Young Italian singer Vincenzo Cantiello won the 2014 Junior Eurovision Song Contest held this evening in Malta with a powerful rendition of his song Tu Primo Grande Amore. Bulgaria came second and the third place was awarded to Armenia.
After winning last year, the Maltese broadcaster had the honour of hosting the final of the 12th edition of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Sixteen contestants aged between ten and fifteen took part in the two-hour show which was held this evening in the Marsa shipyard in the island of Malta.
1. Belarus – Nadezhda Misyakova – Sokal (Falcon)
Nadezhda opened the show and set the bar very high with a confident performance of her folk song. The staging was pretty mysterious, but amazingly captivating and Nadezhda made quite an impression with her remarkable American Indian-themed outfit. She wore a beautiful asymmetrical light brown dress (pretty much the same from the national final) with colourful feathers. She was joined by four female backing dancers who were bare feet and dressed in light brown dresses as well. They were playing traditional horns and performed an effective choreography that did not steal the spotlight from Nadezhda and her amazing vocal performance. The lighting was yellow and green with nature images such as wheat fields, red forests, mountains and a giant hawk on the screens that gave the song some extra magic.
2. Bulgaria – Krisia, Hasan and Ibrahim – Planet Of The Children
Charismatic Krisia was standing in the centre of the stage and she looked adorable wearing a floor length black and white dress with a red belt and matching bow on the back and a little crown on her head. There were two pianos (black and white) on both sides of the stage which were played by the two boys of the trio. Hasan, dressed in a black suit, was playing the black one on the left side and Ibrahim, dressed in white, played the white one on the right. Their entry is a beautiful ballad and, despite it is a challenging song, Krisia’s voice remained effortless and smooth throughout the performance. The lighting was purple and the backdrop was mainly blue. It looked like a winter scene with a huge fairytale castle.
3. San Marino – The Peppermints – Breaking My Heart
This is a bit old-fashioned uptempo song though extremely catchy. Teenage girls Rafaella, Arianna, Anita, Greta and Sara wore white shirts and each of them wore a different-coloured skirt (yellow, pink, red, green and blue). They seemed very confident at harmonizing and their voices were really strong individually but especially when they were singing together. Their choreography was very dynamic and appropriate for that kind of song. They had a great energy and made full use of the stage space and both catwalks interacting very well with the cameras. The lighting was dark blue and the background looked like a starry sky.
4. Croatia – Josie – Game Over
This song has an electronic rhythm and an infectious hook that might appeal to a younger audience, but it gets quite repetitive. Josie is a great vocalist but the song did not do that justice. She wore a red dress with a yellow belt and matching tights. Her staging was simple, yet effective and none of her movements was improvised. She was joined by two boys as backing dancers who delivered an energetic break dance choreography around her. They wore black and white checkered shirts and grey trousers. On the LED screens one could see some graphic representations of binary code in bright colours.
Then it was time for short interlude. We could see an amazing choreography where some of the dancers wore lights suits.
5. Cyprus – Sophia Patsalides – I Pio Omorfi Mera (The Most Beautiful Day)
Sophia was completely alone on stage but she looked very confident singing her pop-dance entry which makes you want to dance. She wore a white shirt with a long train (that looked great with the wind machine’s effect), white trousers and blue sneakers. Her vocal delivery was absolutely impressive. The backdrop was dark blue with white lightning and raindrops. It became pink near the end of the performance while Sophia walked on the catwalk interacting with the audience at the arena.
6. Georgia – Lizi Japaridze (Lizi Pop) – Happy Day
Lizi is very sweet and charming. She looked stunning wearing an orange ruffled dress with a fluffy bubble skirt. Her song started with a lullaby melody and the LED screens were showing a butterfly flying over white stars. When the first chorus began, the song incorporated a vigorous pop beat and the backdrop became sunny and colourful including a beautiful pyrotechnic cascade. She was backed by four dancers all dressed in black ballerina tutus with big blonde wigs. Lizi’s voice was soft (even a bit weak) during the verses, but it sounded very confident (a bit shouty sometimes) on the chorus. Near the end of the song, she approached the edge of the stage and encouraged the audience to sing along with her. It was a good performance overall but not very memorable.
