Junior Eurovision 2020- The Good, The Fun, and the Sensational!

Although there were only 12 songs, they were all brilliant and every artist performed spectacularly. All the performances were enjoyable in their own ways- the ballads, the cute fun songs, the pop numbers- and every artist did their country proud. I thought the studio setting was a brilliant way to ensure the show could happen, and encouraging all countries to use a similar set up meant that it felt like we were watching them all on the same stage, which was wonderful. Obviously some singers could incorporate backing dancers whereas others may not have had the chance due to varying Covid rules, but on a whole the production was managed very well and TVP should be congratulated.

Personally, I’d feel uncomfortable ranking the songs as nobody deserves to place last with the quality being so high, so here’s some thoughts on all the songs, with my top five highlighted separately. Susan from Germany opened the show wonderfully with a sweet, simple ballad, welcoming her country to Junior Eurovision for the first time. Unity from The Netherlands bought a peppy, fun tribute to friendship which made me smile from start to finish- more bands at JESC next year please! Petar from Serbia bought an adorable ballad about young love, and some of the smoothest vocals of the competition. Georgia’s Sandra bought an empowering ballad about togetherness, with some stunning vocals and contemporary choreo. Chanel’s Chasing Sunsets was a lovely little song-  it was nice to see the delegation making the best of a unique situation by using the studio lighting to convey a story and compliment the song. Sofia from Russia showed off some amazing vocals in a powerful ballad, while Ukraine’s Oleksandr brought a fun, quirky number to the table, showing off some neat singing skills. 

Spain- I had heard very good things about this song from Twitter, and Solea did not disappoint! She sounded fabulous, even while dancing and singing, and the song had a contemporary, salsa feel which made me want to dance. I loved the backing dancers using the little surfboards (I think they were surfboards) as percussion, and the whole package was very impressive to watch. Bravo, Spain!

Belarus- Arina has such a phenomenal voice, and this dark yet hopeful ballad gave me goosebumps from start to finish. I can see why this was a fan favourite- this song could have held its own at adult Eurovision.

France- A well-deserved victory from France! Valentina looked and sounded adorable, and the song just brought so much fun and sparkle to the show- the staging was completely over-the-top in all the best ways (kudos to the dancing Eiffel Tower on the final chorus) and I smiled the whole song through. 

Poland- What an inspiring little song! This was adorable and fun, in addition to being an absolute bop at the same time. I loved the dance routines and message that the song brought, and thought it was really well put together. The transitions were seamless, the vocals were on point and I absolutely loved it.

Kazakhstan- My winner of the evening was Karakat’s ‘Forever.’ I am not lying when I say I cried at this performance. It was stripped back, yet so magical and touching. The beauty of the song, however, wasn’t the beautiful lighting or the stunning dress, but Karakat’s phenomenal voice. She can convey so much emotion, both soft and gentle and intense and powerful. The song is absolutely beautiful, without fault, and it genuinely moved me. It was nothing short of spectacular.

Despite watching the show about seven hours late, I managed to avoid spoilers for the first time in three years of watching JESC, and last night was the first time hearing the songs for me. The show was produced extraordinarily well, given all the circumstances, and it was wonderful to have a (mostly) live Eurovision show this year after the main event was cancelled in March. 

The hosts were professional and fun, although I was tempted to play a drinking game every time they said ‘Move the World.’ What does the slogan even mean, anyway? Either way, we all knew about it. The little dance montages in Warsaw were sweet, and the tribute to the key-workers was a nice touch. The votes were presented seamlessly and at a good speed- I’m all for tension in the adult competition but it’s tense enough for children already, so the faster the better in my opinion. I’m still not a fan of the new televote announcements, but I guess that’s the new way of doing things, so I’ll have to lump it. Although I was rooting for Kazakhstan, I cheered for France when they won. 

There were also a few special guests- Viki’s performance of ‘Superhero’ was a lovely way to open the show as she performed her winning song on home-turf (again!), and Alicija’s performance of ‘Empires’ was sassy, sultry and a nice touch, although it would be nice if TVP had confirmed that she could represent Poland at ESC next year. Ah well, maybe later. The group number was fun and enjoyable, although I wish they hadn’t used the hologram CGI technology: either put everyone on a stage together or do a montage of them singing live on Webcam. This looked weird and I wasn’t sure. Something like the ‘Love Shine A Light’ montage from May would have worked better and looked more natural, I think. Also, while it was nice to see Duncan Laurence, I wasn’t a huge fan of this cover of ‘Arcade.’ It felt a little too much like the two girls, although amazing singers, were trying to out-do each other with riffs and shouting, and the overall result didn’t work. Additionally, I was somewhat distracted by the holo-Duncan. 

Still, all of this said, I thoroughly enjoyed the show last night, and am extremely grateful to both the EBU and the Polish broadcasting company for allowing us to have a show to celebrate. In a year of cancellations and postponements, it was a breath of fresh air to have JESC, even though it was a slightly modified version. I’m so glad the delegations, artists, production crew, and everyone else were able to work together- it definitely paid off, and a fantastic show was the result. 

Now, bring on 2021 in France!

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