EDITORIAL – Today we continue our review of the aspects that need to change to improve the format of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, so it becomes a favourite educational show for the youngest. This time, we will talk about the evolution of the participants and how the contest has become a place for a few privileged talented artists. Moreover, we will highlight the importance of child protection.
An original format influenced by ‘Talent Shows’
In the last few years, the format of Junior Eurovision has been influenced by successful talent shows broadcast on television, such as The Voice Kids and Got Talent, so it has become a hard competition like many others. As a result, the contest has adopted a new format, in which the voice is rated over the song and stagging.
Junior Eurovision was initially aimed at all children willing to perform on a big stage like real stars, not only professional singers. However, nowadays, most of the participants are winners or former participants of talent shows. This means that Junior Eurovision is currently accessible to a few privileged young singers that take part in the contest to win in vocal talent.
You just only need to watch the performances of all Junior Eurovision winners to realise that the contest is more and more exigent every year:
The fact that Junior Eurovision is now a voice competition leads to an increase of pressure and stress on the participants that have to demonstrate their vocal power in three-minute performances. We have covered Junior Eurovision three times, so we have been able to see a few examples of this kind of stress we are referring to. We still remember that one of the participants, aged 12, suffered a lot during the Junior Eurovision week. We all could see the pressure and fear reflected on her eyes and voice every time he had to step on stage, and she didn’t enjoy the experience at its fullest, she only wanted it to finish as soon as possible and said she wasn’t good at it. As another example, a Head of Delegation, during a press conference, stated: “We only want her to sing well tomorrow”.
The main objective of this contest should be to enjoy the chance to be on such a big stage, without worrying too much about the voice. So, we think that the professional jury should contribute to it mainly by voting for the song because Junior Eurovision is a Song contest, not a vocal competition. Part of the early success of the Eurovision Song Contest for children came thanks to the rule that made every child suitable for the competition. Nowadays, Junior Eurovision is only for a few privileged, so the youngest audience doesn’t feel identified with the participants, as most of them think their vocal talent isn’t big enough to perform on that stage. We still remember that many children of my age were excited to participate in the castings of the Spanish national selection Eurojunior. Now, children see this contest as a show they can watch on television, but they can’t be part of it because they need a trained voice and many singing lessons.
All in all, Junior Eurovision has gone from being a game for all children to become a voice talent show like many others, so it has clearly lost its original essence.
Current trends and child image protection
Another important aspect to improve is the public image of the participants of Junior Eurovision. In the last few years, we have been able to see that some of the candidates, mainly girls, showed an inappropriate image for a children competition. We are not only talking about their appearance on stage, but also about their appearance on the promotional side, such as the official music videos, promotional pictures, and social network.
You can find some recent examples below:
Junior Eurovision is a competition with a young target audience, so it should promote educational aspects in kids and teenagers. Children imitate the stars that appear on television, so they see the participants as role models. We think that the broadcasters should have this in mind when they choose their representatives or produce promotional stuff. Whereas, the European Broadcasting Union should control this content keeping in mind the age of the viewers and its possible negative effects. This is not only aimed at the audience, but also at the participants themselves and their protection. Sadly, we have been able to read some disrespectful comments towards some participants, such as bad jokes, by adult fans and perverts.
Wardrobe elements, like miniskirts, plunging necklines or fitted costumes, and make-up should be more controlled by the organisers and delegations to avoid comments like the ones we show below:
Stay tuned to our website for more information about the aspects that need to be improved following a constructive criticism of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.
Author: Belén G.