariana’s appearance). Towards the end, Mariana makes fewer mistakes, but I cannot see this top the jury vote.

16:37 – Technical problems

Portugal’s performance is slightly delayed. Will it make poor Mariana nervous?

16:35 – Belarus – Helena Meerai – I am the one

This song is the classic example of kid jury material – question is whether the adult jurors will find it too mature or not. The opening two lines sounded slightly nervous though not off key. After that, Helena picks up and performs strongly. She definitely has the “Mans-factor”, meaning jurors will vote for the artist that masters the stage and is in total control of his/her performance. Helena is over-all strong in this performance. She’s on the edge during one long note in the bridge, and she misses one of the last chorus, but it should not hurt her too much.

16:31 – Block nr 2, with Belarus among them

Also FYR Macedonia, Ireland and Portugal coming up.

16:30 – Armenia – Misha – Boomerang

Misha showed signs of nerves earlier this week, and definitely starts out nervous tonight with a couple of missed notes in the verse. Chorus alright. This type of song normally works for adult jurors much more than for kid jurors. Second verse, Misha makes a couple more mistakes. He was stronger in the afternoon. The ending remains visually strong (and was vocally stronger than the beginning, too).

16:26 – The Netherlands – Fource – Love me

The first two solo lines go surprisingly well, but in the harmonies a few notes are missed. This song may not be traditional jury material, but the boys have the perfect age appearance that could work with both adult and kid jurors. For adult jurors, their performance is slick enough yet not too professional. Solos in the second verse again quite good, this is definitely their strongest performance so far. But the harmonies are off-key every now and then.

16:22 – Poland – Alicja Rega – Moj Dom

Alicja seems slightly nervous in the first verse, but she gets through it without missing a note. Her voice seems to stabilize in the first chorus, and the second verse follows with more confidence. Vocals are the stronghold of this performance and Alicja delivers once again. Songwise this is also the type of ballad (traditional and classic in its build-up) that regularly works for adult juries. Add to that the more mature appearance that Alicja has, and kids jurors should also be on board. There’s a slight hiccup in the last note but over-all this was solid.

16:18 – Cyprus – Nicole – I wanna be a star

The traditional ethnopop songs have generally not been a recipe for jury success. This might be too adult for adult jurors and too kiddie for the smaller jurors too. Nicole misses a couple of lower notes in the first verse already. She then gets through the first chorus without too many mistakes in the high ones, but the second verse is again far from perfect. Altogether better than during some of the country rehearsals, but still vocally weak. As far as the performance goes, the Cyprus camera work is strong but it can’t fully reveal that Nicole is uncomfortable on stage.

16:15 – The first block of 4

Let’s go Cyprus, Poland, Netherlands & Armenia.

16:13 – Slow start

As we’ve noticed this afternoon during the first rehearsal, the start is quite slow with a lot of talking and not a lot of music. However, once the performances start, they go quite quickly after each other.

16:08 – Isabella took her rest

We spoke to the Australian HoD after the rehearsal from this morning. She told us that Isabella really needed a break from the bubble. Therefore, the delegation left the arena quite soon and did not return until right before this jury show. It’s an important night for Izzy!

16:04 – Mzeo

We are underway, with Mariam, last year’s winner, on stage. This blog will not go deeply into the interval acts, postcards, presenters etc. We focus merely on what the jury will see & do tonight.

Categories: ESC Daily


Eurovision Insight Podcast: Daily News From Tbilisi, Sunday 26th November

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Daily News From Tbilisi, Sunday 26th November

Recorded rather late on the night before the Grand Final of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2017, Ewan, Lisa, Richard, and Luke consider the impressive performances of the Jury Final and what you should watch out for during the live show.

…and there’s not a bus in sight during this cast

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Daily News From Tbilisi, Sunday 26th November

Ewan Spence, Lisa-Jayne Lewis, Luke Giles, and Richard Taylor review the Jury Final of JESC 2017 and preview the Grand Final in today’s coverage of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2017.

Remember to stay up to date with all the results from Junior Eurovision by subscribing to the ESC Insight podcast for our daily podcasts. You’ll find the show in iTunes, and a direct RSS feed is also available. We also have a regular email newsletter which you can sign up to here.

