Junior Eurovision Song Contest

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Junior Eurovision Song Contest
Junior Eurovision generic logo 2023.svg
Also known asJunior Eurovision
Junior ESC
GenreSong contest
Created byBjørn Erichsen [da]
Based onMGP Nordic
by Danmarks Radio
Presented byVarious presenters
Country of originDenmark
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes20 contests
Production locationsVarious host cities
Running time1 hour, 45 minutes (2003)
2 hours (2009–2013, 2020)
2 hours, 15 minutes (2004–2008, 2017)
2 hours, 30 minutes (2014–2016, 2018–2019, 2022)
2 hours and 40 minutes (2021)
Production companyEuropean Broadcasting Union
Picture formatPAL (2003–2008)
HDTV 1080i (2008–present)
Original release15 November 2003; 19 years ago (2003-11-15) –

The Junior Eurovision Song Contest (often shortened to JESC, Junior Eurovision or Junior EuroSong) is an international song competition which has been organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) annually since 2003.

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 9 to 14 on the day of the contest, and an original song lasting three minutes at most to compete against the other participating entries.[1] Each entry represents the country served by the participating broadcaster. Viewers from all around the world are invited to vote for their favourite performances by online voting,[1] and a national jury from each participating country also vote.[2] The overall winner of the contest is the entry that receives the most points after the scores from every country have been collected and totalled. The most recent winner is Lissandro of France, who won the 2022 contest in Yerevan, Armenia, with his song "Oh maman!".

In addition to the countries taking part, the 2003 contest was also broadcast in Estonia, Finland and Germany (who would not debut until the 2020 contest),[3] Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2004 and from 2006 to 2011, followed by Andorra in 2006, and Iceland in 2021, 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.[4] Australia was invited to participate in the 2015 contest, while Kazakhstan was invited in the 2018 contest, making it the only major Eurovision event to feature multiple associate member broadcasters.

Origins and history[edit]

Forum in Copenhagen, Denmark hosted the inaugural edition of the contest in 2003.

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.[5][6] The idea was extended to a Scandinavian song festival in 2002, MGP Nordic, with Denmark, Norway and Sweden as participants.[7][8] In 2001 and 2002, Polish broadcaster Telewizja Polska (TVP) hosted two pilot editions of an international song contest for children in Konin with the name Eurokonkurs (English: Eurocontest) in 2001 and Światowy Konkurs Piosenki (English: World Song Contest) in 2002 but the whole project was called Eurokonkurs.[9][10] TVP went on to hold further editions in Konin between 2003 and 2006, some time of which after Poland's initial withdrawal from Junior Eurovision Song Contest. In 2006, Eurokonkurs returned as Światowe Talenty (English: World Talents) and was hosted by Dominika Rydz and Weronika Bochat, who represented Poland in Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2004 as part of girl group KWADro.[11]

In November 2002, the EBU picked up the idea for a song contest featuring children and opened the competition to all member broadcasters making it a pan-European event. The working title of the programme was "Eurovision Song Contest for Children",[12] branded with the name of the EBU's long-running and already popular song competition, the Eurovision Song Contest. Denmark was asked to host the first edition after experience with MGP Nordic in that country.[13]

After a successful first contest in Copenhagen, the second faced several location problems. The event originally should have been organised by British broadcaster ITV in Manchester.[14] ITV then announced that due to financial and scheduling reasons, the contest would not take place in the United Kingdom.[15] It is also thought that another factor to their decision was the previous year's audience ratings for ITV which were below the expected amount.[16] The EBU approached Croatian broadcaster HRT, who had won the previous contest, to stage the event in Zagreb,[17] though it later emerged that HRT had 'forgotten' to book the venue in which the contest would have taken place.[18] 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.[18]

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.[19]

All contests have been broadcast in 16:9 widescreen and in high definition.[3] 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.[20]

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.[21] Between 2006 and 2010 the televoting lines were open throughout the programme.[22] Since 2011 viewers vote after all the songs had been performed.[23] Profits made from the televoting during the 2007 and 2008 contests were donated to UNICEF.[24][25]

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.[26]

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.[27] It was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival 2008[28] and was premiered in Ghent, Belgium[29] and Limassol, Cyprus[30] where the 2008 contest was held.

The 2022 Junior Eurovision Song Contest, hosted by Armenia, was broadcast in the United Kingdom on CBBC. This marked the first time CBBC has joined the Eurovision network for a telecast of an EBU event.


