It’s a sweet sixteen, y’all! Today the European Broadcasting Union revealed the official list of countries participating at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2017. But that’s not all. Officials have also revealed a new online voting component. And we even have a change of venue.

Host country Georgia will, of course, be defending their crown in Tblisi. They won’t be the only country with a recent Eurovision victory under their belts though. Portugal makes its return to JESC after a 10-year absence from the contest. The country previously competed in 2006, when it finished 14th of 15 countries, and in 2007, when it finished 16th of 17 countries. But after winning with Salvador Sobral in Kyiv the broadcaster has new fire and ambition. Can they make it two wins in a year?

The 14 other competing countries all return from 2016. You can see the full list below, along with those acts already selected.

Junior Eurovision 2017: Participating Countries

On the surface it seems that we’re saying goodbye to Bulgaria and Israel, as the statement released by the EBU doesn’t discuss more countries potentially joining. However, it seems that may, in fact, be a possibility.

Bulgaria’s BNT also said that its fate has not yet been decided. In a tweet, it explained that it’s waiting for its new director general to be elected. Only then will it announce its plans for both Eurovision 2018 and Junior Eurovision 2017.

Israel has not experienced much success in the junior contest, despite conducting intense national searches to find its stars.

In 2012 it placed eighth of 12 countries and last year 15th of 17 countries. With only two participations under their belt, it’s perhaps not that surprising they haven’t made up their minds yet.

Bulgaria’s potential withdrawal would be far more surprising, as the country placed second in 2014 and hosted the show in 2015.

New Online Voting System

One of the biggest complaints about Junior Eurovision 2016 was the removal of a public vote. The contest was decided entirely through jury votes — a kids’ jury, a professional jury and then a three-person expert panel that included Christer Björkman.

Perhaps spurred on by this negative reaction (and low viewing figures), the public will once again have their say in 2017. The EBU has brought in a brand new online-only system, which will take place in two parts.

A pre-contest vote will run from Friday 24th November to Sunday 26th November. Voters will have to watch a recap of all songs online, before casting their vote on the JESC website. Voters can also choose to watch a one-minute rehearsal clip at this time to help inform their decision.

A second vote will then run during the live show for 15 minutes. The final combined result of these two votes will then form 50% of the overall vote, along with the jury vote.

New venue: Olympic Palace

Back in March Georgia’s public broadcaster GPB announced that it would stage Junior Eurovision inside the 10,000-seat Tbilisi Sports Palace. But apparently GPB and the EBU have had second thoughts, announcing that JESC will instead take place in the much more intimate Olympic Palace, which holds just 4,000 people. The EBU says it is “considered more suitable…for its numerous facilities for delegations, media and fans.”

Follow all of our Junior Eurovision 2017 news

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beccaboo1212
Guest

Now about the venue change: I wasn’t necessarily the EBU to move the contest to that 4,000-seat Olympic Palace. Last year’s contest was held at Valletta’s Republic Hall, which has roughly 1,400 seats. This made me learn that small arenas can look a lot bigger on television. As a result, I decided to add up the total capacity of the small venues in JESC’s history. In order to do so, I had to find the venues with a capacity of under 6,000. I’m putting the capacities in order from smallest to largest. Valletta 2016 – Republic Hall (Mediterranean Conference Centre)… Read more »

Blaziker from SG
Guest
Blaziker from SG

Last year’s contest was ‘almost’ a complete mess. No televoting, bad hosts and to top it all off, a very debatable winner (still not accepting the fact that Georgia won the competition despite me predicting it will finish last and that Russia was not at the top 3 despite them being the clear fan favourites). Based on what I have seen, bringing in the online vote (they did it in 2015, only that the website crashed as there are too many voters) is a great way for us Eurovision fans (and for those outside of Europe to vote) to have… Read more »

James
Guest
James

I think even with a televote last year, Georgia would have still left voters at home very impressed enough for them to wanna give her much of their points. Who else di just as well as Mariam that day? I think Ireland was good and so was Italy and Armenia.

The staging doomed Russia, and while Cyprus felt like an interval for Young Dancers, Serbia barely had much going on except for the lone hoverboard.

Blaziker from SG
Guest
Blaziker from SG

Definitely agree with what you said about Ireland, Italy and Armenia (who expected a costume change in JESC?). Many people, on the other hand, have predicted Georgia to finish last, so if the televote was to take place, Russia would have gotten into the top 3 and Armenia would have gotten the win. Even so, we will never know since it was virtually a jury vote. What about Belarus? They used hoverboards too and did somewhat well in the competition. The bottom line is, that Mariam’s voice is as powerful as Dami Im’s in Eurovision 2016, so that played a… Read more »

James
Guest
James

Belarus last year had a lot of people on stage so it didn’t feel empty. Plus, it came before Serbia.

