So Mister Phil has not only got his show tickets for Junior Eurovision but he has done some pithy reviews as well. Before some of you start, it’s still a competition that people get to vote on at the end and, just because they are kids, it doesn’t mean they are all good so, with his analytical head on, here goes with the first half of the playlist
Albania – Kejtlin Gjata – Pakez Diell
This is seemingly a typical Albanian by numbers ballad with a strong voice seemingly singing a song that doesn’t develop musically. There is going to have to be one hell of a performance or staging concept to get this one anywhere near the top. It just passes me by which I guess isn’t what that Albanians were looking for. I find myself skipping to find an interesting bit but spoiler alert, there isn’t one – there isn’t even a high note to pique my interest. Totally bang average. 4/10
France – Lissandro – Oh Maman!
This is, weirdly, more like it. It does have way too many words for my adult ears but it makes me smile and I don’t quite know why. This has way more energy than Albania and could well be staged really well. Lissandro looks like he has more to give from the preview video and this lends itself to a cracking stage show. By the end of the song I’m pointing at the screen and going “ yeah – that” – I like that one a lot. 7/10
Mariam – I Believe – Georgia.
From a song that made me fall in love with it inside 20 seconds to a song that has a distinctly different feel. Mariam is singing an earnest song that is seemingly too old for her and the video is less fun and considerably more serious. It does have a good tune though and the mix of languages is not forced upon the listener. If this was in the adult contest I would describe it as a serious song and I worry if for a childrens song contest it’s too much of a project being sung really well by a kid. 5/10
Ireland – Sophie Lennon – Solas
TG4 have taken us back to Ireland’s celtic roots with this one with Sophie being dressed like a female braveheart in the preview video and looking not unlike Bonnie Langford. This is going to be a difficult song for kids to evaluate. It’s telling a story and a complex one at that but I fear, just like Georgia, that it is going to be too complex for the kids of Europe to get. They are just not going to be entertained or enthused enough though. “The gold ring that was taken aglow, so that it can be recovered” – I get she’s talking about the sun but it’s surely too high concept to get loads of votes and that is a shame. 4/10
Chanel Dilecta – Italy – Bla Bla Bla
I’m predisposed to hate anyone called Chanel but this one is a kid so I have to be open minded. She reminds me, vocally, of a young Sophie Ellis Bextor and I can hear elements of her songs in this one. The English in this one helps you understand that shes singing about people talking and not acting. It certainly engages me by the time I get past the first verse and it grows really nicely and because of the title it meant that you would need a good song to cut through the “oh it’s a kids song” – this isn’t. It’s a song sung by a young adult really nicely and with a good stage show could lift this up. After 5 songs, I’d clearly have this in 2nd place. 6/10
David Charlin – Kazakhstan – Mother Earth.
And so we come to our requisite lets save the world song. Kazakhstan get this contest and I don’t need to know any Kazakh because this song relies on the strong visuals of the video to get the message across to the rest of us. It certainly won’t need to rely on David’s vocals because he seems very accomplished in this video and I suspect it might be him on a dark stage with the accompanying visuals that should hold him in good stead. Would singing a bit in English have helped? – probably, but it’s not going to harm this one’s chances which are quite big. 6.5/10
Gaia – Malta – Diamonds in the Skies.
I sat through Junior Eurovision Malta almost by accident and I didn’t like this song then and I’m not very enamoured with it now despite the nod to Stranger things in the video. For me, I just don’t think that it has anything other than a weak voice over a driving beat and when you put it on stage I’m not sure if the juries or the televoters are going to vote for it. I guess its going to be all silver and black on stage because of the theme of “space” – I just am so relieved when it ends. 2/10
Luna – La Festa – Netherlands
Kids having fun on stage at a lemonade stall singing a pop song – that, in a nutshell, should be what this contest is all about and that’s what The Netherlands have given us. They are singing a song with cheap latin beats but it doesn’t matter because Luna seems confident with it. My only issue is that it’s perhaps a little too light when you compare it to, say, France or Italy or Kazakhstan, but it is the epitome of fun. I don’t, though, like the change to an oom-pa backing track towards the end, but I am just nitpicking. 5/10