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".[31]

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 was always screened on a Saturday night in late November/early December and lasts approximately two hours fifteen minutes.[31] Since 2016, the contest is screened on an early Sunday evening.

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 per cent of the points awarded by each country.[32] 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.[33] 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.[34]

Originally, unlike its adult version, the winning country did not receive the rights to host the next contest. From 2014 until 2017, the winning country had first refusal on hosting the following contest. Italy used this clause in 2015 to decline hosting the contest that year after their victory in 2014. On 15 October 2017, the EBU announced a return to the original system in 2018, claiming that it would help provide broadcasters with a greater amount of time to prepare, ensuring the continuation of the contest into the future.[35] However, from 2019 onwards all contests have been hosted by the previous year's winning country.

The contest usually features two presenters, one man and one woman,[36][37] 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. Between 2003 and 2012, the spokespersons gave out the points in the same format as the adult contest, behind a backdrop of a major city of that country in the national broadcaster's television studio. From 2013 onwards, the spokespersons give the points from their country on the arena stage, as opposed to the adult contest where spokespersons are broadcast live from their respective country (with the exception of 2020, due to travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic).[38]

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, each country's entry must be selected through a televised national final (unless circumstances prevent this and permission is gained from the EBU).[39] 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,[38] however, no entry has ever received nul points in total scoring.

Entry restrictions[edit]

Vladimir Arzumanyan representing Armenia, who won the 2010 contest with the song "Mama"

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. This rule was later changed so that up to 25% of a song could be in a different language, usually English. This rule was changed again in 2017, now allowing up to 40% to be in English.[40]

Originally the competition was open to children between the ages of 8 and 15,[21] however in 2007 the age range was narrowed so that only children aged 10 to 15 on the day of the contest were allowed to enter.[31] In 2016 the age range was changed again. From now on children aged 9 to 14 on the day of the contest are allowed to enter.

The song submitted into the contest cannot have previously been released commercially and must last 3 minutes at most.[1] The rule stating that performers also must not have previously released music commercially was active from 2003 to 2006.[39] 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.[41]

Since 2008, adults have been allowed to assist in the writing of entries.[41] Previously, all writers had to be aged 10 to 15.


Sietse Bakker (center), executive supervisor from 2011 to 2012
Vladislav Yakovlev, executive supervisor from 2013 to 2015

The contest is produced each year by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). The original executive supervisor of the contest was Svante Stockselius who also headed 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.[42] In 2013, Vladislav Yakovlev took over the position.[43] Yakovlev was dismissed without any clear reason after three contests, and was replaced by Jon Ola Sand, who had been Executive Supervisor for the Eurovision Song Contest since 2011.[44] On 30 September 2019, Sand announced his intention to step down as Executive Supervisor and Head of Live Events after the Eurovision Song Contest 2020, which was later cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[45] Martin Österdahl was named his successor, starting with the 2020 contest.[46]

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 table below lists all Executive Supervisors of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest since the first edition (2003):

Country Name Year(s)
 Sweden Svante Stockselius 2003–2010
 Netherlands Sietse Bakker 2011–2012
 Russia Vladislav Yakovlev 2013–2015
 Norway Jon Ola Sand 2016–2019
 Sweden Martin Österdahl 2020–present

Junior Eurovision logo and theme[edit]

The 'singing girl' who formed part of the contest logo between 2003 and 2007.[47]
The Junior Eurovision Song Contest logo used between 2008 and 2014.

The former generic logo was introduced for the 2008 contest in Limassol,[47] to create a consistent visual identity. Each year of the contest, the host country creates a sub-theme which is usually accompanied and expressed with a sub-logo and slogan. The theme and slogan are announced by the EBU and the host country's national broadcaster.

The Junior Eurovision Song Contest logo used between 2015 and 2022.

The generic logo was revamped in March 2015, seven years after the first generic logo was created.[48] The logo was used for the first time in the 2015 contest in Sofia.

The generic logo was again updated after Nice was revealed as the host city for the 2023 contest, where the "heart flag" symbol of the adult Eurovision Song Contest is featured.[49] It is set to be used for the first time in the 2023 contest.


Each contest since 2005 has had a slogan, chosen by the host broadcaster. Based on the slogan, the theme and the visual design are developed.

