Junior Eurovision Song Contest

For this year's Contest, see Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2016. For next year's Contest, see Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2017.
Junior Eurovision Song Contest
Genre Song contest
Created by Bjørn Erichsen
Presented by List of presenters
Theme music composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Opening theme Te Deum: Marche en rondeau (prelude)
Ending theme Te Deum: Marche en rondeau (prelude)
Country of origin List of countries
Original language(s) English and French
No. of episodes 14 contests
Location(s) List of host cities
Running time 2 hours, 15 minutes (2003–2013)
2 hours, 30 minutes (2014–2015)
2 hours, 45 minutes (2016–present)
Production company(s) European Broadcasting Union
Distributor Eurovision
Picture format 576i (SDTV) (2003–present)
1080i (HDTV) (2006–present)
Original release 15 November 2003 (2003-11-15) – present
Related shows Eurovision Song Contest (1956–)
Eurovision Young Musicians (1982–)
Eurovision Young Dancers (1985–)
MGP Nordic (2002, 2006–2009)
Eurovision Dance Contest (2007–2008)
External links
Official website
Production website

The Junior Eurovision Song Contest (French: Concours Eurovision de la Chanson Junior),[1] often shortened to JESC, Junior Eurovision or Junior EuroSong, is a song competition which has been organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) annually since 2003 and is open exclusively to broadcasters that are members of the EBU.[2] It is held in a different European city each year, however the same city can host the contest more than once.

The competition has many similarities to the Eurovision Song Contest from which its name is taken. Each participating broadcaster sends an act, the members of which are aged 10 to 15 on the day of the contest,[3] and an original song lasting between 2 minutes 45 seconds and 3 minutes[2] to compete against the other entries. Each entry represents the country served by the participating broadcaster. Viewers from the participating countries are invited to vote for their favourite performances by televote and a national jury from each participating country also vote.[2] The overall winner of the contest is the entry that has received the most points after the scores from every country have been collected and totalled. The current winner is Mariam Mamadashvili of Georgia, who won the 2016 contest in Malta with "Mzeo". The highest scoring winner is also Mariam Mamadashvili of Georgia who won the 2016 contest with a record 239 points.

In addition to the countries taking part, the contest has been screened in Australia every year. Estonia, Finland and Germany also broadcast the inaugural contest in 2003,[4] followed by Andorra in 2006 and Bosnia and Herzegovina (in 2006, 2008 and 2009), however these countries have yet to participate. Since 2006, the contest has been streamed live on the Internet through the official website of the contest.[5] Australia was invited to sing at the 2015 contest.

Origins and history

The origins of the contest date back to 2000 when Danmarks Radio held a song contest for Danish children that year and the following year.[6][7] The idea was extended to a Scandinavian song festival in 2002, MGP Nordic, with Denmark, Norway and Sweden as participants.[8][9] The EBU picked up the idea for a song contest featuring children and opened the competition to all EBU member broadcasters making it a pan-European event. The working title of the programme was "Eurovision Song Contest for Children",[10] branded with the name of the EBU's already popular song competition, the Eurovision Song Contest. Denmark was asked to host the first programme after their experience with their own contests and the MGP Nordic.

The 'singing girl' who formed part of the contest logo between 2003–2007.[11]
The Junior Eurovision Song Contest logo used between 2008–2014.

After a successful first contest, the second faced several location problems. The event originally should have been organised by British broadcaster ITV in Manchester.[12] ITV then announced that due to financial and scheduling reasons, the contest would not take place in the United Kingdom after all.[13] It is also thought that another factor to their decision was the previous years' audience ratings for ITV which were below the expected amount.[14] The EBU approached Croatian broadcaster HRT, who had won the previous contest, to stage the event in Zagreb;[15] though it later emerged that HRT had 'forgotten' to book the venue in which the contest would have taken place.[16] It was at this point, with five months remaining until the event would be held, that Norwegian broadcaster NRK stepped in to host the contest in Lillehammer.[16]

Broadcasters have had to bid for the rights to host the contest since 2004 to avoid such problems from happening again. Belgium was therefore the first country to successfully bid for the rights to host the contest in 2005.[17]

