EDITORIAL – The 2021 Junior Eurovision Song Contest is now over. The 19th JESC winner is Armenia. Let’s start this editorial with some facts.
- 4.3 million votes cast
- Armenia won the public and combined voting with a landslide
- France won the jury voting
The Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2021 officially ended with the victory of Armenia, represented by Maléna (Arpine Martoyan) with the song Qami Qami, but the discussions on the final ranking and in particular on the results of the online voting the fifth year in a row was used by the EBU to represent the public component in the calculation of the final ranking.
VOTING FOR YOUR OWN COUNTRY(!)
Unlike what happens at the Eurovision “of the great” (where the spectators of each nation are called to express their preference through the televoting for the other states in the competition) at the Junior Eurovision it is possible to vote for your own nation: the regulation provides that you can do it both before the competition, watching a video-recap taken from the last dress rehearsal, and at the end of the performances.
It goes without saying that undermining a cornerstone of the basic mechanism of Eurovision – that is, having to collect consensus among adversary countries to rank high – has led to the transformation of Junior Eurovision into a competition where mobilizing the supporters of one’s own nation has almost become essential.
BROADCAST CHANNEL A KEY FACTOR
The phenomenon has been appreciable for some years now and mainly concerns the nations in which the Junior Eurovision is broadcast on the first or second national channel.
This obviously expands its audience of spectators and therefore of televoting, as opposed to what happens in contexts such as the Italian one (Junior Eurovision is historically broadcast on Rai Gulp, a thematic channel of the Rai galaxy that allows for deadly listening and in any case never above the percentage point of share) or German (where the same happens with KiKA, a broadcaster managed by a partnership between ARD and ZDF and dedicated to an audience of minors).
Other nations choose the path of retaining their public, in particular children and pre-adolescents, through a national final to select their representatives: the longest-running is the Junior Songfestival, organized by the Dutch channel AVROTROS with more or less the same modalities starting from the very first edition of 2003.
Looking at the nations that have placed themselves in the top 5 of the online voting for each year since 2017, we immediately see that they are more or less the same: France, back from 2018 and always broadcast on France 2, has achieved this. result in 4 out of 4 occasions never doing worse than fourth place.
Poland (with two first places), Kazakhstan, the Netherlands and Ukraine have entered the top 5 three times, while Spain (out of only three participations), Armenia and retired Belarus are included twice.
Several other countries fail to break through the wall of the top 5 on any occasion: one of these is Italy, which with Marta Viola in 2019 stops immediately below, finishing in sixth place. And it is no coincidence that Portugal has just managed to leave this club by taking advantage of the showcase of the first national channel RTP1, taking their standard-bearer Simão Oliveira to a very honourable third place in the just-concluded edition.
THE INCOGNITO FACTOR
At the helm of the race, the Junior Eurovision remains a struggle between those who manage to win their “electoral campaign” more effectively, mobilizing their audience through social media and the endorsements of well-known figures linked to the bubble.
It is not unusual to see the participants in the competition promoting real tutorials on how to vote through the “incognito mode” of their browser to overcome the limit of three votes provided by the regulation (a limit that yesterday, as per various testimonies, seems to have been removed during the voting session) and even suggesting that songs considered “less competitive” be included in the shortlist of three requested nations with a view to final victory.
- During the voting announcement, we saw familiar faces as spokespersons: Sandra Gadella (Georgia 2020), η Karina Ignatyan (Armenia 2019), o Oleksandr Balabanov (Ukraine 2020), η Angelina (France 2018), o Matheu (The Netherlands 2019).
- The Caucasus triumphed: Armenia 1st, Georgia 4th, Azerbaijan 5th.
- During its 19 years, JESC trophies were allocated to the East (13) and to the West (6).
- Only two Western European countries ended up in the top ten: France and Italy.
In the jury results, someone can see a weird “exchange” of votes
- France and Georgia exchanged 12 points
- Russia and Kazakhstan exchanged 12 points
- Italy and (of course) Azerbaijan didn’t vote for Armenia at all
- Albania and North Macedonia exchanged high votes
- France and Kazakhstan exchanged 7 points
- One of the Kazakh entrants lives in… France!
- Portugal’s gap between jury (11th) and public (3) voting frustrated the fans
- Serbia got 6th in the public and 15th in the juries
- Azerbaijan got 4th in the jury and 15th in the public voting
The staging made an impact #not
- A ballad from The Netherlands with a Japanese staging. Result: Fail!
- Instead of a rock presentation, Italy offered us a rock girl teamed by girl dancers
- Russia didn’t do well. Tanya was sick… (no comment)
- Some might think Kazakhstan will get sympathy votes from their singer. But just like senior Eurovision (Germany 2002, Poland 2015, Russia 2018)
- Some claim France 2021 resembled that of The Netherlands 2009. Seems quite subjective…
an oikotimes original text