Euroweek 2011 is here! All the delegations have arrived in Yerevan and rehearsals have begun! Here are our “expert” reviews of all the songs.. I present you the official junioreurosong.net jury 2011 – Sara, Dara & introducing Nikara!
The “viewer vote” is the result of our poll.
Russia – Katya – Romeo and Juliet
Juries – 23/30, 7 points
Viewer vote – 3rd, 8 points
Dara – Ekaterina Ryabova returns to JESC..the cute, vivacious girl from 2009 who impressed us all is back.. except this time, her song is quite lacking. It’s just as old fashioned as Malenkiy Prints, but far less catchy, it lacks a climax. On the plus side, Katya’s vocals are excellent as always and she looked very pretty in the national final. It seems to be the consensus of everyone that we hope she ditches the scooter for Yerevan, because it just looks awkward. This is the favourite to win, but it will be an insult to Malenkiy Prints if that happens. This will end 1st-3rd. 5/10
Nicolas – Unlike most JESC fans, I’m really not fond of Katya’s 2009 song. Fortunately, Romeo and Juliet is a lot better than Malenky Prints. And we all know that Katya is a very strong performer too, and her amazing looks will also help her to get enough points. Considering it’s Russia, this could very well be the winner of this edition. I’m not sure if it’d be an exciting winner, but musically speaking, it’d be deserved. But please, Katya, get rid of that scooter; it’s not cute, it’s ridiculous. 8/10
Sara – Setting my love for Katya aside, I absolutely love this song. It’s so simple yet so great. Her beautiful voice goes so perfectly with the music. I also love the lyrics. It’s generously produced; the chorus is so catchy and will be stuck in your head for hours after. As for the act, it needs a total revamp which will probably happen. Katya is a potential winner, except the fact that she performs first. 10/10
Latvia – Amanda – Moondog
Juries – 7/30, 0 points
Viewer vote – 13th, 0 points
Dara – Internally selected Amanda brings us a very different song to last year’s Viva la Dance. It sounds beautiful to me, and the lyrics are some of my favourite of all the JESC songs. However you have to be in a certain mood to appreciate this song, and in the excitement of JESC, I don’t think this will fit the mood. It doesn’t touch you like say, Serbia 2010. Performing so early in the running order will not help Amanda (but being followed by this will help Katya). I fear this will be forgotten and the juries attention will go to “stronger” ballads. I like this, but it’s boring. Will end 11th-13th. 5/10
Nicolas – I apologize to most JESC fans, but Latvia was my last place last year. The only way was up. At least, that’s what I thought… Latvia managed to surprise me: they sent an even worse song than last year. Seriously, it gives a whole new dimension to the word ‘boring’. I’d prefer having to watch a 7 day chess marathon on TV than seeing this end up outside of bottom 5. Fortunately, I really can’t see that happen. Let’s hope the act will be enjoyable at least, otherwise my pee break will come very early in the show this year. 0/10
Sara – Really upsetting after the epicness Latvia set last year. Amanda has a beautiful and angelic voice in this song, so much more mature than her age. But the problem is the fact that the song is boring, I don’t understand the theme. The only thing that will help this song is the act, but I feel going second will make her very forgettable. 2/10
Moldova – Lerika – No-no
Juries – 25/30, 8 points
Viewer vote – 9th, 2 points
Dara – Part of me wishes Diana’s “Soarele” would have won their national final, but No-No is surprisingly catchy. Her English really sounds nothing like the actual lyrics, and even the lyrics themselves make no sense. The song and act are just so old fashioned. But there is something so compelling about Lerika’s voice, and the song does get stuck in your head. I like this! I do hope she changes the shoes..and the dress. 7.5/10
Nicolas – Moldova is a weird case this year. It has everything to be hated: the worst English accent since Ioana Ivan in 2006, very cheap music and quite a weird act. But it works. It’s among my personal favourites of the year, and I don’t think I’m the only one. Lerika looks cute and probably has the strongest voice this year. The chorus is so strong too, and even if you don’t like it, you can just listen and laugh at her hilarious English accent. 9,5/10.