Ria van de Velde - NL
Guest
Ria van de Velde - NL

I am very happy that Portugal comes back at JESC this year but i am very dissapointed that Bulgaria doesn’t participate this year, I hope they will change their mind. I hope for a lot of great songs this year, I am looking forward to hear them.

Héctor
Guest
Héctor

I’m not sure if this new voting system is going to work. They are messing up the Junior Contest.

Graph
Guest
Graph

The online voting is very exciting news, although I see both good and potentially negative results:

Positives: This is a song contest, and getting to vote before the show could make the contest more about music composition than staging.

Concern: If live TV viewership is low, the online voting may get dominated by the crazy factions of the adult Eurovision fandom.

brunowskii
Guest
brunowskii

Love Portugal!
Avante amigos mais uma vez!

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

Honestly this pre-contest voting takes away the point of this LIVE contest.

Kris
Guest
Kris

It will be along the lines of Finland’s system…..the precontest vote will amount to at max 20% of the televote result( UMK uses 10%)

Twisted French
Guest
Twisted French

This shouldn’t exist, what the hell?? Children are supposed to be at school, at home, playing with each other, not on a stage. What is this world? The next step is….? Having a new born babies Eurovision contest? Even better, Eurovision with pregnant mums and their fœtus vocalizing??? Hello world, everything is not on sale!!! Time to wake up!!!

Roelof Meesters
Guest
Roelof Meesters

If the children love singing enough to enter such a big show, let them. It’s their passion, they aren’t forced to do it. And it also isn’t like they don’t play or have fun or don’t get to be a child, it isn’t 100% of their life.

Twisted French
Guest
Twisted French

That is why you are supposed to have parents to protect you from the adult world. Otherwise there’s no limits anymore. How can you let a kid in the hands of adults who are only here to make money out of your kid?? I’ll never understand that. They have all their lives to be singers. Then you find them at 20 already wounded by the world we made them. Not much of a surprise!

beccaboo1212
Guest

Calm down! Junior Eurovision must stay in the Eurovision franchise FOREVER! Kids shouldn’t be left out!

Zebb
Guest
Zebb

Parenting task is to prepare and inform about adult world, what’s good and what’s need to be changed, but not to protect or even isolate like you suggest.

Twisted French
Guest
Twisted French

That’s a theory. There’s not only one way of parenting. Given the world we live in today, generally speaking, I don’t have the feeling that parents are actually doing a good job.

James
Guest
James

Twisted French, children’s competitions are nothing new and such don’t discourage children from ever leaving school. If anything, events such as Junior Eurovision, Eurovision Young Dancers and Eurovision Young Musicians are complementary to a child’s school life. They become more active in pursuing arts and music as they are encouraged at the sight of people their age who can showcase their passion without discrimination. In fact, a lot of schools encourages their students to take part in compeititions that hone their skills and realize their untapped potential. It’s why we have sport tourneys and intramurals as well as camping trips… Read more »

Soy
Guest
Soy

Hi Twisted french, it’s me soy. Or S. sorry to say but I also think it is right and okay for children to participate in the JESC as it’s their passion, look at the closing show of JESC last year. Up till now, it is the happiest moment I have ever seen in my life. Let them join, it’s their decision- and there ar not one single negative aspect.

Twisted French
Guest
Twisted French

I’m not sure you are able to make that kind of decision when you’re 10 or 12. That is what your parents are here for. I don’t like this kind of shows, I’m sorry. If you don’t fix limits, at a certain point there’s no limits anywhere. I don’t see the world like that. Eurovision wise and generally speaking. But that’s just my opinion.

Darren
Guest
Darren

Really wasn’t expecting Portugal to announce participation JESC really unexpected. But this is great news!! Reall delighted with this.

JESC needs more western and ‘traditional’ Eurovision countries. It would be nice if we could get Spain, France, Germany, Belgium and Sweden in there too.

Nickc
Guest
Nickc

And the jury is adult jury, or kids jury, or a mix?

James
Guest
James

How much of the over-all online public vote score would a pre-show vote be taken into account? One-third, with the rest being derived from the live vote?

soSO
Guest
soSO

televote = life
no televote = death

Isaac Muscat
Guest
Isaac Muscat

(Polegend Godgarina) is right. Look at Malta. We won JESC twice in 3 years and when it comes to diaspora voting, we’re usually terrible. Even Georgia doesn’t go that well with diaspora voting. Last year Armenia came second WITHOUT televoting so… I think that’s enough.

JD
Guest
JD

I’m not sure about the online voting. Poles and Armenians could very well power vote their countries to 1st and 2nd, just like in online polls. It’s not fair.

Roelof Meesters
Guest
Roelof Meesters

I think they will find a way to make it unable to vote for your own country.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

How high were Poland and Armenia in televote at the Eurovision this year? Check your facts and stop whining about diaspora, a factor which NEVER played a significant role in JESC.

