Some parts of this article contain opinions that do not represent the other ESCUnited team members or the website as a whole.

It’s November, often quite a quiet month in terms of adult Eurovision, but tomorrow, the Junior Eurovision Song Contest takes place. Twenty countries have gathered in Minsk, Belarus to showcase their talent and eventually one will head home victorious! Here is the official recap so you can refresh your memory of the songs!

Our chief-editor Matt has already reacted to the songs, and you can see what he thinks of them in the video below:

Now to the reviews! Six members of our team have come together to discuss the songs, and in this article we will go through the first seven songs. The further thirteen songs will come in parts two and three. Let’s get started!

 

01 Ukraine – Darina Krasnovetska – Say Love

Darina is an 11-year-old from Vinnytsia in Ukraine. She won her place at Junior Eurovision through a national final with her song “Say Love” on 10th September. Her entry was written and composed by Darina herself, Mykhaylo Klymenko and Volodymyr Sharykov. This is what our team thinks of Ukraine’s song this year:

 

Connor: This is a country that knows what they’re doing in the adult contest, so I’m not shocked they have an entry that’s in contention to win. They managed to take the theme “War not Peace” and put it in a really cool (non-ballad) way. I wish them the best! 9/10

James: Assuming her performance on the night goes to plan, Darina Krasnovetska should score highly in vocal capacity and stage performance, but she is let down by a song that reins her in. Her voice is a 426 HEMI V8 engine, and the song is a Fiat Punto. – 6/10

Jordan: I love her energy. She has a lot of charisma and seems to be comfortable on stage. However, my one concern is that with the megaphone sometimes she can come across as shouty. I think this will be a good opener to the show, but I don’t really see it challenging for the top spot. 7/10

Stefan: The girl can sing, so I don’t get it why is she looking so frightened. Another thing I don’t like is using a kid to do political propaganda. Really Ukraine, still playing that card? 3/10

Sean: You can always rely on Ukraine to bring a quality pop song to whichever contest they are in! There’s a good attitude to this song and could go very far in the competition! 8/10

Zack: Did not put a toot in my horn, but she is a firecracker! 5/10

 

Average Score: 6.33/10

 

02 Portugal – Rita Laranjeira – Gosto de Tudo (Ja Nao Gosto de Nada)

Rita is a 13-year-old from Sintra in Portugal. She was selected internally on 28th September this year and her song “Gosto de Tudo (Ja Nao Gosto de Nada)” was subsequently released on 17th October. Joao So (Rita’s dad!) was fully responsible for the writing and composing of the entry. This is what our team had to say about Portugal:

 

Connor: This song had potential, but the track has killed all of it. It sounds like they just took a track from a demo and put Rita’s voice on top of it. Needs a lot of work. 2/10

James: Was this written by Rita’s Dad? This comes off as more out of touch than Ralph Siegel’s take on social media with Valentina Monetta’s “Social Network Song”, and just as annoying. Rita’s a pleasant enough voice and personality, but the material is cringeworthy. 2/10

Jordan: I’m not going to beat around the bush here, I really struggle to remember this song. It just passes me by. There is nothing about the song that is truly memorable for me personally. She has a lovely voice but that can only take you so far… 5/10

Stefan: I love the Portuguese language and this girl is serving such charisma that you couldn’t love her song. After last years attempt, this is really amazing and she is also working that stage. Thumbs up! 7/10

Sean: Didn’t Portugal go with the social media theme last year? It’s a jolly song and she’s having fun with it but it’s too basic for me and there’s nothing interesting I can sink my musical teeth into. 4/10

Zack: 90’s b-side; I just can’t. 2/10

 

Average Score: 3.67/10

 

03 Kazakhstan – Daneliya Tuleshova – Ozine Sen

Daneliya is a 12-year-old from from Almaty in Kazakhstan. She won her place in Minsk this year through a national final by winning the televote convincingly and coming second on the jury vote. Her song was composed by Ivan Lopukhov and written by Artem Kuzmenkov, Kamila Dairova and Daneliya herself. This is what our team had to say about Kazakhstan’s first ever entry in Junior Eurovision:

 

Connor: Another solid debut entry! Arguably the best voice in the competition, and my personal winner. I think, if she can pull off the magic she had in the national selection, then we might have a first time win from Kazakhstan! 10/10

