It’s time to light up the room — and with the sight of Eiffel Tower in your living room. France Télévisions and the EBU have confirmed that 19 countries will participate in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2021. That’s a huge jump after only 12 countries participated at the last edition in Poland.
Alexandra Redde-Amiel, the French Head of Delegation and Director of Variety and Entertainment at France Télévisions, can’t wait to say Bienvenue! to the children — and their parents, dance coaches and fans.
“The entire French delegation is delighted to welcome for the first time in France, in close collaboration with the EBU, the 19 countries that will take part in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2021 on 19 December. France TV is looking forward to welcoming these European singing talents to the City of Light during the Christmas season. This unique family event will be a starry-eyed treat for all viewers, young and old. Long live the Junior Eurovision Song Contest!”
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Junior Eurovision 2021: 19 Participating Countries
🇦🇱 Albania (RTSH)
🇦🇲 Armenia (AMPTV)
🇦🇿 Azerbaijan (Ictimai)
🇧🇬 Bulgaria (BNT)
🇫🇷 France (France TV)
🇩🇪 Germany (NDR/KiKa)
🇬🇪 Georgia (GPB)
🇮🇪 Ireland (TG4)
🇮🇹 Italy (Rai)
🇰🇿 Kazakhstan (Khabar Agency)
🇲🇹 Malta (PBS)
🇳🇱 Netherlands (AVROTROS)
🇲🇰 North Macedonia (MKRTV)
🇵🇱 Poland (TVP)
🇵🇹 Portugal (RTP)
🇷🇺 Russia (RTR)
🇷🇸 Serbia (RTS)
🇪🇸 Spain (TVE)
🇺🇦 Ukraine (UA:PBC)
Junior Eurovision 2021 Returning Countries
The news comes with some welcome surprises, as eight countries are returning to the contest after a brief absence.
Bulgaria returns for the first time since 2016. In 2014 it posted its best-ever result — second place with Krisia, Hasan & Ibrahim — but it withdrew after two consecutive ninth place finishes.
Armenia is also returning to the contest after sitting it out in 2020. It participated in every edition between 2007 and 2019, winning in 2010 with Vladimir Arzumanyan, and placing in the Top 3 on six other occasions. It withdrew in 2020 after selecting its entry (Malena Fox with “Why”) owing to its war with Azerbaijan.
Interestingly, Azerbaijan is also returning in 2021 with the artist Sona Azizova. It will be Baku’s fourth appearance — and its first since its last act competed in 2018.
Unsurprisingly, Italy — the host broadcaster of Eurovision 2022 — is returning after sitting it out in 2020. As it prepares to host the world in 2022, it’s showing good form by participating in the EBU’s other song contest.
Albania, Ireland, North Macedonia and Portugal are also set to return.
Given all the returning countries, it’s understandable that Martin Österdahl, Executive Supervisor for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, is pretty enthusiastic.
“We’re excited to welcome 19 countries for the 19th Junior Eurovision Song Contest on 19 December in Paris, particularly those who didn’t participate in last year’s show because of the pandemic. The preparations so far from France Télévisions have been exemplary and this year’s Contest promises to be the best yet. We’re looking forward to hosting young talents from across Europe for a truly magical event with plenty of surprises!”
Of course, there is sad news for fans of the contest. Australia, which didn’t participate last year because of the complications related to the Covid pandemic, won’t be participating this year either.
Belarus, a powerhouse of the contest and a two-time winner, will miss the contest for the first time in its history. It participated in every edition of the contest from 2003 until 2020. But it is no longer eligible to participate in Eurovision events after the EBU suspended its broadcaster BTRC amid the brutal repression of protestors and the press.
That means The Netherlands is now the only country to have participated in every single edition of Junior Eurovision.