- Junior Eurovision Song Contest
The Junior Eurovision Song Contest (French: Concours Eurovision de la Chanson Junior), is an international song competition which has been organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) annually since 2003 and is open exclusively to broadcasters that are members of the EBU. It is held in a different European city each year.
The competition has many similarities to the Eurovision Song Contest from which its name is taken. Each participating broadcaster sends an act, the members of which are aged 10 to 15 on the day of the contest, and an original song lasting between 2 minutes 30 seconds and 2 minutes 45 seconds to compete against the other entries. Each entry represents the country served by the participating broadcaster. Viewers from the participating countries are invited to vote for their favourite performances by televote (though a back-up jury may be used if a broadcaster does not screen the contest live or there is a technical failure with the televoting). The overall winner of the contest is the entry that has received the most points after the scores from every country have been collected and totalled.
In addition to the countries taking part, the contest has been screened in many other territories including Australia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Finland, Germany and Israel. Since 2006, the contest has been streamed live on the Internet through the official website of the contest.
Origins and history
The origins of the contest date back to 2000 when Danmarks Radio held a song contest for Danish children that year and the following year. The idea was extended to a Scandinavian song festival in 2002, MGP Nordic, with Denmark, Norway and Sweden as participants. The EBU picked up the idea for a song contest featuring children and opened the competition to all EBU member broadcasters making it a pan-European event. The working title of the programme was "Eurovision Song Contest for Children", branded with the name of the EBU's already popular song competition, the Eurovision Song Contest. Denmark was asked to host the first programme after their experience with their own contests and the MGP Nordic.
After a successful first contest, the second faced several location problems. The event originally should have been organised by British broadcaster ITV in Manchester. ITV then announced that due to financial and scheduling reasons, the contest would not take place in the United Kingdom after all. It is also thought that another factor to their decision was the previous years' audience ratings for ITV which were below the expected amount. The EBU approached Croatian broadcaster HRT, who had won the previous contest, to stage the event in Zagreb; though it later emerged that HRT had 'forgotten' to book the venue in which the contest would have taken place. It was at this point, with five months remaining until the event would be held, that Norwegian broadcaster NRK stepped in to host the contest in Lillehammer.
Broadcasters have had to bid for the rights to host contest since 2004 to avoid such problems from happening again. Belgium was therefore the first country to successfully bid for the rights to host the contest in 2005.
All contests have been broadcast in 16:9 widescreen and in high definition. All have also had a CD produced with the songs from the show. Between 2003 and 2006, DVDs of the contest were also produced though this ended due to lack of interest.
The winner of the contest is decided by a televote. Between 2003 and 2005 viewers had around 10 minutes to vote after all the songs had been performed. Since 2006 the televoting lines have been open throughout the programme. Profits made from the televoting during the 2007 and 2008 contests were donated to UNICEF.
Prior to 2007, a participating broadcaster's failure in not broadcasting the contest live would incur a fine. Now broadcasters are no longer required to broadcast the contest live, but may transmit it with some delay at a time that is more appropriate for children's television broadcast.
The 2007 contest was the subject of the 2008 documentary Sounds Like Teen Spirit: A Popumentary. The film followed several contestants as they made their way through the national finals and onto the show itself. It was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival 2008 and was premiered in Ghent, Belgium and Limassol, Cyprus where the 2008 contest was held.
The format of the contest has remained relatively unchanged over the course of its history in that the format consists of successive live musical performances by the artists entered by the participating broadcasters. The EBU claims that the aim of the programme is "to promote young talent in the field of popular music, by encouraging competition among the [...] performers".
The programme is always screened on a Saturday night in late November/early December and lasts approximately two hours fifteen minutes.
Traditionally the contest will consist of an opening ceremony in which the performers are welcomed to the event, the performances of the entries, a recap of the songs to help televoting viewers decide which entries to vote for, an interval act usually performed after the televoting has closed, the results of the televoting or back-up jury voting which is then followed by the declaration of the winner and a reprise of the winning song. At various points throughout the show, networks may opt out for a few minutes to screen a commercial break.
Since 2008 the winning entry of each contest has been decided by a mixture of televoting and national juries, each counting for fifty percent of the points awarded by each country. The winners of all previous contests had been decided exclusively by televoting. The ten entries that have received the most votes in each country are awarded points ranging from one to eight, then ten and twelve. These points are then announced live during the programme by a spokesperson representing the participating country (who, like the participants, is aged between ten and fifteen). Once all participating countries have announced their results, the country that has received the most points is declared the winner of that year's contest.
The winners receive a trophy and a certificate. Unlike the Eurovision Song Contest, the winning country does not receive the right to host the next contest.