Year Host country Host city Slogan
2005  Belgium Hasselt Let's Get Loud
2006  Romania Bucharest Let the Music Play
2007  Netherlands Rotterdam Make a Big Splash
2008  Cyprus Limassol Fun in the Sun
2009  Ukraine Kyiv For the Joy of People
2010  Belarus Minsk Feel the Magic
2011  Armenia Yerevan Reach for the Top!
2012  Netherlands Amsterdam Break the Ice
2013  Ukraine Kyiv Be Creative
2014  Malta Marsa[50] #Together
2015  Bulgaria Sofia #Discover
2016  Malta Valletta Embrace
2017  Georgia Tbilisi Shine Bright
2018  Belarus Minsk #LightUp
2019  Poland Gliwice Share the Joy
2020  Poland Warsaw #MoveTheWorld
2021  France Paris Imagine
2022  Armenia Yerevan Spin the Magic
2023  France Nice Heroes


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[a]

All active member broadcasters of the EBU are permitted to take part in the contest,[2] though the contest has been broadcast in several non-participating countries.[14][51]

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,[52][53] and revived the MGP Nordic competition, which had not been produced since the Junior Eurovision Song Contest began. The Netherlands is the only country to have taken part every year since the first contest in 2003.

40 countries have competed at least once. 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
2003  Belarus
 North Macedonia[b]
 United Kingdom
Year Country making its debut entry
2004  France
2005  Russia
 Serbia and Montenegro[c]
2006  Portugal
2007  Armenia
2010  Moldova
2012  Albania
2013  San Marino
Year Country making its debut entry
2014  Italy
2015  Australia[e]
2018  Kazakhstan[e]
2020  Germany
  1. ^ Kosovo has never participated in the contest. However, in the competition period 2005–2007, Kosovo was a province of Serbia, which itself was a constituent republic of participating country Serbia and Montenegro at the time of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2005.
  2. ^ Before the Prespa agreement in 2018 presented as Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
  3. ^ Serbia and Montenegro only participated once in 2005 and in the following year, the federation between the two countries was dissolved. Thus, Serbia continued to participate independently from 2006 and Montenegro was given the option to participate that year, which did not happen. Montenegro participated for the first time in 2014.
  4. ^ a b Participated as part of Serbia and Montenegro in 2005.
  5. ^ a b Not a member of the EBU, but participates by special invitation.
  6. ^ Participated as part of the United Kingdom between 2003 and 2005 and in 2022.

Winning entries[edit]

Overall, twelve countries have won the contest since the inaugural edition in 2003. Five have won the contest once: Croatia, Italy, Spain, Ukraine, and the Netherlands. Six have won the contest twice: Armenia, Belarus, France, Malta, Poland (the first, and so far only, country to win back to back) and Russia; while Georgia is the only country to have won three times. Both Croatia and Italy achieved their wins on their debut participation in the contest.

Year Date Host city Entries Winner Song Performer Points Margin
2003 15 November Denmark Copenhagen[54] 16  Croatia "Ti si moja prva ljubav" Dino Jelusić 134 9
2004 20 November Norway Lillehammer[55] 18  Spain "Antes muerta que sencilla" María Isabel 171 31
2005 26 November Belgium Hasselt[56] 16 Belarus "My vmeste" (Мы вместе) Ksenia Sitnik 149 3
2006 2 December Romania Bucharest[57] 15  Russia "Vesenniy jazz" (Весенний джаз) Tolmachevy Sisters 154 25
2007 8 December Netherlands Rotterdam[58] 17 Belarus "S druz'yami" (С друзьями) Alexey Zhigalkovich 137 1
2008 22 November Cyprus Limassol[33] 15  Georgia "Bzz.." Bzikebi 154 19
2009 21 November Ukraine Kyiv[59] 13  Netherlands "Click Clack" Ralf Mackenbach 121 5
2010 20 November Belarus Minsk[60] 14  Armenia "Mama" (Մամա) Vladimir Arzumanyan 120 1
2011 3 December Armenia Yerevan[61] 13  Georgia "Candy Music" CANDY 108 5
2012 1 December Netherlands Amsterdam[62] 12  Ukraine "Nebo" (Небо) Anastasiya Petryk 138 35
2013 30 November Ukraine Kyiv[63] 12  Malta "The Start" Gaia Cauchi 130 9
2014 15 November Malta Marsa[50] 16  Italy "Tu primo grande amore" Vincenzo Cantiello 159 12
2015 21 November Bulgaria Sofia[64] 17  Malta "Not My Soul" Destiny Chukunyere 185 9
2016 20 November Malta Valletta[65] 17  Georgia "Mzeo" (მზეო) Mariam Mamadashvili 239 7
2017 26 November Georgia (country) Tbilisi[66] 16  Russia "Wings" Polina Bogusevich 188 3
2018 25 November Belarus Minsk[67] 20  Poland "Anyone I Want to Be" Roksana Węgiel 215 12
2019 24 November Poland Gliwice[68] 19  Poland "Superhero" Viki Gabor 278 51
2020 29 November Poland Warsaw 12  France "J'imagine" Valentina 200 48
2021 19 December France Paris 19  Armenia "Qami Qami" (Քամի Քամի) Maléna 224 6
2022 11 December Armenia Yerevan 16  France "Oh maman!" Lissandro 203 23

