The countdown to Junior Eurovision is officially on.
Saturday 30 October marks exactly 50 days until the grand final of the 19th annual Junior Eurovision Song Contest, held this year in Paris’ La Seine Musicale on Sunday 19 December.
But before we pack our bags and jet off to France, let’s build some hype.
Here’s a closer look at five reasons why we’re excited for Junior Eurovision 2021.
Junior Eurovision 2021: Five reasons to get excited
1. Eurovision is back in France
Junior Eurovision 2021 marks the first Eurovision event to be held in France in more than two decades.
The country last hosted Eurovision Young Dancers 1999 in Lyon, with Germany taking home the crown. The last time France hosted a Eurovision song contest was in 1978, after Marie Miryam’s win with “L’oiseau et l’enfant” — the country’s last main contest win to date.
Thanks to Valentina’s historic win at Junior Eurovision 2020 with “J’imagine”, Paris can revel in Eurovision glory once again.
Fans attending the contest at La Siene Musicale will be able to stroll along Parisian boulevards, see the capital’s iconic architecture and indulge in the finest French cuisine. What more could you want?
2. Eight returning countries
The coronavirus pandemic forced a number of countries to withdraw from the 2020 edition of the contest, reducing the number of participants to 12 — the lowest uptake since 2013.
But as restrictions ease, more countries are back on board to show their finest young talent on the European stage.
Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Ireland, Italy, North Macedonia and Portugal all return this year, bringing the total number of countries to 19. Moving on up!
3. Variety of languages
One of the rules of Junior Eurovision stipulates that all songs must be performed in one of the national languages of the country it represents.
At the adult contest, that rule was done away with in 1999, leading to an increased number of countries sending tracks in English year after year.
But if Rotterdam proved anything, it’s that you don’t need to sing in English to be popular. At Eurovision 2021, four out of the five songs in the top five — including the winning “Zitti e buoni” by Måneskin — were in languages other than English.
To date, 30 different languages have appeared at Junior Eurovision. In 2008, Georgia’s Bzikebi won the contest with “Bzz…” sung entirely in an imaginary language.
With 19 countries competing in Paris, we’re bound to get some diverse language bangers.
4. The festive theme
Paris’ Junior Eurovision theme has got us feeling all fuzzy and festive.
The contest’s slogan Imagine pays homage to Valentina’s winning track “J’imagine”. Meanwhile, the logo is a golden, shining triangular designed inspired by Christmas trees and of course, France’s iconic Eiffel tower.
Junior Eurovision is a cornerstone event in the Eurovision calendar as it signals to all of us to get ready for the holiday season.
This year’s contest is also being held closer to Christmas than ever, just six days before the big day (for countries that use the Gregorian calendar).
However you celebrate, get the decorations ready and cosy up for an excellent display of talent from Europe’s young pop stars.
5. Duckie Doo is back
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Duckie Doo joined the team in May 2021 when Suzanne adopted him from The Student Hotel in Rotterdam.
Our poultry friend will be working hard to bring you all the latest coverage from La Seine Musicale.
Will we pick up some new friends on our travels through Paris? Only time will tell.
Are you excited for Junior Eurovision 2021? Who is your early pick to win? Sound off in the comments below.