7. Sweden – Julia Kedhammar – Du Är Inte Ensam
This year’s Swedish entry is a dance song and Julia had a great energy on stage. She is a talented vocalist and she can dance and sing at the same time without losing her breath. She wore a shiny navy blue outfit with lots of sequins and a grey leather jacket. Halfway through the song Julia took part of the dance routine alongside the four dancers who were backing her during the whole performance. The backing dancers wore bright blue short jumpsuits. The graphics on the massive LED screens showed a white and purple cityscape over a black background which was more colourful as the song progressed.
8. Ukraine – Sympho-Nick – Spring Will Come
The performance started with the three girls walking towards the centre of the stage (two of them from the catwalks and the other one from the back of the stage). Each of them held a leaf in the hand which, in a symbolic way, represented ground, seeds and water. Their staging was very mystical and a bit magical with an adorable and well synchronized choreography. Amaliia, Marta and Sofiia wore similar blue dresses and they were barefoot. They managed to harmonize their vocals really well. At the beginning of the performance, the backdrop was a snowy mountain landscape and it became sunnier as the performance progressed.
Time for another dance interval act with a mix of classical music and modern sounds including the EBU theme tune.
9. Slovenia – Ula Ložar – Nisi Sam / Your Light
Slovenia made its debut this year at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest and sent to Malta an incredibly talented young artist singing an epic ballad. Ula wore a beautiful white dress with a hood and sneakers. She was standing in the centre of the stage during the whole performance, making only slight moves with her arms and smiling to cameras. Her voice was very sweet yet powerful and she managed to hit all the high notes with ease. The backdrop was dark blue with white small lights and it looked like a starry sky. During the last chorus there were fireworks all the way around Ula. It looked quite impressive.
10. Montenegro – Maša Vujadinovic & Lejla Vulić – Budi Dijete Na Jedan Dan
We continued with another debutant, Montenegro, with a danceable entry that really sounds like a song for children. Each of the girls appeared from each side of the stage during the nice violin intro and met in the middle were they remained during most of the performance. They wore black leather jackets, white shirts and colourful skirts (pink for Maša and yellow for Lejla). Their outfit really stood out in front of the backdrop which was black with bright blue and green luminous squiggles. They had some choreographed movements but it looked so natural that they seemed to be very relaxed on stage exuding a very happy feeling. Near the end of the song, they went towards the two catwalks and were inviting the audience to sing and dance with them.
11. Italy – Vincenzo Cantiello – Tu Primo Grande Amore
Italy was our third debutant country. This is a beautiful ballad but it is a bit dated and the lyrics are too mature for a children’s contest. During the whole performance Vincenzo (who is the only male participant of the competition) stood alone in the centre of the stage and he did not need nothing else than his powerful voice to impress Europe. Vincenzo is gifted with a superb voice and he hit the high notes with no problems. He was dressed very smart with a dark suit, white shirt and black tie. The backdrop was pretty dark at first but, as soon as Vincenzo began to sing, it turned into orange and purple spirals which predominated during the whole performance and especially at the most dramatic parts of the song. This performance surely gave the viewers goosebumps.
12. Armenia – Betty – People Of The Sun
This is a cute song with a positive vibe and Betty is a charismatic performer with a lovely voice. She started her performance at the centre of the stage standing on top of a round silver platform. She was joined by five backing dancers (two boys and three girls) who came out from under the platform. Betty wore a silver shiny top with an orange tutu and her dancers were wearing shiny silver outfits. Betty was full of energy and very confident. She jumped off the platform mid-way through the song and joined the choreography. Towards the end of the song the three girls did some acrobatic aerial movements and they flew around the stage with orange silks making the performance super memorable. The backdrop was very colourful with blue, white and orange lights that moved really fast.
One more dance interval act this time with an ethnic touch.
13. Russia – Alisa Kozhikina – Dreamer
Alisa was standing all alone on stage singing her powerful ballad. She wore a long white dress that stood out with the dark purple lighting and the shiny white and pink swirls and stardust behind her. It was a touching atmosphere and Alisa is really cute. She has a sweet but strong voice and she sang with full emotion. She really meant what she was saying. She kept the same position during most of the performance but she grabbed the microphone and took a few steps forward towards the end of the song.
