It’s time for Junior Eurovision again! Finally, one of our favourite moments of the year is back—the most important global music event for children and youngsters. We are just a few hours away from the official start of the 21st edition of a festival that entered in our lives for the first time 20 years ago, on November 15th, 2003. Since then, with its ups and downs, it continued to maintain the Eurovision spirit for new generations, becoming a tradition on the year calendar.
The Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2023 will kick off this afternoon from 5:00 PM CET with the Opening Ceremony. The coastal city of Nice, France, in the French Riviera, will welcome the heroes from the 16 participating countries as the protagonists and representatives of the thrilling show that awaits us next Sunday 26th of November. This marks the beginning of a series of events, rehearsals, and press conferences in Nice, leading up to the festival on Sunday, November 26yh.
The famous Hôtel Le Negresco in Nice will be the main venue of the opening ceremony, hosting the opening of this year’s festival and setting the stage for the exciting adventures that await us until the upcoming Sunday. The iconic building, located on the Promenade des Anglais along the French Mediterranean coast, was built in 1912, and its name its a rendition to its Romanian creator, Henri Negresco.
Introductions, red carpet, surprises, and running order reveal: All you need to know before today’s opening act.
We have an evening full of surprises and unique moments ahead, not only for the participants but also for all viewers, visitors in Nice, and Eurovision fans who want to join this opening ceremony. From the introduction of each artist in this year’s festival to comebacks of previous participants, musical performances to enhance the exciting atmosphere of the opening gala, and ending up with the the draw for the contestants: the famous running order reveal-one of the most crucial moments of the whole competitions. All of this and more this evening live with us from Nice!
Following the traditions, introductions and welcome greetings will be setting off the exciting mood of the evening where we will meet each representative of the 16 participating countries. The young artists will walk the luxurious red carpet, meeting attendees and receiving support and affection from their fans until the official honor reception by journalist Laura Tenoudji and Ophénya, the festival’s digital ambassador with over 5 million followers on social media, will officially kick off Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2023. Both will host this part of the opening ceremony, and authorities from Nice, executives from the host broadcaster France Télévisions, and the festival’s executive supervisor, Martin Österdahl, will also be present at the event.
As usual, the Opening Ceremony will include the allocation draw, determining the vital performance positions—first, last, and lastly, the host country’s position. The random draw will decide which countries will open and close the festival, along with the exact position of France, as the host.
After the opening ceremony, the Eurovision Junior 2023 production team, along with the Reference Group of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), will meet to logically and wisely assign the remaining performance positions. These positions will be decided based on criteria aimed to making the event more dynamic, appealing, and enjoyable for the audience. The goal is to alternate performances based on style, genre, and other scenic elements that characterise each song.
Later this Monday afternoon, the final list with the complete performance order will be revealed, once approved by the EBU. We urge you to stay tuned to all ESCplus channels to be the first to know the performance order of all countries, as we will be working at full capacity throughout the week to keep you informed about your favourite Junior Song contest. All this said: Happy Junior Eurovision Week!
Reunions and performances to start the engines of this special week
This evening’s event will be iconic, with the preparations made by the French television network for its second experience in organizing a Junior Eurovision Song Contest, following the 2021 edition in Paris. From the City of Light with a Christmas atmosphere in December, we now move to the sunny Nice with a beach vibes and summery feel in November, as the city is a beach destination throughout the year in France.
One of the most emblematic moments will be the reunion with former French representatives at Eurovision Junior since their return in 2018. Although their first participant, Thomas Pontier (2004), will be missed, the rest of the participants who have been part of the French history in this wonderful festival will be present.
During this evening’s Opening Ceremony, Angélina (2018), Carla (2019), Enzo (2021), and the two winners who brought the festival to French soil, Valentina (2020) and Lissandro (2022), will make appearances. They will captivate us with an extraordinary joint performance, accompanied on the piano by the well-known pianist Van Toan.
While the performances of the previous French representatives have not been disclosed, it seems likely that they will exclusively present the common song that will be part of the Eurovision Junior 2023 edition. Throughout this week, all participants will record their voices for the collective performance on the day of the festival. The song will carry the theme of this year’s festival, “Heroes.”
All this and much more awaits us at this evening’s Opening Ceremony, which France Télévisions eagerly welcomes after their successful streak of amazing results in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Since their debut in 2004, achieving a good sixth place with Thomas Pontier, France has consistently improved its results. Angelina secured the second place, Carla finished fifth in 2019, while Valentina won in 2020. Enzo achieved a honorable third place at home ground in 2021, and Lissandro triumphed last year in Armenia. Junior Eurovision Song Contest has become an important event for the French television and aims to try to achieve the same at the adult Eurovision festival and bring it back to the country one day in the near future.
Meet the hosts of the Opening Ceremony
To welcome this new edition of Junior Eurovision starting today, two exceptional presenters will conduct the opening ceremony, one of whom must have experience and recognition in the Junior Eurovision world. This role will be played by Carla Lazzari, the French representative at Junior Eurovision 2019 with the song “Bim Bam Toi” and also the presenter of Junior Eurovision 2021 held in Paris. Alongside her will be Manon Théodet, a familiar face from the children’s program ‘Okoo-Koo.’
As a curiosity, Carla will be hosting the festival’s inauguration in her hometown, as she was born in Nice on August 19, 2005, and has recently turned 18. She gained recognition at the age of 12 when she was a finalist on the fifth season of ‘The Voice Kids France,’ where she participated as a member of Patrick Fiori’s team (France’s representative at Eurovision 1993). She shared the competition with Angélina, the 2018 representative. Carla finished fifth with 169 points at Junior Eurovision 2019, performing “Bim Bam Toi,” composed by Igit and Barbara Pravi. In 2021, she co-hosted Junior Eurovision 2021 with Olivier Minne and Elodie Gossuin, and in 2022, she participated in the French version of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ on TF1, finishing in second place. Additionally, since 2022, and this year as well, she is the commentator for the festival for the French audience alongside Stéphane Bern, and also for the adult competition.
The 25-year-old actress Manon Théodet will accompany Carla in the kick-off show of Junior Eurovision 2023. As one of the presenters of the children’s program ‘Okoo-Koo’ on France 4, the multidisciplinary artist always knew she wanted to be an actress. While studying in high school, she practiced roller-skating, guitar, and singing at the conservatory. Later, she enrolled in a school of musical comedy, studying singing, dance, and theatre for two years. After graduating, she secured small roles in musicals, allowing her to continue growing and gradually fulfilling her dreams until her breakthrough on television. Now she takes another step in her career by hosting an internationally renowned event like Junior Eurovision.
How and when to watch the Opening Ceremony of Junior Eurovision 2023?
The opening ceremony marks the beginning of an intense week in Nice, filled with activities for the participants, including city torus, parties, rehearsals, press conferences that will lead to creating of new friendships, in a myriad of fun moments and unforgettable memories embarked in this unique adventure that these heroes will be experiencing and the will never ever forget.
Nice awaits you; don’t miss the appointment! Remember that you can watch the Opening Ceremony of Junior Eurovision 2023 live this afternoon, starting at 5:00 PM CET, on the official YouTube channel of the festival.
Follow the Opening of Junior Eurovision 2023 live on the multi-screen ESCplus.
Help us predict the winner! Vote and be part of the ESCplus poll. Don’t forget that you still have time to vote in our poll about Junior Eurovision 2023.