Categories: ESC Insight


Eurovision Insight Podcast: Daily News From Tbilisi, Saturday 25th November

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Daily News From Tbilisi, Saturday 25th November

The final technical rehearsals have taken place, with only the dress rehearsals of the show for our performers to have their final moments on the stage. We look back at the latest tweaks of nine countries, as well as interview Australia’s new host, and crash into Georgia’s Pop Idol franchise to meet a former Song Contest singer.

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Daily News From Tbilisi, Saturday 25th November

Ewan Spence, Lisa-Jayne Lewis, and Brent Davison recap the final rehearsals, talk to more of the stars, and gatecrash Georgia’s Pop Idol in today’s coverage of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2017. Read more on the Eurovision Song Contest and Junior Eurovision from ESC Insight at www.escinsight.com.

Remember to stay up to date with all the Junior Eurovision news by subscribing to the ESC Insight podcast for our daily podcasts. You’ll find the show in iTunes, and a direct RSS feed is also available. We also have a regular email newsletter which you can sign up to here.

Categories: ESC Insight


Tried and Tested – Junior Eurovision as a Format Laboratory

Tried and Tested – Junior Eurovision as a Format Laboratory

The 50/50 Jury/Televote Split

Back in the 100% televote era of the main Contest, it was clear that relying entirely on public voting to produce a Eurovision winner had the potential to result in eye-catching but not always high quality winners, and that diasporic and cultural sympathies gave the appearance of neighbourly voting out of step with song quality. But how would a 50% jury/televote split work for a modern TV audience used to being in total control? Let’s test it at Junior! 

In the 2008 edition of  JESC, the 50/50 voting split was trialled before being rolled out for the 2009 edition of the adult contest. The voting scheme for JESC has been tweaked and altered over the years – the custom of giving a douze points to every competing nation at the start of the voting sequence started in 2005, the mixed age juries have variously been supplemented by a kids jury since 2012, pop experts including Jedward and latterly and with varying success, an online vote.

None of the more exotic changes to the voting system have as yet come to the main contest, but with increased interest in app and online voting in the various national finals, and in reality entertainment TV worldwide, it’s possible that the EBU will keep experimenting at Junior until a solution can be found that produces exciting, trustworthy and nationally-isolatable results.

The Green Room in the Venue

One of the joyous parts of the modern Song Contest is seeing artists reacting and celebrating in the Green Room during the broadcast. The first Eurovision show to try this was JESC 2005 in Hasselt, Belgium. The contestants were seated in a single area in front of the main audience, allowing the children to hang out during the performances and celebrate together during the voting. Pictured below is the Green Room area from the 2008 edition of JESC in Cyprus, showing all the performers together during a lull in proceedings.  

This innovation came to adult Eurovision in Oslo 2010, where the delegations were housed in large matte black partial cylinders, which separated them visibly from the crowd. The in-venue Green Room designs have developed over the years, moving more towards the open, unifying area favoured by Junior, while still allowing delegations to have their own (potentially politically necessary) space.

The Flag Ceremony

The first Junior Eurovision Olympic style flag ceremony, which introduces the performers along with their national colours at the beginning of the broadcast, happened in 2004 and became a regular part of the format, allowing the audience welcome the children to the arena and helping viewers to strengthen the association of each performer with their home countries.

This came to the main contest in 2013, where the performers paraded across the representation of the Öresund Bridge suspended across the venue, accompanied by hosts carrying flags. In later years, we’ve seen exciting interpretations of the flag ceremony, with flags projected across a catwalk show and as splashes of CGI mist.

Near Misses

And some JESC innovations that haven’t been or won’t be successful at ESC…

  • The joint song that works so well for the kids somehow didn’t take off when they tried it with the deeply awkward last chorus of Emmelie de Forest’s Rainmaker at Copenhagen 2014.
  • Hashtags in official slogans. An attempt to catch the social media zeitgeist that will probably look dated more quickly than you’d expect.
  • Awarding prizes to the 2nd and 3rd placed acts. At the main contest, a podium position is nice, but if your delegation’s goal was to win and host the contest, a trophy and a certificate isn’t much of a consolation to your broadcaster and your national tourism promotional body.
  • Backing vocals on the backing track. At Junior, where the pressure of performance can be expected to take its toll on young voices, there is a bit more leeway for support from the backing track. But at the main contest, we recognise that we award points for superlative vocal performances and expect that to be carried through from the lead vocalist to the supporting vocals. Recent developments perhaps suggest that there may however, be a loophole.

