As the weeks go by, the list of candidates vying for the mini crystal microphone is getting longer and longer. The latest country to be added to the list is the United Kingdom. The island nation, which returned to the contesta last year, was one of the few countries that had not yet released any details of their entry. However, the BBC has now revealed the name of the UK’s next flag bearer in the French city of Lyon. Female group Stand Uniqu3 will represent the British Isles at Junior Eurovision 2023 on 26 November.
Stand Uniqu3 will be the UK’s fifth representatives at the festival, which has its origins in 2003. The BBC will be aiming for a victory that they fell just a few points short of last year. The return of the UK to Junior Eurovision in 2022 and the return of Germany this year, has meant that this will be the first edition in history to have all the Big 5 countries competing for the Junior Eurovision victory.
Participating in Junior Eurovision is the first musical experience for the specially formed group, however, each of the artists in the group has already been part of the music world as a result of their participation in various children’s music competitions.
The group is made up of three girls, Yazmin, Maisie & Hayla, all three of whom have been chosen to form a new girl group STAND UNIQU3. The BBC decided to form the group after producers noticed their chemistry as an ensemble. It is the first time a group has represented the UK at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Their song has been exclusively revealed this morning on The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show, BBC Radio 2’s morning show. Their song “Back To Life”, which you can listen to just below, is signed by songwriters Sky Adams, Jakke Erixson and Jack Hawitt, who have previously written for artists such as Jason Derulo, Lauren Spencer Smith, Kylie Minogue and Ava Max. The track is mainly about the need to face our fears and difficult situations in our lives
British television entrusted the search and choice of its artist for Junior Eurovision 2022 to the prestigious agency Buzz Talent, where the founder herself, Helen Georgio, was one of those involved in this important and honourable task for her company, which is dedicated to representing commercial models, actors, dancers, singers and clients who wish to participate in television programmes and productions. In 2021, it was recognised as the Best National Agency at the National Social Media Awards. In 2023, the agency has again been tasked with selecting the UK representative following Freya’s success.
This is who the group is made up of
Hayla is a 12 year old girl born in Liverpool, Britain’s Eurovision capital par excellence. It can be said that she has a rather interesting connection to the Eurovision Song Contest thanks to her grandfather, who was a backing dancer in the UK’s 1987 entry. That family heritage has influenced his love of music and the stage.
Her biggest inspiration is Rihanna, whose songs and style motivate her to follow her dreams. Although music is her main passion, Hayla also enjoys sports and plays as a striker for her local football team. For her, the perfect day involves eating chocolate, watching movies and spending quality time with her beloved siblings.
Maisie, 13, from Essex, is another stage enthusiast. She loves singing, dancing and acting, and is always ready to show off her artistic talents in public. When she’s not shining on stage, she enjoys special moments with her grandfather as they practise clay pigeon shooting. Maisie also has a collection of crystals.
Yazmin, aged 12, is from Newcastle. She ispassionate about Latin and ballroom dancing and is no stranger to performing in front of crowds. When she’s not on the dance floor, she loves to cuddle with her adorable Chihuahua, Tinkerbell, and let her creativity run wild by writing stories. Shopping is another of her favourite activities to discover new trends and styles.
The three girls found out that they had been selected to represent the UK at Junior Eurovision in an unexpected way. BBC Radio 1’s Dean McCullough gave them the exciting news while they were at a dance school in central London on the pretext of doing one of the final auditions for the contest.
BBC’s new Junior Eurovision rollout
The BBC’s Junior Eurovision will, like last year, be a BBC Studios production. This year, despite the strong reception of the 2022 contest, the contest will be broadcast on BBC Two, CBBC and BBC iPlayer. The BBC has also confirmed that Lauren Layfield and HRVY will return as UK commentators, as they did in Yerevan
Patricia Hidalgo, the BBC’s Director of Education and Children’s Education, shares the excitement built up around the project:
“The Junior Eurovision Song Contest was a real spectacle and success for us last year, and we are very excited to have a new moment in the calendar for Eurovision fans. In addition, we will be presenting a new group for the public to support. We have high hopes for our brilliant trio, STAND UNIQU3, and we want families around the world to cheer on Hayla, Maisie and Yazmin as they represent the UK in this competition. The music and talent will be at its peak.”
Suzy Lamb, general manager of entertainment and music at BBC Studios, also shares her excitement:
“BBC Studios is once again thrilled to have led the search for songs and artists for Junior Eurovision after a successful debut year for the BBC in 2022. STAND UNIQU3 is a truly new band who showed immediate chemistry during the audition process. With an infectious pop song written by hit songwriters and the incredible vocals of STAND UNIQU3, it promises to be another exciting year for the UK in the Junior contest. The excitement knows no bounds.
Coverage of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest will once again be led by Patricia Hidalgo, Director of BBC Children’s and Education, and Sarah Muller, Senior Director of BBC Children’s Commissioning. The Executive Producer and Head of Delegation will be, as usual, Lee Smithurst. Suzy Lamb leads as chief executive of BBC Studios Entertainment and Music, while Pete Ogden is creative director of BBC Studios North. The BBC’s commissioning editor is Melissa Hardinge, and Nick Hall is the executive in charge, ensuring a high quality production. The network has also confirmed that a half-hour documentary will be launched this autumn on CBBC and BBC iPlayer which will follow STAND UNIQU3’s journey to the contest.
The UK’s Junior Eurovision story
TheUK was one of the founding countries of Junior Eurovision in Copenhagen 2003. ITV was the broadcaster responsible for selecting the UK entries for the country’s first entries.
The first British representative in the children’s contest was Tom Morly with the song “My song for the world“. This young artist managed to finish in a good third position. The following year, Cory Spedding and his song “The best is yet to come” finished in second position, only behind Spain with his song “Antes muerta que sencilla“. Finally, the United Kingdom was represented in 2005 by Joni Fuller and the song “How does it feel? This year the Brits obtained their worst position to date, finishing in fourteenth place.
However, after these three appearances, ITV decided to withdraw from the competition due to low ratings and a lack of interest in British society in the children’s festival. For the next sixteen years the EBU has been inviting the BBC to join the competition. However, the British public broadcaster always turned down the offer. Therefore, the EBU invited Wales to participate during the 2018 and 2019 editions, where they did not achieve great results.
For its part, the BBC announced last 2022 its return to Junior Eurovision after sixteen years of absence. The young Freya Skye was in charge of representing her country with the song “Lose my head“. The UK’s return to the contest resulted in a fifth position.