14. Serbia – Emilija Djonin – Svet U Mojim Očima / World In My Eyes
Emilija was alone on stage playing piano. The staging was simple and very appropiate for such a gentle piano ballad but the atmosphere was stunning and Emilija sang flawlessly. She wore a black and white outfit and the backdrop was completely black with big rose petals and some red triangles falling. At the final chorus, Emilija left the piano and walked to the catwalk on the right of the stage. Despite she gave an impressive vocal performance, this wonderful touching ballad might be a little forgettable.
15. Malta – Federica Falzon – Diamonds
Federica was singing on home soil and, despite that being a big responsibility, she looked really confident since she has probably the most memorable voice in the contest. Her staging was pretty simple with her alone on the centre stage standing on a platform with a spot light shining down on her and surrounded by dry ice. She wore a golden knee-length dress with a beautiful glittering belt. There was a small technical problem and we could hear the sound from the arena overshadowing Federica’s voice for a few seconds but otherwise, the young opera singer was vocally flawless and pitch perfect. The LED screens featured graphics of diamonds hanging from the ceiling that exploded when the song progressed.
16. The Netherlands – Julia– Around
This was a fantastic dance song to close the competition. Around is an instantly catchy entry, maybe it is too repetitive and its verses are a bit weak, but it is easy to remember and you can’t keep yourself from dancing. Julia looked so comfortable on stage and she delivered an energetic performance joined by four awesome dancers. Julia also took part inthe dance routine. She wore white pants and a golden jacket. The stage lighting was dark during the verses with some white spot lights but during the choruses one could see lots of exploding stars and orange shapes on the backdrop.
It started at 19:00 CET and it was hosted by Moira Delia. The opening act began with two boys sitting on a couch and making a paper airplane that resembled pretty much the logo of this year’s contest. That plane took the audience on a journey through the Maltese islands with some aerial shots.
There was a dance number which featured lots of street dancers dressed in casual clothes and then it was time for the parade of the participants who were introduced in between the dancing.
Each performance was preceded by a stunning postcard whose common theme was sport. All of them had been filmed in Malta.
Right after the last country performed, the televoting was opened and the sixteen participants were back on stage to perform the theme song Together.
The interval act featured a modern ballet choreography, the performance of the talented Maltese young singer Veronica Rotin and of course, last year’s Junior Eurovision winner Gaia Cauchi who was singing a dance version of her winning entry The Start and a new song called Children Of The Future along with a gospel choir.
After that, we saw a couple of videos about how the postcards had been filmed and one more of this year’s running order draw, the rehearsals and the participants visiting Maltese schools.
An online voting was introduced for this year’s contest. It did not have an influence on the official result, but enabled everyone located outside of the sixteen participating countries to cast a vote for their favourite act. A special award would be given to the winner of this online voting during the winner’s press conference which was held after the show. That was a great initiative but sadly the application did not work properly and it was not possible to cast the votes.
As usual, twelve points were given to all participants at the beginning of the voting procedure by the EBU Executive Supervisor for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, Vladislav Yakovlev.
The winner was chosen by a combination of televoting and juries from the sixteen participant countries plus a children’s jury.
Gaia Cauchi announced the votes from the kids jury which awarded their twelve points to Italy. Then, a spokesperson from each participating country revealed their votes. Among them we found some former Junior Eurovision participants such as Elias from Sweden, Sofia Tarasova from Ukraine, Monika from Armenia or the Dutch twins Mylene and Rosanne.
The final scoreboard was as follow:
1st. Italy – 159 points
2nd. Bulgaria – 147 points
3rd. Armenia – 146 points
4th. Malta – 116 points
5th. Russia – 96 points
6th. Ukraine – 74 points
7th. Belarus – 71 points
8th. The Netherlands – 70 points
9th. Cyprus – 69 points
10th. Serbia – 61 points
11th. Georgia – 54 points
12th. Slovenia – 29 points
13th. Sweden – 28 points
14th. Montenegro – 24 points
15th. San Marino – 21 points
16th. Croatia – 13 points