Categories: ESC Insight


Junior Eurovision: How secure is the online voting system?

Junior Eurovision: How secure is the online voting system?

The online voting process for JESC2017 is underway. EBU says it’s confident in a valid result in which every person votes twice maximum. However, several journalists, including the ESCDaily investigative team, have found relatively easy ways to cast multiple votes from the same device.

Yesterday at the EBU press conference, Jon Ola Sand explained to ESCDaily’s chief editor Steef van Gorkum the true meaning of the online voting process. “You can vote once before the show and then you can vote again during the show. The voting is free. There are security measurements in place, for example, you have to prove that you are not a robot. And every person can vote twice.”

Casting a duplicate vote at JESC2017

After this press conference, the ESCDaily investigative team went on to try the online voting system. When the website opens, it immediately opens in your own language. Indicating that EBU has some way of recognizing where people are voting from. After this, you are obliged to watch a recap of all the performances first. Without watching this, you cannot vote. And when you minimalize the tab where the recap is on, it automatically pauses and does not continue until you open it again.

So far so good. After the recap, you get to a portal where you can watch all 16 performances on Youtube (but you do not have to). Here, you can also select the 3, 4 or 5 countries that you want to vote for. After this, the page redirects you to the message stating you’ve already voted.

However, here’s where it gets tricky: as soon as you clear your browser history, or even so much as open another browser, you are allowed to go through the process again. Our team prepared to try and crack incredibly difficult security codes to see if casting a duplicate vote was possible. But as it turns out, it is not difficult at all.

EBU: confidence in a fair result

A spokesperson of EBU released the following statement: “The EBU has worked with our technical partners to ensure that the platform can deliver a fair and valid result.” EBU then confirmed to ESCDaily that even after our inquiries about double voting through clearing browser history, they are still confident that they can deliver a fair result in which every person can vote twice maximum (once before the show and once during the show). However, they did not want to go into details about the methods through which they can ensure this.

EBU’s reaction to the matter suggests that they have security measures in place which they are not willing to discuss. As it is clear that duplicate votes can in fact be cast, the only way through which a fair and valid result could be achieved is if votes were discarded afterwards. Therefore, everything currently points in the direction of IP-address blocking.

IP-address blocking

However, the question is whether this is a safe and feasible method to do this. Several professional internet experts have told ESC Daily that “using only IP-addresses to validate votes is an outdated practice. This method has not been an industry standard for years.”

EBU seems extremely confident that they have their security in place. And it is almost impossible to imagine that rigging the system is indeed so easy as our research team has done today. What the exact reason is for EBU’s confidence in a fair and valid result, however, remains a secret to this moment. While we as journalists have an interest in getting to the bottom of this, EBU benefits from security through obscurity. As long as the security system and its potential flaws are unknown, the system cannot be rigged.

We will have to wait until after the contest, when EBU will release the voting data. EBU’s Chief Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand told Ewan Spence from ESCInsight at the press conference last night that EBU will be “as transparant as we can be.”

Especially if online voting is the future for the adult contest as well, it will be important to analyze the results of JESC 2017 very closely.

Categories: ESC Daily


Tbilisi 2017: “It could be a wonderful moment for Australia”

Tbilisi 2017: “It could be a wonderful moment for Australia”

Be sure you tune in to the Junior Eurovision Song Contest this Sunday, because according to our chief editor at the scene, “it could be a wonderful moment for Australia” at Eurovision. He says in our special podcast about the contest in Tbilisi.

“Everyone who watches and follows ESC Daily should follow this edition of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Even if you normally don’t watch it, because it could really be such a wonderful moment. Australia’s first Junior Eurovision Song Contest victory,” Steef looks ahead with excitement. Listen to our full podcast below:

Malta and Belarus are lso in it, to win it

However, it is hard to say whether the online voting system will help Australia’s chances, or not. “The jury will probably go for Australia, given it’s strong vocals and flawless performance. But Malta or Belarus might do better overall in both voting systems.”

Categories: ESC Daily

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