The contest always features presenters, one man and one woman (though the 2006 contest was an exception to this), who regularly appear on stage and with the contestants in the green room. The presenters are also responsible for repeating the televoting results immediately after the spokesperson of each broadcaster to confirm which country the points are being given to.
Despite the Junior Eurovision Song Contest being modelled on the format of the Eurovision Song Contest, there are many distinctive differences that are unique to the children's contest. For instance, while the main vocals must be sung live during the contest, backing vocals may be recorded onto the backing track. Each country's entry must be selected through a televised national final (unless circumstances prevent this and permission is gained from the EBU). Since 2005 every contestant has automatically been awarded 12 points to prevent the contestants scoring zero points, although ending with 12 points total is in essence the same as receiving zero.
The song must be written and sung in the national language (or one of the national languages) of the country being represented. Performers must be nationals of that country or have lived in that country for at least two and a half years. Originally the competition was open to children between the ages of 8 and 15, however since 2007 the age range has been narrowed and presently only children aged 10 to 15 on the day of the contest are allowed to enter. The song submitted into the contest cannot have previously been released commercially and must last between 2 minutes 30 seconds and 2 minutes 45 seconds. The rule stating that performers also must not have previously released music commercially was active from 2003 to 2006. This rule was dropped in 2007 thus allowing already experienced singers and bands in the competition. As a result NRK chose to withdraw from the contest.  Since 2008, adults have been allowed to assist in the writing of entries. Previously, all writers had to be aged 10 to 15.
The contest is produced each year by the European Broadcasting Union. The Executive Supervisor of every contest since 2003 has been Svante Stockselius who also heads the "Steering Group" that decides on the rules of the contest, which broadcaster hosts the next contest and over-sees the entire production of each programme. In 2011, he was succeeded by Sietse Bakker. Steering Group meetings tend to include the "Heads of Delegation" whose principal job is to liaise between the EBU and the broadcaster they represent. It is also their duty to make sure that the performers are never left alone without an adult and to "create a team atmosphere amongst the [performers] and to develop their experience and a sense of community."
Participation in the contest tends to change dramatically each year. The original Scandinavian broadcasters left the contest in 2006 because they found the treatment of the contestants unethical, and revived the MGP Nordic competition, which had not been produced since the Junior Eurovision Song Contest began. Out of the twenty-eight countries that have participated at least once, five have been represented by an act at every contest as of 2010.
Listed are all the countries that have ever taken part in the competition alongside the year in which they made their debut:
Year Debuting countries 2003 Belarus, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus,
Denmark, Greece, Latvia, Macedonia,
Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland,
Romania, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom
2004 France, Switzerland 2005 Russia, Serbia and Montenegro 2006 Portugal, Serbia, Ukraine 2007 Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Lithuania 2010 Moldova Year Withdrawing countries 2005 Cyprus, France, Poland, Switzerland 2006 Denmark, Latvia, Serbia and Montenegro,
Norway, United Kingdom
2007 Croatia, Spain 2008 Portugal, Sweden 2009 Bulgaria, Greece, Lithuania 2010 Cyprus, Romania 2011 Malta, Serbia Year Returning countries 2006 Cyprus 2009 Sweden 2010 Latvia, Lithuania 2011 Bulgaria
In total, seven countries have won the competition: Croatia, Spain, Russia, Georgia, The Netherlands and Armenia have each won once while Belarus has won twice.
Year Winner Language Artist Song Points Margin Second place Date Venue Location Participants 2003 Croatia Croatian Dino Jelusić "Ti si moja prva ljubav" 134 9 Spain 15 November 2003 Forum Copenhagen Copenhagen  16 2004 Spain Spanish María Isabel "Antes muerta que sencilla" 171 31 United Kingdom 20 November 2004 Håkons Hall Lillehammer  18 2005 Belarus Russian Ksenia Sitnik "My vmeste" 149 3 Spain 26 November 2005 Ethias Arena Hasselt  16 2006 Russia Russian Tolmachevy Sisters "Vesenniy Jazz" 154 25 Belarus 2 December 2006 Sala Polivalentă Bucharest  15 2007 Belarus Russian Alexey Zhigalkovich "S druz'yami" 137 1 Armenia 8 December 2007 Ahoy Rotterdam Rotterdam  17 2008 Georgia Imaginary Bzikebi "Bzz.." 154 19 Ukraine 22 November 2008 Spyros Kyprianou
Limassol  15 2009 Netherlands Dutch, English Ralf Mackenbach "Click Clack" 121 5 Armenia
21 November 2009 Palace of Sports Kiev  13 2010 Armenia Armenian Vladimir Arzumanyan "Mama" 120 1 Russia 20 November 2010 Minsk-Arena Minsk  14 2011 3 December 2011 Karen Demirchyan Complex Yerevan  13 2012 2012 TBC TBC  TBA
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