Sara – After first hearing this song, I did not like it at all. Now it’s in my top four. Lerika has an AMAZING voice and she is absolutely adorable. The song is something between a ballad, jazzy upbeat song (lol) and it’s so different for JESC, which will make her stand out! Her stage presence is great and I believe she can do really well in Yerevan. Good luck, Lerika! 8/10
Armenia – Dalita – Welcome to Armenia
Juries – 19/30, 3 points
Viewer vote – 6th, 5 points
Dara – “Welcome to Armenia”, very suitable for JESC in Yerevan! I love the speaking bits, love that they have costumes, love the ethnic bit in the middle. Her vocals in the national final weren’t very strong, and her accent on the English is really quite annoying. This should be the perfect JESC entry but I feel like it’s missing something but I can’t think what. Perhaps the chorus is a bit weak. 8/10
Nicolas – Attention! Attention! All flights to Armenia, change destination immediately! Honestly, I wouldn’t mind, if that is the first thing you hear when arriving there. And it’s not just those corny (and very repetitive) lyrics, but the very simple melody in the chorus is quite annoying too. The sad thing is that despite the annoyingness, it is quite effective. Fortunately they decided to throw in a bit of ethno in the middle which redeems the song. A bit, at least; just enough for it to earn 6/10.
Sara – After really loving it during the national final, this song has decreased in my rankings. It’s a typical pop song that really fits the host country. She will be loved by the audience. Her voice is totally average, as well as the song. Something is missing from this song, though; I just can’t put my finger on it. 5/10
Bulgaria – Ivan – Superhero
Juries – 19.5/30, 4 points
Viewer vote – 10th, 1 point
Dara – Superhero comes from one of the strongest national finals of the year, and in this respect, is disappointing. Apparently it’s a modern song, but I don’t see that at all. It seems badly produced though these vague hints of high-end production are more than the rest of the Bulgarian songs could boast of. I don’t like the lyrics to this, they seem a bit arrogant. Lucky I can’t understand them.. anyway the problem with this is it doesn’t start properly until about 2:21 when he finally goes for a big note. This could have been epic but it’s not. Glad to see Bulgaria back though! 6/10
Nicolas – Bulgaria is sending quite a modern song, by (J)ESC standards at least. The melody and the act are both quite strong, though the music could’ve sounded more professional. Also, the song lacks a hook, something to remember it by, especially as it’s quite early in the draw. But that shouldn’t hurt their chances to have a decent result. Ivan should just work a bit on his vocals, but apart from that, I think Superhero deserves 7,5/10.
Sara – Again, another song I started out loving but then it decreased. The music reminds me of Lady Gaga in a way, which is maybe why I really love the background music. Bulgaria really produced a great song. His voice is what makes me not like it much though, it’s not strong. He reminds me of Vlad from last year (average voice, average song, and average kid) which kind of scares me; I don’t want him to win! The song takes awhile to start up; the chorus is what makes the song! But you don’t hear much of it. 6/10
Lithuania – Paulina – Debesys
Juries – 17/30, 2 points
Viewer vote – 11th, 0 points
Dara – So Lithuania completely disregarded how much everyone loved Milita and chose Paulina instead. Someone might want to let them know the idea is to win (that goes for Evelina Sasenko too). Ok putting aside the Milita upset, at first I hated this and thought her vocals were weak. I still think that but it’s a really soothing song and Paulina is really cute. I’m not at all a fan of her backing singers though. Anyway this song is very sweet and definitely a grower. 6/10
Nicolas – Up-tempo, modern dance beats once again! Fabulous song! What? Oh yes, I’m very sorry, I forgot that it’s not Milita representing Lithuania after all *insert sad smiley*. But after the whole drama among the fans, I think most agree that Lithuania managed to send a nice entry after all. It might not be a winner, but it’s definitely a nice, well-brought song. It builds up very nicely and the live backing vocals are a plus too. I’m not too fond of Paulina’s live vocals though and it gets a bit boring after a while too. 7/10.
Sara – Cute girl, cute and simple song, people can easily fall in love with her. Let me start off by saying that her back up singers are totally awesome, they make this song! Her voice is just not that good. The song bores me, but not as much as it used to. It’s really average, but for some reason I see her doing well? 4/10
Ukraine – Kristall – Evropa
Juries – 26/30, 10 points
Viewer vote – 5th, 6 points
Dara – Kristall sings a mix of English and Ukranian and unlike most fans, I don’t mind this at all. The song is still as catchy as it always was, and I love the addition of the backing chant. The main negative here is Kristall’s vocals but I’ve tried singing this song myself and it’s harder than it seems. the big “ooohhhh ohhh ohh” bit is the climax of this song definitely. Best Ukranian entry since Ilona and a nice mix of JESC-style music and modern! 9.5/10
Nicolas – If this were a year without juries, Ukraine would’ve probably won this edition. Unfortunately for Kristall juries have been back for a while now, and this is definitely not what they usually like. Everything about this song is okay (apart from the hideous clothes), but it lacks something special for me. But maybe it’s just me being weird, seeing as quite a lot of people have this as their favourite. 7,5/10.
