Hi guys! 🙂 Today’s article is definitely a bit different to what we normally do here at ESC Views, but this is something that we hope you’ll agree with and maybe cause a bit of debate. For two days, the Eurovision fandom – or, Junior Eurovision fandom – has been overjoyed at the news that Italy will be taking part in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest for the first time ever. What we’re going to discuss in this article is how this has possibly changed the Contest and maybe its future…shall we get started?
When the Junior Eurovision was set up back in 2003, it was seen as a revolutionary competition, as it was the first of its kind – ever. In its first outing in Copenhagen, the Contest saw sixteen countries sending young artists to compete in what was to become the biggest competition for young performers on this planet. The show itself grew in the first few years, with the Contest being held in large arenas around Europe with big stars such as the Sugababes, Westlife and the Cirque du Soleil performing as interval acts. The greatest number of competing countries was in the second edition of the Contest in Lillehammer, when eighteen countries took part in the Junior Eurovision (which was even hosted by future host Nadia Hasnaoui). Everything looked as if we were going to have another huge Contest like its big brother.
But then in 2009, the amount of participating countries started to decline and as time went on, the Contest grew smaller and smaller. From huge arenas like the Ethias Arena in Hasselt which hosted the Contest in 2005 that can hold up to 22,000 people, to this year’s venue – the Malta Shipyard, which only can hold around 4,000 people. Of course, the fact that the Junior Eurovision has managed to run for twelve years has been great, but the general interest in the Contest has started to really go down since the original hype for the idea died down.
However, if you’ve been following the Contest over the past few years, you’ll have noticed that a few countries have been débuting in the Contest. In 2012; Albania, Israel and Azerbaijan debuted in Amsterdam and in Kyiv last year, we saw the first ever Sammarinese entry in this Contest. However, the different countries that have withdrawn means that even with these new countries joining the Contest, the interest has still been declining, especially with countries that once had huge interest in Junior Eurovision. For example – Belgium. The Belgians used to be absolutely mad about Junior Eurovision and they were one of the most committed countries to the competition, but since their withdrawal last year, all the children’s channels in Belgium aren’t interested in Junior Eurovision anymore. The same can be said for countries like Denmark, Norway and Romania, who all had some large interest in the Contest, but all withdrew and have refused to return since – except for Romania, who are thinking of returning to the competition this year.
This is a good time to get the actual point of this article and this point begins with an I. Italy. For the first time since 2006, a country that’s in the Big Five is taking part in the Junior Eurovision. The reason for their participation is probably to get closer with Malta, as the two countries are culturally linked in nearly every way. However, this isn’t the reason we’re here for. It’s the possibility of growth again is why we’re here. Because Italy is a huge player in Europe and is in the west of the continent (and I say that with no prejudice whatsoever, it’s just that most of the active competing countries are in the East), the country might actually bring some of the previous competing countries and maybe even some new countries into the game! Of course, there were huge negotiations with Iceland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Ireland to debut this year and although the Czechs are still discussing the possibility of taking part, all the other negotiations with RÚV, MTV and TG4 broke down and none of those countries will take part…however, on the plus side we are seeing the return of Cyprus to the Junior Eurovision after a four-year-absence.
As a result of these countries debuting or returning to the Contest, I have a feeling that the rest of Europe will see that Junior Eurovision isn’t actually that bad and they might actually give it a go. As you can see, the EBU has been talking with numerous different countries (Germany, Ireland, Hungary, Iceland, the Czech Republic) to take part, and although they haven’t taken part, they’ve been observing the show and have definitely taken interest in the idea of participating. So does this mean that in the future, we’ll be seeing more countries to take part in Junior Eurovision? I should certainly hope so. The fact that such a huge European country is participating in such a small show should encourage more countries to take part..I expect 2017 or so to be filled with many countries..don’t you?
Magnus Dandanell Jensen from Denmark: Yes, it’s great such a big Western European country joins the contest!
Svana Lístí Agnarsdottir from Iceland: I think it is good for the show, it will make other countries take part too! I look forward to a bigger show!
Ilias Kozantinos from Cyprus: Along with Italy, I’m so happy that my country is coming back to Junior Eurovision. I think with all these new countries, it will give the show a new lease of life! I can’t wait for it!
Well it definitely seems that Italy’s debuting in the Contest is a positive sign for the show, and in my own opinion, I think this is a great stepping stone in the way to achieving more than eighteen countries in the contest. I really do hope that more countries will try to take part – the more, the merrier! 😀 So what’s your opinion of this? Do you think that Italy joining the Contest is a good thing for the Contest? Feel free to tell us what you think by commenting below!