16 countries (15 Members and one Associate) have confirmed their participation in the 2017 Junior Eurovision Song Contest (JESC).
Hoping to continue their success following a win at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, Portugal will return to the Junior stage after a 10 year absence, having last competed in 2007. They will join past winners Armenia, Belarus, Italy, Malta, Russia and Ukraine in the Georgian capital along with other 2016 participants Albania, Australia, Cyprus, FYR Macedonia, Ireland, Poland, Serbia and The Netherlands. Completing the 16-strong line up will be host country Georgia, who triumphed at last year’s Contest in Malta.
Georgian Member GPB will host the 15th annual showcase for talented artists aged 9 -14 on Sunday 26 November at the 4,000-seat Olympic Palace in the capital Tbilisi. The modern arena has numerous facilities for delegations, media and fans.
For the first time ever, a new voting structure will be introduced to allow viewers from around the world to vote online for their favourite songs and artists.
Online audience voting will be open from Friday 24 to Sunday 26 November and viewers will watch a recap of all songs before entering the platform on the JESC official website. After this, voters will have the option to watch longer 1-minute clips from each participant’s rehearsal. This first round of voting will stop on Sunday 26 at 15:59 CET.
During the live show, beginning at 16:00 CET, online voting will start after the last performance and will be open for 15 minutes. The final audience result will be a combination of both pre-show and live voting rounds, accounting for 50% of the total vote. A jury vote in each country will make up the other 50%.
Jon Ola Sand, the EBU's Head of Live Events, said: ‘We are thrilled to be celebrating 15 editions of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Throughout the Contest’s history we have seen some incredibly talented children perform, some of whom are now successful artists in their own right. The new voting system is an exciting new addition that will allow millions of viewers to take part in the show once again”.
2017’s winner can look forward to a bright future with last year’s title-holder Mariam Mamadashvili already set for big things. After taking the crown in Malta last November, the 11 year-old Georgian singer has been taking private lessons at Broadway Method Academy and been accepted into a leading New York boutique talent agency.
FYR Macedonia (MKRTV)
The Netherlands (AVROTROS)