Sara – Woohoo! This is a great dance song and I totally love it. Kristall has a great voice, but we will see if she can pull it off live. The song is soooo catchy! She can really get the audience involved because the chorus is easily sing-a-long-able! This is another potential winner in my eyes, but we will see what Europe thinks 😉. 9/10
Macedonia – Dorijan – I Swear by this Tailcoat
Juries – 10/30, 0 points
Viewer vote – 4th, 7 points
Dara – After the mega-upbeat Ukraine comes the mega-old fashioned Macedonia. It has a certain charm to it, but it took 3 months and an English version for me to spot it. The backing dancer is not the charming girl Daniel Testa had for Malta in 2008, she is rather too intense for this song, and Dorijan lacks..stage presence. I am really looking forward to this act though, it might save the song and make it quite interesting. And judging by the pictures released of the Armenian stage, it should suit quite well considering the stage looks to be from the same era. Also, coolest title ever. 3/10
Nicolas – Macedonia must’ve thought: “Hey, every country is sending a girl, let’s send a boy, we’ll stand out!” Well done, Macedonia! But the thing is, in all their hurry to send a boy, they forgot that they have to send a song too. Even my synthesizer for children that my mum gave me in 1994 sounds more modern than those cheap trumpets they put in the song. I’d love to say that Dorijan saves the song with his performance, but he just can’t, he doesn’t have any charisma at all. I’ll be generous, to reward Macedonia for trying something ‘different’: 2/10.
Sara – I do not understand why so many people dislike this song! It’s growing on me day by day! Sure, it’s jazz and jazz really does well in JESC so it seems like the easy way out, but I seem to be a fan of the jazz songs. I really love the chorus, and Dorijan’s voice is simple yet really great. The only problem I have with it is the dancer; I don’t like her at all! 5/10
The Netherlands – Rachel – Teenager
Juries – 29.5/30, 12 points
Viewer vote – 1st, 12 points
Dara – Rachel has the stage charm some of the others lack, and a show easily as polished and interesting as Eric Saade’s in the adult ESC. This is the fan favourite for a reason. Catchy, modern song. Rachel has excellent vocals and she hits the big notes with great effect. The props work well and you can’t help but sing along to this song. Hopefully the rest of Europe gets it. The one thing to change, get rid of that hideous giant bow she was wearing.. but it’s the Netherlands so they’ll probably just end up with something worse. I hope being followed by Belarus doesn’t kill her chances. 10/10
Nicolas – I’m not a fan of the Netherlands in JESC at all, but this year they managed to do it right: they’ve got a modern song, a very good singer who is extremely cute on stage, a strong act, without going over the top,… Rachel wins about 15 extra points just with that little laugh in the middle of the song; it must be the cutest moment of this edition. Sadly, I can’t see the Netherlands winning it again. 9,5/10
Sara – Another awesome, upbeat song from the Netherlands! She clearly was the best in the national final, and what an amazing live voice she has! I really hope Europe sees the potential in Rachel and this song. The chorus is again, catchy catchy catchy! If you ddn’t notice, I like catchy songs. 😛 If she keeps the act the same I see her doing pretty well unless Europe is dumb! One of my favorites! Go Netherlands, it’s your time to shine! 😉 10/10
Belarus – Lidia – Angely Dobra
Juries – 12/30, 0 points
Viewer vote – 12th, 0 points
Dara – Following the most catchy song of the year is the most boring song of the year. This is going to be seen as “touching” at JESC, the juries are going to love it and it’s guaranteed top 5. But I think it’s absolutely boring, the singers vocals aren’t great and such a typical ballad. This song doesn’t touch me at all but I can spot how effective it’s going to seem on JESC night. I do like the idea for the backings costumes. And at least the song has a climax unlike Russia and Latvia 2/10
Nicolas – Belarus is sending what probably is the classiest song/act of the year. Lidiya looks gorgeous on stage, expressive and tender, fragile but professional. It’s a strong ballad without being forgettable and the living statues next to her add to that too. Personally, I think Lidiya(‘s team) watched Mika Newton’s performance in ESC 2011 and will try to get a similar (or better) result. And if all goes well, I really think they’ll succeed in doing that. Because of being too cliché, I’ll only give it 9/10.
Sara – I liked this song when I first heard it, now I look back and say…what was I thinking?! This is awful. I’m ready to fall asleep the second it starts. Okay, fine, the chorus is okay, but seriously, totally boring! Her voice isn’t even that great, is it? But it’s Belarus. They will do well -.- 1/10
Sweden – Erik – Faller
Juries – 22/30, 6 points
Viewer vote – 8th, 3 points
Dara – here we have a well produced, modern song. We haven’t heard Erik sing live but I have strong doubts it will sound as good live. “Faller” is slightly catchy but I find it lacking something like Russia. 7/10
Nicolas – Sweden is finally changing strategy. No more girls with (semi-)ballads, but a contemporary song sung by a boy. And it’s quite catchy too. I just fear the song might be a bit too high-pitched for him, as he seems to struggle at times even in the studio version. And boy voices can change quite quickly at that age. This is one of the two songs (along with Latvia) of which we have no idea how it’ll look on stage, but let’s hope that Sweden will finally take the step and use dancers on stage again. If you really don’t want to accept that Russia or Belarus will win, this is your best hope I think. 8/10
Sara – Another pop song from Sweden, and they sent a boy?! Wow, surprising. I’m guessing they are trying to pull an Eric Saade with him? I really enjoy this song; it’s totally a song I would listen to on the radio or on my iPod or something. It’s very professional; we will see how he sounds live and how his act is. Good luck Sweden! 7/10
Georgia – Candy Music – Candy
Juries – 21.5/30, 5 points
Viewer vote – 7th, 4 points
Dara – Candy Music, a group, I miss groups in JESC! A new costume for every day, and they seem to speak about 10 languages, Candy are the life of JESC week! This song is half catchy-half lacking, I can’t decide. I love the high-pitched Candy Music bits, and the big note Ana? does at the end. I’d say one of the weaker Georgian entries though.. but their other “weakest” won JESC so.. we’ll see. 6.5/10
Nicolas – Once again Georgia is sending an amazing song with perfect production. The CANDY girls look cute (I hope they’ll perform in the latest outfit, the pink one) and their voices are fantastic. Also, a song about chocolate, what could go wrong? But honestly, I don’t think this will be our winner this Saturday; it’s all a bit too retro and groups generally don’t do so well. I do hope I’m wrong though. By the way, this song has the best keychange I’ve heard in years! Also, could someone slip some Prozac in the drink of the girl on the far left? For some reason she always looks like she just can’t be bothered. Anyway, this song definitely deserves 10/10.
Sara – This song pretty much annoyed me after awhile. These girls are very talented, but the disco theme is not working with me. I really don’t want them to wear those awful outfits and wigs, please make them wear the pink ones! Haha. But setting the annoyingness aside, this song really suits the JESC kids theme! I really think little kids would love them, I mean, it’s about candy..what kid doesn’t like candy?! It’s just not my style. 5/10
Belgium – Femke – Een kusje meer
Juries – 16/30, 1 point
Viewer vote – 2nd, 10 points
Dara – “one more kiss”, is she not too young for this topic? Putting that aside, love the costumes, love the whole style of the performance. I just don’t love the song. It’s lacking, it’s meant to be catchy but it’s not, it’s saved only by Femke’s cuteness when saying een kusje meer. Constant listening of ketnet radio has made me like this a lot more than I did before however, and I can see her potentially winning. She was the best choice Belgium could have made results-wise but.. I keep wishing it had been Ymke with Viva la fete instead. 6/10
Nicolas – As a proud Belgian, it’s hard not to like our own songs. But I have to admit that Femke is very successful in making that possible. Both the cheesy lyrics about a first kiss and the repetitive music annoy me quite a lot. She’s a good performer though and I’m sure she’ll manage to enchant many young kids all over Europe with her cute look. I don’t think it will be enough to top Laura’s result in 2009 though. In any case, if it depends on the song, she could very well wait quite a while for her first actual kiss. 3/10. And I’m being quite kind.
Sara – Okay, so I know Femke is really popular and all but I don’t see it. She’s cute, sure, but the song? It’s okay alone and that is why she NEEDS an act to go along with it; the dancers, the outfits, the props and the whole shebang otherwise it’s not good. I definitely hear the 50s theme she’s getting to, poodle skirts, diners, etc…it’s a nice idea for JESC but if she gets any higher than 4th I think I will flip out and will not forgive her for beating Laura’s (2009) record, just kidding. 😛 7/10
12 points to Netherlands
10 points to Ukraine
8 points to Russia
7 points to Belgium
6 points to Moldova
5 points to Sweden
4 points to Georgia
3 points to Armenia
2 points to Macedonia
1 point to Bulgaria
With thanks to Marjolein for the banner, Annika for the graphics, Sara & Nicolas for the reviews!