All contests have been broadcast in 16:9 widescreen and in high definition.[18] All have also had a CD produced with the songs from the show. Between 2003 and 2006, DVDs of the contest were also produced though this ended due to lack of interest.[19]

As of 2008, the winner of the contest is decided by 50% televote and 50% national jury vote. The winners of all previous contests had been decided exclusively by televoting. Between 2003 and 2005 viewers had around 10 minutes to vote after all the songs had been performed.[20] Between 2006 and 2010 the televoting lines have been open throughout the programme.[21] Since 2011 viewers vote after all the songs had been performed.[22] Profits made from the televoting during the 2007 and 2008 contests were donated to UNICEF.[23]

Prior to 2007, a participating broadcaster's failure in not broadcasting the contest live would incur a fine. Now broadcasters are no longer required to broadcast the contest live, but may transmit it with some delay at a time that is more appropriate for children's television broadcast.[24]

The 2007 contest was the subject of the 2008 documentary Sounds Like Teen Spirit: A Popumentary. The film followed several contestants as they made their way through the national finals and onto the show itself.[25] It was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival 2008[26] and was premiered in Ghent, Belgium[27] and Limassol, Cyprus[28] where the 2008 contest was held.


The format of the contest has remained relatively unchanged over the course of its history in that the format consists of successive live musical performances by the artists entered by the participating broadcasters. The EBU claims that the aim of the programme is "to promote young talent in the field of popular music, by encouraging competition among the [...] performers".[3]

Ksenia Sitnik claimed Belarus' first win in 2005 with "My vmeste". Her country's next victory was two years later with Alexey Zhigalkovich

The programme is always screened on a Saturday night in late November/early December and lasts approximately two hours fifteen minutes.[3]

Traditionally the contest will consist of an opening ceremony in which the performers are welcomed to the event, the performances of the entries, a recap of the songs to help televoting viewers decide which entries to vote for, an interval act usually performed after the televoting has closed, the results of the televoting or back-up jury voting which is then followed by the declaration of the winner and a reprise of the winning song. At various points throughout the show, networks may opt out for a few minutes to screen a commercial break.

Since 2008 the winning entry of each contest has been decided by a mixture of televoting and national juries, each counting for fifty percent of the points awarded by each country.[29] The winners of all previous contests had been decided exclusively by televoting. The ten entries that have received the most votes in each country are awarded points ranging from one to eight, then ten and twelve.[30] These points are then announced live during the programme by a spokesperson representing the participating country (who, like the participants, is aged between ten and fifteen). Once all participating countries have announced their results, the country that has received the most points is declared the winner of that year's contest.

Until 2013 the winners receive a trophy and a certificate.[2] Since 2013 contest the winner, runner-up and third place all win trophies and certificates.[31]

Originally, unlike its adult version, the winning country did not receive the rights to host the next contest. This was changed in 2012, the winning country now has first refusal on hosting the next contest.

The contest usually features two presenters, one man and one woman[32][33] (though the 2006, 2014, and 2015 contests were exceptions to this[34]), who regularly appear on stage and with the contestants in the green room. The presenters are also responsible for repeating the results immediately after the spokesperson of each broadcaster to confirm which country the points are being given to.the spokespersons are giving the points in the arena stage.[35]

Despite the Junior Eurovision Song Contest being modelled on the format of the Eurovision Song Contest, there are many distinctive differences that are unique to the children's contest. For instance, while the main vocals must be sung live during the contest, backing vocals may be recorded onto the backing track.[36] Each country's entry must be selected through a televised national final (unless circumstances prevent this and permission is gained from the EBU).[37] Each country's performance is also allowed a maximum of eight performers on stage, as opposed to the original number of six in the Eurovision Song Contest. From 2005 to 2015 every contestant was automatically awarded 12 points to prevent the contestants scoring zero points, although ending with 12 points total was in essence the same as receiving zero,[35] however, no entry has ever received the infamous "nul points".