Interval acts and guest appearances[edit]

Emmelie de Forest at a JESC press conference in Kyiv, Ukraine (2013)
Jedward on stage performing "Hologram" during the interval in 2016

The tradition of interval acts between the songs in the competition programme and the announcement of the voting has been established since the inaugural contest in 2003. Interval entertainment has included such acts as girl group Sugababes and rock band Busted (2003),[69] Westlife in 2004, juggler Vladik Myagkostupov from the world-renowned Cirque du Soleil (2005)[70] and singer Katie Melua in 2007.[71]

Former Eurovision Song Contest participants and winners have also performed as interval acts, such as Dima Bilan and Evridiki in 2008, Ani Lorak (2009), Alexander Rybak in 2010 and Sirusho (2011). Emmelie de Forest and the co-host that year, Zlata Ognevich, performed in 2013. 2015 host Poli Genova and Jedward were two of the interval acts in 2016.[72][73] 2019 winner Duncan Laurence and the intended 2020 Polish entrant Alicja Szemplińska performed as interval acts in the 2020 contest. 2021 runner-up Barbara Pravi performed as an interval act in the 2021 edition. 2022 Armenian entrant Rosa Linn performed as an interval act in the 2022 edition.[74]

The winners of Junior Eurovision from 2003 to 2009 performed a medley of their entries together on stage during the 2010 interval.[75] As part of the 2022 interval, eleven previous winners performed in a medley of all the winning songs to date, for the occasion of the 20th edition of the event. The other eight winning songs were performed by the Tavush Diocese Children’s Choir.[76]

The previous winner has performed on a number of occasions since 2005, and from 2013 all participants have performed a "common song" together on stage during the interval. Similar performances took place in 2007 and 2010 with the specially-commissioned UNICEF songs "One World"[77] and "A Day Without War" respectively, the latter with Dmitry Koldun.[78] The official charity song for the 2012 contest was "We Can Be Heroes", the money from the sales of which went to the Dutch children's charity KidsRights Foundation.[79]

The 2008 event in Limassol, Cyprus finished with the presenters inviting everyone on stage to sing "Hand in Hand", which was written especially for UNICEF and the Junior Eurovision Song Contest that year.[80][81]

Ruslana was invited to perform at the 2013 contest, which took place in her country's capital Kyiv.[82] Nevertheless, on the day of the contest she withdrew her act from the show, due to the violence shown by the Ukrainian authorities against the Euromaidan protesters.[83]

Since 2004 (with the exceptions of 2012, 2014 and 2017), the opening of the show has included a "Parade of Nations" or the "Flag Parade", similar to the Olympic Games opening ceremony. The parade was adopted by the Eurovision Song Contest in 2013 and has continued every year since.

Eurovision Song Contest[edit]

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 at the adult contest the following year.

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
2019 Competed with "Kruna" which placed eighteenth in the 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 Manucharova 2008 2016 Backing vocalist for Iveta Mukuchyan
2018 Backing vocalist for Sevak Khanagyan
Netherlands OG3NE3 2007 2017 Competed with "Lights and Shadows" which placed eleventh in the final
Lithuania Ieva Zasimauskaitė4 2018 Competed with "When We're Old" which placed twelfth in the final
Malta Destiny Chukunyere 2015 2019 Backing vocalist for Michela
2020 Was due to compete with "All of My Love"; contest cancelled
2021 Competed with "Je me casse" which placed seventh in the final
Netherlands Stefania Liberakakis5 2016 2020 Was due to represent Greece with "Supergirl"; contest cancelled
2021 Represented Greece with "Last Dance" which placed tenth in the final
Georgia Iru Khechanovi6 2011 2023 Competed with "Echo" which placed twelfth in the second semi-final
1.^ As a member of KWADro
2.^ As a member of The Peppermints
3.^ As Lisa, Amy and Shelley
4.^ As a backing vocalist for Lina Joy
5.^ As a member of Kisses
6.^ As a member of Candy

See also[edit]


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  6. ^ "IMDB: de unges melodi grand prix 2001". IMDb. 1 May 2001. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
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