Slovenia made an early exit at the Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv, but they have something major to cheer about this evening.

That’s because its all-female Carmen Manet choral group won the first-ever edition of Eurovision Choir of the Year — the newest addition to the Eurovision Family of Events from the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

Praised for their sense of storytelling and for promoting a notion of girl power, the group opened with women spinning in a circle and later had a singer pretending to cry. But even more important than their theatricality were their harmonies and sense of togetherness as they took on two songs with spirit and vigour.

Eurovision Choir of the Year: The Winners

Organised by Latvian Television and host broadcaster LIVE RIGA in partnership with Interkultur, this year’s competition took place in the Latvian capital of Riga — a choral hotspot known for hosting the European Choir Games.

Grammy-winning composer and conductor Eric Whitacre co-hosted tonight’s event alongside Latvian Television’s culture presenter Eva Johansone.

Nine choirs participated and for the first time ever in a Eurovision event, Wales competed as its own nation. Looks like Lucie Jones isn’t the only Welsh representative of 2017!

Running order

    1. Estonia – Estonian TV Girls’ Choir
    2. Denmark – Academic Choir of Aarhus
    3. Belgium – Les Pastoreaux
    4. Germany – Jazzchor Freiburg
    5. Slovenia – Carmen Manet
    6. Hungary – Bela Bartok Male Choir
    7. Wales – Côr Merched Sir Gâr
    8. Austria – Hardchor Linz
    9. Latvia – Spigo

Each choir performed a six-minute set without accompanying music or backing track. The performances involved one or several works and pieces reflecting the participating country’s national or regional character.

That latter point is up for interpretation and the scope is clearly very broad. Estonia’s group seemed to channel aspects of Kerli’s “Spirit Animal”, while the Hungarians dressed as waiters holding (presumably Hungarian) wine. The Danes made a lot of animal noises and the Austrians sang about the rutabega (as in the vegetable).

Results

The winner was decided by a three-member jury panel: British composer John Rutter, German conductor Nicolas Fink and Latvian mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca. They judged all of the performances based on the following criteria:

  • The artistic personality of the choir
  • Faithfulness to the musical score
  • Quality of the sound and intonation
  • General musicianship

After all nine countries performed, it was up to the juries to make their all-important deliberations. And after a nervous wait, Elina announced Slovenia as the Eurovision Choir of the Year. Eurovision debutants Wales were confirmed as the runners-up and host country Latvia finished third.

What do you think of Eurovision Choir of the Year? Were Slovenia’s Carmen Manet your favourite choir? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo: Reinis Rudzitis (LTV)

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DyGh
DyGh
3 years ago

How can a “panel” consisting of only 3 “jurors” decide who wins? It’s still a small contest but this is just ridiculous.

Kermit
Kermit
3 years ago

The right winner! But I think te show was presented more as a classical music contest, than a pop show. Agree?

TheStellarSeaCow
TheStellarSeaCow
3 years ago

The Welsh choir was gorgeous. I had goosebumps for their whole performance. Slovenia was also absolutely lovely.

I really hope they keep this going, I really did enjoy the competition.

HBau
HBau
3 years ago

I adored this competition, a very welcome addition to the Eurovision stable. Well deserved winner, and I also very much enjoyed Hungary and Wales.

Poet
Poet
3 years ago

Wow! Looks like an awesome show.

Good job Slovenia and thanks Latvia for organising it!

Aaron GR
Aaron GR
3 years ago

Not playable in the USA. Why?!?

Darth Thulhu
Darth Thulhu
3 years ago
Reply to  Aaron GR

Because Viacom is evil and the EBU is stupid, meaning that the US is geoblocked from all YouTubes to anything from a live Eurovision show for two years now. Viacom Global Entertainment is the owner of Logo (and MTV, and VH1, and CMT, and almost every video cable channel in the US), and got the rights to broadcast all live Eurovision stuff in the US. They do an utterly horrible job of it, but part of their contract means they have exclusive rights to the US distribution of those broadcasts … so no competition from the official EBU YouTubes. Absolutely… Read more »

Aaron GR
Aaron GR
3 years ago
Reply to  Darth Thulhu

Rotten. Contracting the rights and then burying it.

It’s sad to think if I was just now trying to get into Eurovision, I probably wouldn’t know how to find it, and I’d give up. How many potential fans are being lost because of this horrible deal that Viacom and EBU made?

TheStellarSeaCow
TheStellarSeaCow
3 years ago
Reply to  Aaron GR

Aaron GR there are work arounds available, google is your friend. I managed to find one that worked for me and was able to watch the competition myself.

It’s just upsetting because I’ve been a massive Eurovision fan for years now and I unfortunately have to use these work arounds instead of viewing them in a way that would provide viacom and the EBU with ad revenue. You would think Viacom would want that potential money and provide the uploads somewhere.

Robyn Gallagher
Admin
3 years ago
Reply to  Darth Thulhu

Fyi, this has previously been investigated and it has nothing to do with Viacom.