James: Now this is a debut! Great singer, and the song is a great showcase for her voice. Plenty of opportunities for vocal missteps on the night though, and a couple of wonky English pronunciations, but Daneliya Tuleshova should crush it. 9/10

Jordan: Oh my god… I’m in love with this. I’m not normally one for the big female ballads but this one got me. Everything about it from the voice to the aesthetic and the singer – how can this little girl belt out notes like that?! Everything about this entry is superb. What a debut for Kazakhstan! – 9/10

Stefan: IMO the best voice and song this year. She did make me a bit afraid after their national final (which was in a bigger arena than next years ESC), but this performance is just amazing. 10/10

Sean: It’s fantastic to see Kazakhstan in a Eurovision event and hear the Kazakh language, and Khabar Agency have offered up a suitably dramatic composition for us on their debut. The orchestral arrangement and strong vocals really set this apart from the other ballads in this contest. 8/10

Zack: I didn’t expect to like this as much as I did, but with it going 3rd, I don’t see it winning – 8/10

 

Average: 9/10

 

04 Albania – Efi Gjika – Barbie

Efi is 10 and won her place at Junior Eurovision by winning Junior Fest 2018. Where ironically, she performed fourth, which is the same position she will have in Minsk. No information has been given about who composed or wrote the song, but we are sure Efi had a good team with her. This is what our team thinks of the Albanian entry:

 

Connor: Okay I should find this annoying and boring, but this is JESC, and so this is actually fun. Sure it’s not something I’ll listen to after the contest, but Efi is living her best Barbie life. Could go well at the contest! 6/10

James: Is this the kids bop version of “Toy”? Despite the positive message, it’s a bit flat. And did I miss a Eurovision memo that said corporate references could now be allowed? 4/10

Jordan: She is really cute, and I love her sassy attitude. However, this genre of music just doesn’t appeal to me in any way shape or form. I can see its merits, but this song doesn’t appeal to me. Sorry! 3/10

Stefan: That costume is really not doing her a favor. She also looks like the song is too hard for her. I’m lacking of a better performance even with a costume that is over the top and a bit too a la Barbara Dex. 3/10

Sean: This sounds almost PC Music-like in its style, a bit of bubblegum pop, a lot of happiness and a dash of infectious quality. Would not have expected such a song from Albania but this is the kind of song we should have. It’s fun even if it’s not a masterpiece! 7/10

Zack: I will have said this many times (and you will see deja vu from my comments), but a lot of these acts seem to either try too hard to sound too adult or try too hard to sound tweeny/kiddy and it comes off a bit fake and posed; this is one of the many songs that just tries too hard and I don’t get much out of it 5/10

 

Average Score: 4.67/10

 

05 Russia – Anna Filipchuk – Unbreakable

14-year-old Anna Filipchuk won her place at Junior Eurovision by winning her national final. She was the narrow victor winning 9.91% of the vote with second place right on her heels getting 9.80%. Her song “Unbreakable” was written by Taras Demchuk and after winning last year we are sure Russia are desperate for a similar result this time around. This is what our team thinks of their entry:

 

Connor: It’s a pretty good song, and I’ve actually listened to it quite a bit. I have faith that Anna will make a good effort live, but this might finish in the middle of the contest. But hey maybe I’ll be wrong! 6/10

James: Very jarring when Anna Filipchuk breaks from her native Russian. The video is a rip-off of Avril Lavigne’s “Smile” with the broken star replacing a broken heart. So it’s basically a kids dance version of “Smile,” and it is as bad as that description makes it out to be. 3/10

Jordan: I’m quite neutral towards Russia this year if I’m being completely honest. I don’t dislike it, but there is nothing here that is making me love it either. I love her voice, and the message of the song is empowering but there is nothing about this entry that lingers in my mind. I don’t think it will be two wins on the bounce for Russia. 6/10

Stefan: Teen pop song. A bit better than average, no more no less. I like the bandish like performance, but it’s nowhere near their last year’s entry. 7/10

Sean: The second half of the chorus is much stronger with this one than the rest of the song but it’s a powerful pop song for JESC. Good job Russia. 7/10

