After watching the Junior Eurovision 2014 rehearsals on-the-ground in Malta, the team from wiwibloggs has several favourites: Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Malta, Slovenia (yes, that was in alphabetical order — things are just too close at the moment). Below some of our correspondents in Malta and abroad sound off on who they think should win and who they think will win.
Chris in the UK
Want to win: Belarus
I’ve always had a bit of a soft-spot for Belarus in adult Eurovision, even if their entries have always been a little bit naff. So it’s wonderful to be able to support them in Junior Eurovision where they regularly send strong performances. This year is no different, except for one thing – I’m firmly in the belief that “Sokal” is my favourite Junior Eurovision entry of all time. Nadezhda is an amazing singer and hugely charismatic; the staging is on point and I still can’t find any faults with it.
Who I think will win: The Netherlands
In my head, I have a feeling that none of the actual “favourites” will win and may cancel each other out, which could mean a complete dark horse entry winning. But if any of the big names will win, it’s got to be the Netherlands. In a smaller field, performing last will not harm them whatsoever and whilst I don’t think that “Around” is necessarily the best song, Julia brings enough enthusiasm and sells the song well enough that she will surely be a threat to the top of the leaderboard no matter what.
Sopon in the United States
Want to win: Slovenia
If it’s not obvious enough, I am 100% behind Slovenia. After seeing Slovenia get wronged so many times in Eurovision, they started their JESC career on the right foot and picked an amazingly talented girl with a beautiful, mature song. They have done everything right throughout the publicity process and have showed that little Ula deserves the victory more than any of the other competitors. I am confident in Slovenia ranking high on the night, although she must watch out for her fellow favorites Belarus, Bulgaria, and Cyprus, as well as dark horses Ukraine and Serbia.
The running order has given Emilija and Alisa two of the most advantageous positions. However, Alisa’s vocals have not been up to par, and the new arrangement of “Dreamer” is weak. Emilija’s song is just as good as the other ballads (and even better than some). If many of the viewers haven’t been following the press to see who is the most hyped, then Emilija’s chances are great. If they have, Cyprus and Slovenia have a larger chance.
Anthony in the UK
Want to win: Slovenia
Remember remember the fifteenth of November, the day my country makes their Junior Eurovision debut! I’m certainly looking forward to this year’s contest, so credit to broadcaster RTVSLO for making it possible. And our very talented girl will be hoping to take to the stage in Malta and make Slovenia proud on Saturday night. Srecno (Good luck) Ula!
In terms of who will emerge triumphant, it’s very much wide open. Around half of this year’s participants I would consider title contenders. Sophia can certainly werk the crowd and bring the party atmosphere with her incredibly infectious pop song. And talking of catchy pop songs, The Netherlands are emerging as a serious rival for the top spot. Not forgetting the fact Julia is the last to perform, whether it’s an advantage remains to be seen. And for Slovenia, my heart says Ula to win, but my head says anything can happen on the night.
William in Malta
Okay, so we’re supposed to pick one. I can’t. This field is so strong I’m going to divide my love between three acts. Malta’s Federica has taken a major risk by singing opera, and I think we should applaud her. Her vocals make the island shake, and when you hear her live your whole body vibrates. Georgia’s Lizi Pop really pops. It’s kid-friendly yet will appeal to adults. She is among the most adorable children we’ve ever met, and wish we could parent her. Bulgaria’s Krisia has a powerful set of lungs, glorious pianos, and a fantastic song. Cyprus’ Sophia has THE dance song of the year. I love to move, even at a kids’ contest.
Cyprus is perhaps too grown-up for the children. Georgia may lack the hype of the others, but it has lots of neighbours and may surprise. Malta could sweep the jury. Only Bulgaria or Italy can challenge her there.
Renske in the Netherlands
Want to win: Belarus
I loved the Belarusian song from the start! I really like that countries show their culture at Junior Eurovision and that’s exactly why Belarus has scored so well at past Junior Eurovisions. Nadezhda is also a very experienced singer and knows what she’s doing on stage, which makes her professional for her age. But the thing I love the most about their act is the style: I’m in love with all those feathers!
In a field of many over the top acts, Slovenia will keep it simple and charismatic. Ula has a powerful voice and that’s the thing Junior Eurovision has been most about the last two years. Unlike others in the contest, she can sing the English parts very well, people will be amazed by her song and vote for it. Or the viewers will be very attracted to the last act performing of the night: the Netherlands. The song is good and the act is very strong. It’s also very confident, which is something the viewers might love.
Deban in Malta
Georgia has won me over completely! Yes, I hold my hand up to a lukewarm wiwijury score, but on stage, Lizipop breathes life into her composition, resulting in one of the most memorable JESC performances this year. It’s anyone’s victory this year, but she’s my girl!