JD
Guest
JD

Do you even understand what I’m talking about? It is very easy to fake your location online. Poles from Poland will likely be able to vote.

Ron
Guest
Ron

LOL then that’s true for everyone. Armenia is one of the smallest countries in Europe and to think they’re a big threat to online voting is laughable. Also, let’s not forget they came second last year with that mess of a jury system last year. So, your claims are unsubstantiated.

JD
Guest
JD

Armenian fans are very passionate. Same with Poles.

Ron
Guest
Ron

Seriously? You’re embarrassing yourself.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

You sure do believe in fairytales. Do you think people are so dedicated?

James
Guest
James

JD, it’s also very easy to filter out who’s faking their IP locations.

Matt
Guest
Matt

I really don’t like the idea of counting online votes cast prior to the show itself and hope that this isn’t a test run towards implementing this into the main contest. If this system had been used in Eurovision 2017, Italy might have won, and Moldova surely wouldn’t have finished as high as third. Maybe some would like that, but I sure wouldn’t. No voting should take place until we’ve seen the last performance.

Erasmus
Guest
Erasmus

I kind of wanted other countries to confirm as well. I’m super surprised for Bulgaria as all the others. Israel was expected, but I wonder what will happen with them in ESC.

beccaboo1212
Guest

Now that BNT has a new boss, hopefully Bulgaria changes their minds soon. I was really hoping they’d send this girl to Tbilisi:

http://pda.fest-sbv.by/en/contest/children-contest/participants/1545-sesil.html

Jp
Guest
Jp

Except that BNT won’t have a new boss until 23 August…

beccaboo1212
Guest

So at the moment, Bulgaria is out until further notice. But when their new boss is announced, then we’ll know if Bulgaria gets a chance to participate at Junior Eurovision this fall in Georgia, as well as the REGULAR Eurovision next spring in Portugal.

Eugene
Guest
Eugene

How are they gonna combine the online vote with the live show vote? 50/50 or will it be just like another set of points along with each country so total we will have 17 public votes sets? Or are they gonna track the IPs of voters?

Roelof Meesters
Guest
Roelof Meesters

More news is expected to be revealed later.

azaad
Guest
azaad

Not surprised about Israel, but sad to hear about Bulgaria’s departure- as their 2014 song was easily the best JESC song we’ve had so far. Happy to see Portugal back in the game, as well as a return of a public vote!

beccaboo1212
Guest

It’s only August, so I wasn’t hoping Bulgaria would change their minds by now. Hopefully Bulgaria returns to Junior Eurovision next year! 🙂

beccaboo1212
Guest

I meant I WAS hoping.

DenizNL
Guest
DenizNL

Bulgaria was one of the better Junior Eurovision countries of the past years, their withdraw is very stupid,
The same goes for Israel, they should’ve tried more.
I didn’t expect Portugal to be back actually, but that will be fun.
Germany should try the contest.
The online vote sounds great.

Robyn Gallagher
Guest
Robyn Gallagher

I suspect that Bulgaria is out because while the broadcaster can get an experienced artist with a cashed-up record company to cover costs for their ESC entry, the same doesn’t apply for child acts at JESC. If money is tight for the broadcaster (and they seem to complain about this a lot!) not funding a JESC act is obvious cost-cutting 🙁

beccaboo1212
Guest

You’re right. Bulgaria kids shouldn’t be left out. 🙁

But they can still watch the contest if they want. 😉

Jo
Guest
Jo

BNT had a lot of changes after Eurovision. I guess the new boss isn’t a big fan of the event.

beccaboo1212
Guest

We won’t know until August 23rd, so our best option is to keep praying that BNT’s new boss is a fan of the Eurovision franchise. That way Bulgaria can get a chance to start a national selection. By the way, I found a story explaining that Bulgaria’s withdrawal is a rumor. (PS – It’s in Spanish!)

http://es.esc-plus.com/bulgaria-no-confirma-su-retirada-en-eurovision-junior-2017/

Rough translation: “Bulgaria did not confirm withdrawal at Junior Eurovision 2017”

Robyn Gallagher
Guest
Robyn Gallagher

Will the new online vote be open to people outside Europe? Very interesting!

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

It’s online voting, it’s should available for outside Europe of course 😀 if they wanna keep it inside country that are competing, SMS/Phone is the way to go

Roelof Meesters
Guest
Roelof Meesters

The online voting system sounds AMAZING. I am still waiting for more information to be revealed because I don’t really get how the votes will be calculated into points and how to prevent people for voting for their own country. I am really happy for Portugal, Israel was expected but I don’t know why Bulgaria withdrawed, they got good results in the last years. I also hoped for Germany, Hungary and France but they aren’t here. 16 is a great number considering there where 12 countries in 2013.

beccaboo1212
Guest

I’m really hoping Bulgaria changes their minds about participating after they (s)elected their new BNT leader.