Entry restrictions

Malin Reitan representing Norway in the 2005 contest with "Sommer og skolefri"

The song must be written and sung in the national language (or one of the national languages) of the country being represented. However, they can also have a few lines in a different language. The same rule was in the adults' contest from 1966 to 1972 and again from 1977 to 1998. Performers must be nationals of that country or have lived there for at least two years.

Originally the competition was open to children between the ages of 8 and 15,[20] however since 2007 the age range has been narrowed and presently only children aged 10 to 15 on the day of the contest are allowed to enter.[3]

The song submitted into the contest cannot have previously been released commercially and must last between 2 minutes 45 seconds and 3 minutes (as of 2013 onwards).[2] The rule stating that performers also must not have previously released music commercially was active from 2003 to 2006.[37] This rule was dropped in 2007 thus allowing already experienced singers and bands in the competition. As a result, NRK chose to withdraw from the contest.[36]

Since 2008, adults have been allowed to assist in the writing of entries.[36] Previously, all writers had to be aged 10 to 15.


The contest is produced each year by the European Broadcasting Union. The executive supervisor of every contest since 2003 has been Svante Stockselius who also heads the "Steering Group" that decides on the rules of the contest, which broadcaster hosts the next contest and oversees the entire production of each programme. In 2011, he was succeeded by Sietse Bakker.[38] In 2013, Vladislav Yakovlev took over the position of the EBU executive supervisor.[39] The current EBU executive supervisor is Jon Ola Sand, the Norwegian who is also the executive supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest since 2011.

Steering Group meetings tend to include the "Heads of Delegation" whose principal job is to liaise between the EBU and the broadcaster they represent. It is also their duty to make sure that the performers are never left alone without an adult and to "create a team atmosphere amongst the [performers] and to develop their experience and a sense of community."[2]

The list of executive supervisors of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest appointed by the EBU since the first edition (2003) is the following:


Participation since 2003:
  Entered at least once
  Never entered, although eligible to do so
  Entry intended, but later withdrew
  Competed as a part of another country, but never as a sovereignty

Only active member broadcasters of the EBU are permitted to take part and vote in the contest,[2] though the contest has been screened in several non-participating countries.[12][40]

Participation in the contest tends to change dramatically each year. The original Scandinavian broadcasters left the contest in 2006 because they found the treatment of the contestants unethical,[41] and revived the MGP Nordic competition, which had not been produced since the Junior Eurovision Song Contest began. Out of the thirty-seven countries that have participated at least once, two (Belarus and the Netherlands) have been represented by an act at every contest as of 2016.

Listed are all the countries that have ever taken part in the competition alongside the year in which they made their debut:

Year Country making its debut entry

Winning entries

Overall, ten countries have won the contest since the inaugural contest in 2003. Seven have won the contest once: Armenia, Croatia, Italy, Russia, Spain, Ukraine, and the Netherlands. Two have won the contest twice: Belarus and Malta; and Georgia has won three times. Both Croatia and Italy achieved their wins on their debut participation in the contest.

