10 year-old Mariam Mamadashvili from Georgia has won the Junior Eurovision Song Contest (JESC) 2016, held in Valletta, Malta on 20 November, with the song Mzeo (Sun).
17 countries took part in the 14th edition of the annual singing competition for children between the ages of 9 and 14, hosted by Maltese Member PBS in the Mediterranean Conference Centre. For the first time the event was staged on a Sunday afternoon.
It's the 3rd time Georgia have won the Junior Eurovision Song Contest following wins in 2011 and 2008, all with the same songwriter, Giga Kukhianidze.
Mariam Mamadashvili, who finished the Contest with 239 points, has been performing since she was 4 years-old. She studied at the Bzikebistudio in Georgia and also the Evgeni Mikeladze State Central Music School. The 2016 Junior Eurovision Song Contest winner has lived in the United States since 2015 and studies at the Broadway Method Academy.
Anahit and Mary singing for Armenia came in 2nd place (232 points) with Italy's Fiamma Boccia 3rd (209 points). Both were given prizes after the show.
Speaking following her win, Mariam said "I dont have any words - the moment they told me I won I was shocked - it's amazing! I want to thank my team so much for being with me and supporting me. The first person I'm going to call is my grandma!"
The Junior Eurovision Song Contest was broadcast to millions of viewers in the 17 participating countries over the Eurovision satellite and fibre optic network and online on Youtube and on junioreurovision.tv.
In changes to the show's format this year, every entry was judged by one professional music industry jury and one youth jury in each participating country. Their votes were presented separately to create an exciting finale. Three expert judges also cast votes for the first time contributing to the rest of the overall score (each judge counted for the equivalent of one additional country). The expert jury was made up of Universal Music’s Mads Grimstad, Eurovision Song Contest 2016 show producer Christer Björkman, and former Eurovision Song Contest participants Jedward.
The competition also saw electrifying performances from ESC 2011 and 2016 entrant Poli Genova and 2015 JESC winner Destiny Chukunyere who returned to the stage to perform last year’s winning entry ‘Not My Soul,’ as well as her newest single ‘La Di Da.’
Jon Ola Sand, the EBU's Head of Live Events, said "This competition is an excellent way for public service broadcasters to support young artists, and help bring their talent to an international audience. It was amazing to see all this talent on stage. Mariam's performance was incredible - we look forward to seeing more of her in years to come."
"We at the EBU are grateful for the work of PBS and all the delegations involved. This is true collaboration in Europe and I'm very proud of that," he added.
The Junior Eurovision Song Contest has been held annually since 2003. This was the second time the competition has been staged in Malta following their hosting in 2014. For images and footage from the event visit www.junioreurovision.tv,
The following countries (and EBU Members) participated in the 2016 Junior Eurovision Song Contest in order of appearance: