Junior Eurovision 2014 is tonight and having looked at the running order and watched back the rehearsals we have analysis for y’all!
The Running Order
On the surface it doesn’t seem like running order matters that much in Junior Eurovision. You never hear people grimacing “Ahhhhhh! Performing second sucks!” like we did in the adult contest. But seeing what y’all said after the running order was drawn Sunday, it is now clear that it means a heck of a lot. Several favorites have been knocked down, and some stragglers might see a bit more light. The quality of song alone won’t be enough to decide the outcome tonight.
Tonight’s running order looks like this:
Favorites – Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Slovenia, Russia, Malta
Middle of the scoreboard – Georgia, Ukraine, Serbia, Netherlands
Outsiders – San Marino, Croatia, Sweden, Montenegro, Italy, Armenia
A first-half draw normally spells doom and disaster: the only time that an act in the first half won was Georgia’s little bumblebees.
BUT, that was an obvious children’s song, as many of the winning songs have been. Gaia’s “The Start” was one of the first serious songs to win, one that could fit into the adult contest. This year is filled with adult-style songs, rather than cute songs about mommy or candy. It’s harder to pick a winner this year when we have never seen this sort of setlist. However, we can try to stack up the odds when it comes to the running order.
Belarus and Bulgaria, considered by many to be some of this year’s better songs, drew the first two positions. What meaning does this have? Belarus’ “Sokol” is an energetic number, and certainly a more memorable than Sweden’s angsty Eliias, who opened last year. While Belarus’ chances of winning are cut down significantly, it still has a big chance of placing really well.
However, Bulgaria is a different story. The second slot is often equivalent to the lower part of the middle ranks. With such a big ballad coming so early, rather than in the climax of the performances, is it possible that it could be forgotten? Or even worse, seen negatively for being in the wrong place?
Cyprus hasn’t been given much of a helping hand either, but is in a better situation than Bulgaria. In the fifth slot, it stands out against its preceder, Croatia, and follower, Georgia, but it is still early. The perfect time for a dance number is often not the perfect time for a winning number. My intuition, however, says that Cyprus still has a fighting chance.
Russia might have been given more of a boost than any of the other favorites. It is in a prime winning slot, and with a song similar to that of the previous winner and lots of bloc voting, it might seem like a near-certain Russian victory.
What’s interesting is the case of Serbia. I’m sure I’m not alone in sort of forgetting that Serbia was back this year. Emilija has sort of layed low, and so has her song. However, “Svet u mojim ocima” is of the same quality as some of the other favorites, and is of the same general style: a ballad. It’s also in a hot spot: third from last: Belgrade could be on the cards people!
Finally, Julia is the show’s closer. The last spot has won several times. I originally had doubts before the rehearsals, but I feel it is safe to say that the Netherlands have a slightly bigger chance than Cyprus, due to their draw and their staging (which we will discuss momentarily).
Most of the other country’s odds have not changed too much, so there’s no need to get too much more detailed. To conclude, here is how our unofficial odds for the winner look when you take the running order into account:
Favorites – Belarus, Cyprus, Slovenia, Russia, Serbia, Malta, Netherlands
Middle of the scoreboard – Bulgaria, Georgia, Ukraine, Armenia
Outsiders – San Marino, Croatia, Sweden, Montenegro, Italy
The Dress Rehearsal
Over the past few days, the contestants have given us a general idea of how they will stage their productions. As in the adult contest, staging is crucial here.
Simplicity is key for some of our acts. Slovenia’s Ula and Serbia’s Emilija aren’t relying on any Patricia Kaas-esque elongated bows, or any dancers. Ula simply stands, sings her song, and sways to the music. Emilija sits at her piano and sings from there until the end. The simplicity is working.
Russia’s Alisa is a mixed bag. She has rearranged some of her music, and is now singing in a lower key. Not cute, y’all! She’s either come down with something, can’t hit the new register, or both. Distater much?
Malta’s Federica also went for a simpler performance than expected. Popera is a dramatic genre that needs a dramatic performance, but having dry ice effects with Federica simply singing from the podium? It’s acceptable staging, making a simple performance much more dramatic.
The dance numbers are a more interesting case now, as well. Needless to say, Cyprus has not satisfied us enough. They picked a lightning-filled background and left Sophia all alone on stage. It makes no sense when the song is sunny and the video shows her with lots of friends. Julia from Sweden, however, has turned around her results drastically. Her staging is really fun and presents the song better. That, however, can’t turn around the fact that her song isn’t as strong as that of the Netherlands.
Ukraine, however, deserves the most applause for their presentation. The song has been slammed so much, and they come up with a beautiful story to share in the background. The song becomes so much better that way! Like Belarus’ Nadezhda, it feels as if you are in a nature-filled euphoria for three minutes.
The others were as expected or a bit disappointing. Here is how the rehearsals stack up:
Favorites – Belarus, Bulgaria, Sweden, Ukraine, Slovenia, Serbia, Malta
Middle of the scoreboard – Georgia, Armenia, Netherlands
Outsiders – San Marino, Cyprus, Montenegro, Italy, Russia
So who are your favourites? Do you want the Netherlands and Cyprus to shimmy to victory? Or are you all about the drama tonight’s ballads offer? Comments below peeps!