Before this year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest I was asked what it would take for the Nordic countries to return to the Contest. I mentioned a list of things, which would have to change in order for that to be realistic and then I spent two Saturday’s watching the two shows.
There are many reasons as to why the EBU want the Nordic countries back aside from the obvious higher viewing figures:
With the Netherlands and Belgium being the only Northern European countries to take part the Junior Contest were unbalanced this year leaning too much towards the Eastern countries. With all the fuss about the Western countries complaining about the Eurovision Song Contest being impossible to win due to the Eastern countries it is doing harm that these Western countries lo longer are taking part in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.
The MGP Nordic CD’s and DVD’s are usually bestsellers in all four Nordic countries. If those countries returned to the Junior Eurovision Song Contest that CD would sell a lot better and making a DVD release likely to happen again.
But is it likely that the Nordic countries can be persuaded to return? Based on what I had heard the Nordic countries complain about before I had my checklist ready:
Appropriate clothes: The Nordic countries don’t want to see 11 year old girls dressing up like they are trying to get the male votes by appearing sexually attractive to them!
No cheating: The Nordic countries would insist on the rule about the children having written the songs themselves was taken seriously. No songs with such a complicated and technically difficult structure that only the very best adult songwriters can create it.
A children show: The Nordic countries prefer a show designed for the children and not a copy of the Eurovision Song Contest. The interval act and the whole stage show should appeal more to children than to their parents so that it is not just a show with children taking part, but actually a show where children entertain children.
Ok, this year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest show did impress me in the way that it was way better than the 2007 edition. The biggest change was the clothes. Where last year’s show must have pleased all the paedophiles then it seemed like the EBU stood stronger on the rule about appropriate clothes this time. A step closer to getting the Nordic countries back yes, but one year isn’t enough to convince the Nordic broadcasters who have been let down before.
Cheating? Hmm, the lower quality in this year’s Junior Song Contest could indeed indicate that the children had written the songs themselves – there were still a few songs, which strongly indicated something else, but it is a big plus that none of them won. Unfortunately for the Junior Contest then the MGP Nordic pulled off an average quality level that was higher – without it sounding like the rules were broken. This is one step back from getting the Nordic countries to return to the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.
The show? The Junior Eurovision Song Contest is too much a copy of the Eurovision Song Contest. A few rules are different, but once you look at the show only difference appear to be that this is the version for the ones who are not yet old enough to participate at the May version. The children are the participants, but it doesn’t appear, as they are there to entertain the other children. MGP Nordic is clearly different. In all ways this is more a show the children will enjoy: the hosts are dressed in clothes which will look a bit silly in the eyes of most adults, but for the children it is fun. The interval acts match with the children level and another big difference is the performances by the participants. In the Nordic version it is clear that it is a child performance while several of the performances in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest were with a professional chorography that doesn’t belong in such a show. This is another step back.
With one step forward and two back it is hard to find the good incentives that will convince the four Nordic countries that giving up on their own show in order to rejoin the Junior Eurovision Song Contest is the right thing to do.
Afterwards the question to me was: So can The Netherlands and Belgium be allowed to join the Nordic version? The number one thing that combines the Nordic countries is the similar culture and the almost identical language. Each country still had their own commentator who could translate the few differences and that might open up to the possibility of adding a few other countries despite them having a different language. If you change the format to include only one song from each country it does give space for countries like The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and perhaps United Kingdom and Ireland, but what about the Baltic countries? Some of them will rightfully claim that they are closer connected to the Scandinavian countries than Belgium is. The Junior Eurovision Song Contest started in the first place as more countries were added to MGP Nordic and the name changed as EBU got involved. By starting all over with adding new countries to the Nordic edition aren’t we just inventing the wheel once again?
If EBU doesn’t manage to succeed in getting the Nordic countries back to the Junior Eurovision Song Contest it appears like the smartest thing they can do viewing and selling wise is to split JESC into two versions: A Western and an Eastern. This would surely tempt Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland – and it would sell a lot of CD’s and DVD’s, but if you are splitting up the Junior Contest how long does it take before demands would be to do the same thing for the Eurovision Song Contest? It is a tempting, but risky thing to do and question is if the EBU are willing to go that far in order to get the Nordic countries back?