Year Date Host city Participants Winner Song Performer Points Margin Runner-up
2003 15 November Denmark Copenhagen[42] 16 Croatia Croatia "Ti si moja prva ljubav" Dino Jelušić 134 9 Spain Spain
2004 20 November Norway Lillehammer[43] 18 Spain Spain "Antes muerta que sencilla" María Isabel 171 31 United Kingdom United Kingdom
2005 26 November Belgium Hasselt[44] 16 Belarus Belarus "My vmeste" (Мы вместе) Ksenia Sitnik 149 3 Spain Spain
2006 2 December Romania Bucharest[45] 15 Russia Russia "Vesenniy Jazz" (Весенний джаз) Tolmachevy Sisters 154 25 Belarus Belarus
2007 8 December Netherlands Rotterdam[46] 17 Belarus Belarus "S druz'yami" (С друзьями) Alexey Zhigalkovich 137 1 Armenia Armenia
2008 22 November Cyprus Limassol[30] 15 Georgia (country) Georgia "Bzz.." Bzikebi 154 19 Ukraine Ukraine
2009 21 November Ukraine Kiev[47] 13 Netherlands Netherlands "Click Clack" Ralf Mackenbach 121 5 Armenia Armenia
Russia Russia
2010 20 November Belarus Minsk[48] 14 Armenia Armenia "Mama" (Մամա) Vladimir Arzumanyan 120 1 Russia Russia
2011 3 December Armenia Yerevan[49] 13 Georgia (country) Georgia "Candy Music" CANDY 108 5 Netherlands Netherlands
2012 1 December Netherlands Amsterdam[50] 12 Ukraine Ukraine "Nebo" (Небо) Anastasiya Petryk 138 35 Georgia (country) Georgia
2013 30 November Ukraine Kiev[51] 12 Malta Malta "The Start" Gaia Cauchi 130 9 Ukraine Ukraine
2014 15 November Malta Malta1[52] 16 Italy Italy "Tu primo grande amore" Vincenzo Cantiello 159 12 Bulgaria Bulgaria
2015 21 November Bulgaria Sofia[53] 17 Malta Malta "Not My Soul" Destiny Chukunyere 185 9 Armenia Armenia
2016 20 November Malta Valletta[54] 17 Georgia (country) Georgia "Mzeo" (მზეო) Mariam Mamadashvili 239 7 Armenia Armenia
2017 TBD TBD 2 (to date)
1.^ Although the venue itself is located in Marsa, Malta, the Junior Eurovision Executive Supervisor, Vladislav Yakovlev stated on 18 December 2013 that there would be "no host city - but a host island".[52]

Eurovision Song Contest

Further information: Eurovision Song Contest

Below is a list of former-participants of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest who have gone on to participate at the senior version of the contest. Since 2014, the winner of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest has been invited as a guest to the final of the adult contest.

Country Participant JESC Year ESC Year Notes
Poland Weronika Bochat1 2004 2010 Backing vocalist for Marcin Mroziński
Serbia Nevena Božović 2007 2013 Competed as a part of Moje 3 with "Ljubav je svuda" which placed eleventh in the first semi-final
Russia Tolmachevy Sisters 2006 2014 Competed with "Shine" which placed seventh in the final
San Marino Michele Perniola 2013 2015 Competed as a duet performing "Chain of Lights" which placed sixteenth in the second semi-final
Anita Simoncini2 2014
Armenia Monica 2008 2016 Backing vocalist for Iveta Mukuchyan
Netherlands O'G3NE 3 2007 2017 Song TBA
1.^ As a member of KWADro.
2.^ As a member of The Peppermints.
3.^ As Lisa, Amy & Shelley

