C’est incroyable! Forty-three years after France last won Eurovision with Marie Myriam, the country is enjoying its first win at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Valentina — a ray of sunshine who turned the stage into a giant rainbow, illuminated by a playful LED and her infectious smile — carried a positive message that our imagination can save us even in the darkest of times.
And on Monday morning France’s Head of Delegation Alexandra Redde-Amiel was still overcome by it all as she sat down to speak with French journalist Fabien Randanne for 20minutes.fr.
In the wide-ranging interview, she discussed the eight-month process to get to the win, and made it clear thta Valentina kept the team going through all the uncertainty of recent months. “Valentina — the little sunshine that she is — carried us through this with a pride that she had to represent France,” Alexandra said. “She motivated us, energized us and made us want to fight….Valentina has always been there to say, ‘I’m up for it!’ It’s a beautiful example of winning — to say that nothing is impossible.”
France wants to host Junior Eurovision 2021
Unlike the adult Eurovision, where winning brings the responsibility to host, things are less certain with Junior Eurovision. Italy won Junior Eurovision 2014, but it declined hosting duties — instead, Bulgaria hosted the following year. And Russia won Junior Eurovision in 2017, but Belarus hosted in 2018. Does France want to stage next year’s show, now that it’s won for the first time in its four attempts?
“We are, of course, very keen to host Junior Eurovision in France next year,” Alexandra said, noting that she has support from both the president of the broadcaster and its TV director.
“We will first enjoy the moment and then discuss the possibility with the presidency of Eurovision and the EBU to find out how we can organize the 2021 edition and if it will be possible to do so. You have to speak with them before formalizing anything. But in any case, the wish is there.”
French HoD says that Valentina did NOT sing playback
The pandemic forced producers of Junior Eurovision 2020 to think creatively, resulting in a show that, for the first time, had artists record live performances in home studios. Naturally that’s led to speculation and intrigue online with some users accusing the French team of using playback. 20minutes.fr highlights comments from some Spanish fans in particular, who claimed Valentina’s win wasn’t deserved because of the allegations.
Previously, Valentina, through her official Twitter account, dismissed these allegations.
Well I must say I’m glad some of you think this was playback, it means you can’t hear stress in my voice ?? #JESC20
— Valentina Officiel (@ValentinaOff_) November 29, 2020
And on Monday Alexandre was more forceful, explaining that everyone followed the same set of rules. She said:
“Two things. The first: in each competition, there are dissatisfied people who do not want to believe [the result]…The second is that we had guidelines — that is to say a very clear charter saying what to do. Things were not different because we recorded our performance in each of our countries. We were all treated the same way with these documents indicating the number of cameras, the shape of the stage, the shape of the screens, when the performance was to be performed, how many times we could redo the song…Everything was live. Everything has been verified in Poland. Valentina sings live, there is no debate, and she has an absolutely gorgeous voice.”
EBU denies playback allegations to Spain’s RTVE
Over in Spain, RTVE’s Eurovision director has spoken out on the matter. At a press conference concerning their participant Solea, Toñi Prieto said: “Well, we were confused at what was going on both on social media and in the newspapers. So we formally asked the EBU about it. They explicitly told us, the delegations, that all countries were subject to the same controls and that the playback allegations were not true. No playback was used in any performance. The EBU is a big instrument, so Spain won’t push them with this issue. We have to believe what they are telling us.”
“We have followed all EBU guidelines, concerning stage, green rooms, performance… Perhaps some countries differed. If so, the EBU should be transparent about this.”
“That is why we prefer in-place Eurovision rather than one that’s pre-recorded. The same conditions apply when Eurovision is done in-place, and that is how should be.”
Rather pointedly, the Spanish entertainment boss suggested that France’s jury may have deliberately downgraded Soleá, who was considered one of Valentina’s chief rivals. She told reporters: “In my opinion, you won’t give points to your enemies.”
Are you excited that France wants to host Junior Eurovision in 2021? Do you think it’ll go to Paris? Or are we more likely to visit Lyon, Grenoble, Lille, Dijon or Aix-en-Provence? Let us know in the comments box below!