The issue is to do with the music rights in North America. It’s something that the EBU has to work out with the associated record labels. Viacom has no involvement.

Steven
Steven
3 years ago

Hi Robyn I tweeted the EBU last year and someone confirmed it was because their were broadcast rights in North America (Canada is affected too) so it is not available. All Eurovision performances are blocked – but only from 2016 onwards. Also the music videos with the same songs are not blocked, neither are any rehearsal videos – it is only the semi final and grand final performances. Record labels normally block the music videos (e.g they blocked Cascada’s music videos here but their Eurovision performance is fine) For it to be to do with record labels, this would mean… Read more »

beccaboo1212
3 years ago

Speaking of what’s going on with Slovenia, remember when the country claimed that they’re sitting out on Junior Eurovision Song Contest? Well, now that Slovenia won Eurovision Choir of the Year, they might even change their minds about a Junior Eurovision return!

Hada
Hada
3 years ago

I watched it and it was a great show, my favorites were Germany and Wales.

Too bad the event didn’t have any coverage and wasn’t advertised enough. I didn’t watch it live just because I didn’t know when it was.

Archie
Archie
3 years ago

Wales is a country. As an Englishman, this is just basic knowledge. It makes the United Kingdom, along with England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Great Britain, on the other hand, is just England, Wales and Scotland. Yes, it is confusing, but just think of it as a mini EU

Erasmus
Erasmus
3 years ago
Reply to  Archie

Agree they even have their own language, flag…

Ugnius
Ugnius
3 years ago

One jury member was from UK, another was from Latvia and guess what ? Wales (part of UK) finished second and Latvia finished third. What a coincidence :))

Music is the key
Music is the key
3 years ago

Congratulations Slovenia! But i liked Germany most 🙂 it was a nce program. ESC just always allow more minutes pr song…they had 6, the double. Most modern pop/rock songs are much longer than 3 minutes. So an od-ashioned rule. Which often comporimise the songs, and makes the smaey production / building wise…I would love more time for long instrumental solos etc. It was also a good show. ESC could have been a bt more like that…Not so much glamour 7 gimincks. just focus on music. Which of course is the most important part of ESC too. A female 7 male… Read more »

My Name
My Name
3 years ago

I don’t really get how Wales got second. It wasn’t bad but we had f*ckin’ performances ’bout eatin’ ur vegetables and african animal sounds- against that the welsh performance wasn’t that special. Sad that my country (Germany) didn’t get into top 3- I really thought it could get a good placing…. Anyway, congratulations to Slovenia for winning their first eurovision related event!

James
James
3 years ago
Reply to  My Name

Because for this particular competition, the overall performance of the acts are being judged, in contrast to ESC where the song has to be the centerpoint at all costs.

Dab
Dab
3 years ago

Umm I don’t understand why wales is taking part instead of UK.. wales isn’t a country , it’s part of a country in the same way as Flanders to Belgium and Catalonia to Spain ..
entrants at Eurovision events have always been sovereign nations, like the olympics ..

Mark
Mark
3 years ago
Reply to  Dab

Wales have their own Broadcaster

Steven
Steven
3 years ago
Reply to  Dab

Actually Wales is a country. It just forms part of the United Kingdom. United Kingdom is made up.of individual countries. And as they have an independent broadcaster they are eligible for all Eurovision events. The only reason they cannot enter adult ESC is because the BBC is the broadcaster and choose to enter as the United Kingdom so Wales can’t enter when it is already represented. If the BBC didn’t bother to enter, Wales could enter under their own broadcaster as could Scotland.

Loll
Loll
3 years ago
Reply to  Steven

Wales is not independent souvereigne country. They will never participate in ESC. They are part of UK.

James
James
3 years ago
Reply to  Loll

On the contrary, Wales have previously participated as a competing country before in an EBU event, Jeux Sans Frontières.

Steven
Steven
3 years ago
Reply to  Loll

loll. Not true at all. Otherwise they would not have been in this event. They are a country and have a broadcaster. If they are eligible for the Choir contest they are eligible for all the others too and as mentioned they took part in 1994 in an event.
I do agree we will probably never see Wales in the adult ESC but only because the BBC would have to stop being the broadcaster and give up the rights to a Welsh broadcaster…which doesn’t seem very likely to happen.

D
D
3 years ago

I hope Wales would enter ESC on their own..

beccaboo1212
3 years ago
Reply to  D

Or maybe the United Kingdom could return to the Junior Eurovision Song Contest with S4C! 😀

Kermit
Kermit
3 years ago
Reply to  D

with Super Furry Animals represeting Wales 🙂

beccaboo1212
3 years ago
Reply to  Kermit

WRONG! It’s HUMANS that should represent Wales!

beccaboo1212
3 years ago
Reply to  Kermit

I meant, kids aged 9-14 trying to compete for Wales at JESC. 😉