Zack: I will have said this many times (and you will see deja vu from my comments), but a lot of these acts seem to either try too hard to sound too adult or try too hard to sound tweeny/kiddy and it comes off a bit fake and posed; this is one of the many songs that just tries too hard and I don’t get much out of it – 6/10

 

Average Score: 5.83/10

 

06 Netherlands – Max & Anne – Samen

Max & Anne are both 14 and are from Houten and Voorschoten respectively. They won Junior Songfestival 2018 earning an almost perfect 34 points, winning both the kids jury vote and the televote. Their song “Samen” was written by Babette Labeij, Dimitri Veltkamp and Robin van Veen. This is what our team thinks of their entry:

 

Connor: Another one that I feel I shouldn’t like, but they have great voices. And their song is really written well. Plus everyone loves friendship! 7/10

James: Not the best singers, and they will be crushed by the Eastern contingent in the vocal capacity department on the night. They’re banking on sentimentality, which this song and video and ill-fitting interpretive dance number deliver in spades. 4/10

Jordan: This is just adorable. The pair have chemistry and can sing live. It is a bit cheesy, but that doesn’t really matter in Junior Eurovision. It’s lovely and will touch people and that’s all that matters really. I like it. 8/10

Stefan: Out of the two duets, they have better chemistry, but I don’t like the song. They could’ve done better. I was expecting more from the Netherlands. 4/10

Sean: Not really anything to pique my interest with this one, just another pleasant yet generic pop song this year. 3/10

Zack: The best part of the music video is the little girls crying because they are so happy their boy won! Or is it that they are sad that their favourite lost? 4/10

 

Average: 5/10

 

07 Azerbaijan – Fidan Huseynova – I Wanna Be Like You

Fidan Huseynova is 12 and was born in Moscow. She was internally selected to represent Azerbaijan, and on 16th October her song “I Wanna Be Like You” was released. The song was written by Ayten Ismikhanova, Elvira Michieva and Isa Melikhov. This is Azerbaijan’s first entry in the contest since 2013, so they will want a good result on their return. This is what our team thinks of their entry:

 

Connor: Cute cute cute. They couldn’t have done it better in my opinion, and the revamp has really elevated the entry. I think this is going to go over well on Sunday. 6/10

James: Possibly the most kid sounding without sounding forced, Fidan Huseynova delivers an early ‘90s ballad with earnestness and possibly the second-best non-native English of the bunch. She hits the high notes on the bridge quite well, and this may be the surprise of the evening. 8/10

Jordan: Fidan is adorable and she certainly has charisma and star quality, however to my ears the song doesn’t really feel complete. It feels like it’s been sloppily produced and feels more like a demo version than a complete one. It’s not really Fidan’s fault but that is why this track leaves me cold. 4/10

Stefan: If you haven’t seen her singing Je suis malade with Lara Fabian, do it now. Then you will ask yourself why this girl didn’t have a powerful ballad. That’s why I’m giving it a “only” a 7/10. I kinda like the song. 😀 7/10

Sean: It’s just a very basic song for me, with schmaltzy lyrics (the ones I can understand at least) and not much more. It’s nice to hear Azeri; it’s a shame the broadcaster doesn’t use it more often as it sounds interesting… 2/10

Zack: I expected a lot more from the land of fire. 4/10

 

Average Score: 5.17/10

 

So, that is what we thought of the first seven entries. Here is how the current leaderboard is shaping up:

 

  1. 03 Kazakhstan – Danileya Tuleshova – Ozine Sen – 9/10
  2. 01 Ukraine – Darina Krasnovetska – Say Love – 6.33/10
  3. 05 Russia – Anna Filipchuk – Unbreakable – 5.83/10
  4. 07 Azerbaijan – Fidan Huseynova – I Wanna Be Like You – 5.17/10
  5. 06 Netherlands – Max & Anne – Samen – 5/10
  6. 04 Albania – Efi Gjika – Barbie – 4.67/10
  7. 02 Portugal – Rita Laranjeira – Gosto de Tudo – 3.67/10

 

So, that is what our team thinks. What do #YOU think? Do you agree with us? Who is your favourite from this first batch? Let us know by commenting below or getting in touch on our forums or on Social media. Also don’t forget to check out part two and three to find out who our favourite for Junior Eurovision 2018 is! 

Image courtesy of junioreurovision.tv

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