Junior Eurovision is less than 24 hours away. Soon thousands will cram into Sofia’s Arena Armeec to witness the 2015 event, with millions more watching from home. But as we wait to #discover Vincenzo Cantiello’s successor, we’re rewinding time once more. Earlier in the week, we looked at how the class of 2003 have fared. Now we’re turning our attention to the second contest. On 20 November 2004, the biggest JESC to date took place, with a total of 18 countries singing in Lillehammer, Norway. The result is history – Spain won. But what are the contestants up to these days? We did some digging and the results are below.
1. Spain: María Isabel
171 points with “Antes muerta que sencilla”
Immediately after her Junior Eurovision victory, María enjoyed success that most of her adult counterparts could only dream of. “Antes muerta que sencilla” charted in several European countries, breaking into the top 20 in France and Switzerland. It then went on to be a massive hit right across Latin America, reaching the top spot in places as far apart as Argentina and Puerto Rico. And she definitely wasn’t a one-hit wonder. Between 2004 and 2009, the young singer released four platinum studio albums and a greatest hits collection. She then want on a self-imposed hiatus, in order to focus on her studies. But she returned with a vengeance earlier this year, releasing the EDM banger “La vida sólo es una”. Album number five is due for release in less than a week. All’s set for María to dominate once more.
2. The United Kingdom: Cory Spedding
140 points with “The Best Is Yet To Come”
Arguably, Corey Spedding is the most successful British Eurovision act of the 21st century. Her tally of 140 points was only beaten by Jade Ewen’s 173 in 2009, but even then Jade relied on a pool of 41 voting countries compared to Corey’s 17. Alas, impressive statistics do not guarantee a high profile career. Today, Corey performs small gigs and uploads the occasional cover to social media, including an updated version of “The Best Is Yet To Come”. However, she made headlines for the first time in over a decade last July, when she accused The X Factor of being a fix.
3. Croatia: Nika Turkovic
126 points with “Hej mali”
Nika experienced moderate success in the aftermath of JESC. The following summer she performed for the Swedish royal family, and in 2006 she recorded her debut album “Alien”. But like Spain’s María, her attention has been on academics of late, as she studies at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance in London. However, she’s kept her toe in the game. And in 2014 she was involved with Sophie Debattista’s entry in Malta’s Eurovision selection.
4. Romania: Noni Razvan Ene
123 points with “Iti multumesc”
Already a child star in 2004, Noni has continued to do well after the contest. He released his first solo record in 2007, and hasn’t stopped since. He dropped his latest single “Nelinistea Dintre Noi” earlier this month. And he’s not just a singer. He frequently appears on tv and also dabbles with film. In 2014, he voiced Tadashi in the Romanian dub of Disney’s Big Hero 6.
5. Denmark: Cool Kids
116 points with “Pigen er min”
Fresh from their JESC high, Cool Kids continued to tour and record music until they disbanded in 2007. Ibrahim Chouqeir was the only member to remain in music, albeit temporarily. In 2008, he released his first and, as far as we know, only album – “Tilbage igen”. His mother financed the project. Caroline Thybo studies media production and management. Niki Popovic moved to Slovenia, the homeland of his father.
6. France: Thomas Pontier
78 points with “Si on voulait bien”
France’s only ever Junior Eurovision star has paved out an interesting path for himself. He sang on Polish tv, competed in more music contests and released an album in 2011. He currently performs with Metamec, a hip hop collective. Their newest video, “Une Histoire De Mascarde”, takes us on a surreal trip around a mental hospital.
7. Macedonia: Martina Siljanovska
64 points with “Zabava”
Martina released an album called “Under the Starry Sky” in 2007, but since then she has stayed out of the spotlight.
8. Cyprus: Marios Tofi
61 points with “Oneira”
Marios has grown up to be very competitive indeed. Post-JESC he’s taken part in countless song contests all over Europe, including Slavianski Bazaar in Belarus and the Euro Pop Contest in Germany. He almost made it to Eurovision in 2006, losing out to Annet Artani by five points in the Cypriot national final. Future Greek Eurovision star Eleftheria Eleftheriou finished seventh. He currently seems to be on hiatus, as neither his Facebook or Twitter have been updated in over a year.
9. Greece: Secret Band
48 points with “O palios mou eaftos”
Giorgos Kotsougianis, the band’s lead singer, now lives and works in London. He’s still dallying with music, both as a musician and a composer. Pictorial evidence suggests that he has acquired a dog… and lost his shirt.
10. Belgium: Free Spirits
37 points with “Accroche-toi”
Free Spirits split soon after Eurovision. Lead singer Fabrice Morelle now performs with FLVX. According to their Facebook page, they specialise in stargaze rock. Y’all can decide for yourselves what that means. Here’s a taster.
11. The Netherlands: Klaartje & Nicky
27 points with “Hij is een kei”
Who thought it was a good idea to have a Dutch Junior Eurovision act with a song title that sounds like “High As A Kite”… ? Anyways, both girls appear to have retired from music. Klaartje Meulemeesters works at an orthodontics practice and Nicky Bruyn is with an advertising agency.
12. Malta: Young Talent Team
14 points with “Power of a Song”
The Young Talent Team consisted of eight performers, with Charlotte Debbatista and Marilena Gauci providing lead vocals. Charlotte is now based in London, where she trained in musical theatre at the Italia Conti Academy of Performing Arts. She’s performed at the Royal Albert Hall and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. And in 2013 she made a cameo in a music video for Sophie Debbatista, her sister and Malta’s 2006 Junior Eurovision singer. Marilena has tried to represent Malta at adult Eurovision twice – with “He’s A Demon” in 2011 and “Overrated” in 2013. She’s also finished runner up twice in Malta’s KKI song contest. Past winners include Ira Losco and Amber Bondin.
13. Norway: @lek
12 points with “En stjerne skal jeg bli”
Aleksander Moberg released an album in 2005, before quitting music completely. He now works as a consultant manager at a recruitment firm.
14. Belarus: Egor Volchek
9 points with “Spiavajcie so mnoj”
Egor took a three year break from music after the contest, mostly due to his voice breaking. During this time he remained in the public eye, presenting many tv shows including some Belarusian pre-selections for Junior Eurovision. He studied economics at university, but still performs regularly. Check out his “Careless Whisper” cover from February.
15. Sweden: Limelights
8 points with “Varför jag?”
After Eurovision, both ladies moved away from pop. Liselotte Östblom studied jazz at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. Her repertoire covers an eclectic variety of genres, ranging from neo-soul to gospel to fusion. Next month, some of her work will be featured in the Nobel Museum in conjunction with the Nobel Prize. Anna Jalkéus also went to the Royal College of Music. But now she lives in Texas and is studying for a postgraduate artist certificate. She’s gigging regularly, and classes herself as a singer, harpist and composer.
16. Switzerland: Demis Mirarchi
4 points with “Birichino”
Demis was Switzerland’s first and, to date, only Junior Eurovision contestant. We don’t know much about what he did next, except that he moved to Vienna to study law. Perhaps he popped his head into the Stadthalle last May… for old times sake.
17. Poland: KWADro
3 points with “Lap zycie”
To date, Kamila Piatkowska, Dominika Rydz, Weronika Bochat and Anna Klamczynska are the last people to sing for Poland at Junior Eurovision. After the contest, the four blamed their poor result on a lack of promotion and they split soon after. Weronika has maintained the highest profile of the four. In 2010, she was a backing singer for Poland’s Marcin Mrozinski at Eurovision, becoming the first JESC star to perform on the adult stage. She also appeared on the 2014 series of The Voice of Poland. Dominika is a business analyst, Anna graduated from the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts and Kamila spent time teaching dance.
=. Latvia: Martins Talbergs & C-Stones Juniors
3 points with “Balts vai melns”
Despite being the first person to perform at two separate Junior Eurovisions (he was a backing vocalist in 2003), Martins left music soon after the contest. Already passionate about inline skating, he went on to carve out a career snowboarding. He currently wakeboards for extreme sports specialists boardside.lv. You can follow his antics on Instagram.
- Junior Eurovision 2003: Where are they now?
- Croatia in Junior Eurovision: Where are the participants now?
- UK: Cory Spedding (JESC 2004) claims X Factor audition was fixed to fail