See also


  1. "Official information page" (in French). European Broadcasting Union. 10 December 2007. Retrieved 6 July 2008.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Extract of rules of the 2006 contest" (PDF). European Broadcasting Union. 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 January 2007. Retrieved 14 November 2008.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "Generic contest information page". European Broadcasting Union. December 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2008.
  4. "The new Junior Eurovision Song Contest in high definition". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  5. "'Junior Eurovision live on the internet'". ESC Today. 1 December 2006. Retrieved 5 July 2008.
  6. "IMDB: Børne1'erens melodi grand prix 2000". IMDB. 1 May 2000. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
  7. "IMDB: de unges melodi grand prix 2001". IMDB. 1 May 2001. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
  8. "IMDB: MGP Nordic 2002". IMDB. 1 December 2002. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
  9. "MGP Nordic 2002" (in Danish). esconnet.dk. 27 April 2002. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
  10. "First EBU press release on JESC 2003". European Broadcasting Union. 22 November 2002. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
  11. "'New logo for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest'". European Broadcasting Union. 13 March 2008. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
  12. 1 2 "Confirmation of Manchester as original host". European Broadcasting Union. 16 November 2003. Retrieved 2 July 2008.
  13. "'Junior contest not to take place in Manchester'". ESC Today. 13 May 2004. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
  14. Cozens, Claire (17 November 2003). "JESC UK ratings". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
  15. "'Junior 2004 in Croatia'". ESC Today. 1 June 2004. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
  16. 1 2 "'Junior contest moves to Norway'". ESC Today. 17 June 2004. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
  17. "'Junior 2005 on 26 November in Belgium'". ESC Today. 20 November 2004. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
  18. "'The new Junior Eurovision Song Contest in high definition'". European Broadcasting Union. November 2003. Retrieved 2 July 2008.
  19. "'No DVD from JESC 2007'". Oikotimes. 17 January 2008. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
  20. 1 2 "Official information on the 2005 contest". European Broadcasting Union. 24 November 2005. Retrieved 5 July 2008.
  21. "'Televoting all night long'". ESC Today. 20 October 2006. Retrieved 5 July 2008.
  22. Siim, Jarmo (2011-07-15). "12 countries for Junior Eurovision 2011, several changes coming up". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  23. "Belinkomsten finale Junior Eurovisie Songfestival naar Unicef" (in Dutch). UNICEF. 6 December 2007. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
  24. "Information on the fine/ban rule implemented on Croatia and the scrapping of the live rule". ESC Today. 4 October 2007. Retrieved 5 July 2008.
  25. Harvey, Dennis (17 September 2008). "Variety review of Sounds Like Teen Spirit". Variety. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
  26. "Premiere of JESC film in Cyprus". IMDB. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
  27. "Video of Belgian premiere of JESC Film". YouTube. 16 October 2008. Retrieved 27 October 2008.
  28. "Premiere of JESC film in Cyprus". CyBC. September 2008. Retrieved 27 October 2008.
  29. "Junior: Minor format changes introduced". European Broadcasting Union. 6 June 2008. Retrieved 5 May 2009.
  30. 1 2 "'Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2008'". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
  31. "NTU reveals all with under 50 days to go". European Broadcasting Union. 15 October 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  32. "'Third Junior Eurovision Song Contest': Information on the 2005 running order draw". European Broadcasting Union. 14 October 2005. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
  33. "'JESC official presentation tomorrow'". ESC Today. 21 October 2007. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
  34. "'Exclusive: The singing logo is the co-host!!!'". ESC Today. 6 November 2006. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
  35. 1 2 "'Your votes please: the spokespersons'". ESC Today. 26 November 2005. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
  36. 1 2 3 "Rules alterations for 2008 contest as well as details of traditional rules". ESCKaz. 2008. Retrieved 11 November 2008.
  37. 1 2 "Rules of the 2003 contest". European Broadcasting Union. Archived from the original on 6 December 2003. Retrieved 5 July 2008.
  38. "Information on the Steering Group". Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation. 6 June 2008. Retrieved 6 July 2008.
  39. Jarmo, Siim. "Junior 2013 venue confirmed". JuniorEurovision.tv. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  40. "'Israel getting into the JESC spirit'". ESC Today. 22 November 2007. Retrieved 5 July 2008.
  41. "News – Scandinavian JESC pull-out". ESC Today. 18 April 2006. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  42. "Results of the 2003 contest". Oikotimes. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
  43. "Results of the 2004 contest". Oikotimes. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
  44. "Results of the 2005 contest". Oikotimes. 29 November 2005. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
  45. "Results of the 2006 contest". Oikotimes. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
  46. "Results of the 2007 contest". Oikotimes. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
  47. "'Exclusive: 13 countries to be represented at Junior 2009!'". European Broadcasting Union. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
  48. "'Exclusive: Belarus to host Junior 2010'". European Broadcasting Union. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 8 June 2009.
  49. Siim, Jarmo (18 January 2011). "Armenia to host Junior Eurovision in 2011". European Broadcasting Union.
  50. "Junior 2012 in Amsterdam on December 1". European Broadcasting Union. 27 February 2012. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
  51. Siim, Jarmo (7 February 2013). "Ukraine to host Junior 2013". EBU.
  52. 1 2 Fisher, Luke James (18 December 2013). "Malta to host Junior Eurovision 2014". JuniorEurovision.tv. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  53. "Junior Eurovision 2015: 21 November in Sofia, Bulgaria". JuniorEurovision.tv. 30 March 2015. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  54. "Malta to host the 14th Junior Eurovision Song Contest!". eurovision.tv. eurovision. 13 April 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2016.

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