The history of Australia at Junior Eurovision
With Junior Eurovision just around the corner, we take a look back at Australia’s participation at the Contest.
Although no Australian broadcaster is sending a representative or even broadcasting the Contest from Yerevan this year, our nation has done so in the past. Australia debuted at Junior Eurovision in 2015 and participated until 2019. There have also been some incidental Australia connections to the event prior to this. Here is a recap of Australia’s involvement at Junior Eurovision.
The first Aussie to compete at Junior Eurovision
The first Australian to compete at Junior Eurovision represented FYR Macedonia.
Bobi Andonov was born to Macedonian parents in Melbourne in 1994. In September 2008 he entered the Macedonian national final, 'Decja pensa Eurovizije' where he topped both the jury and televote and was therefore chosen as the representative. At that year’s Junior Eurovision in Limassol, Cyprus, Bobi performed in the penultimate position, and ultimately finished in 5th place with 93 points. To this day Bobi’s entry remains as North Macedonia’s joint best position at Junior Eurovision.
Since then Bobi has continued to pursue a singing career. Most notably he took part in the fourth season of 'Australia’s Got Talent' in 2010, where he won the public vote in the semi-final. He participated in the Grand Final along with seven other acts and placed fourth behind winners Justice Crew.
Australian spokesperson awards 12 points to all participants (2011)
The 2011 Junior Eurovision Song Contest was held at the Karen Demirchyan Sports and Concerts Complex in Yerevan, Armenia, which is also where it will be held this year. Before the main voting procedure, an Australian spokesperson provided twelve points to all thirteen participating countries. This was part of a previous, long-standing Junior Eurovision tradition that ensured no artist suffered the indignity of receiving the infamous “nul points” or zero points.
Bella Paige - 'My Girls' (Australia, 2015)
8th place, 64 points
After Guy Sebastian’s successful debut at Eurovision 2015, SBS conducted an internal selection to field a representative to Junior Eurovision 2015.
Fourteen-year-old Bella Paige, was selected to perform at the Contest which was held in Sofia, Bulgaria. Bella first came to prominence in Australia by the age of nine after winning a kid’s karaoke contest organised by Channel 9’s 'Mornings' show. Her prize for winning the contest was tickets to see Delta Goodrem live in concert. In 2014 she participated in 'The Voice Kids' where she was mentored by Good Charlotte band members and brothers Joel and Benji Madden. She subsequently finished joint runners-up.
Bella’s song for Junior Eurovision was coincidentally co-written by Delta Goodrem, whom she had to the opportunity to meet during her time on 'The Voice Kids'. Speaking to the official Junior Eurovision website, Bella described the song as sending a ‘powerful message to all girls’ to ‘stay strong, support each other, believe in yourself [and] dream big.’
At Junior Eurovision Bella finished in 8th place overall with 64 points. A full split of the results released by the European Broadcasting Union after the contest revealed that Australia finished 7th with the juries and 13th with the televoters.
Alexa Curtis - 'We Are' (Australia, 2016)
5th place, 202 points
The following year another 2014 'The Voice Kids”'alumni was selected by SBS to represent Australia at Junior Eurovision – this time winner of that season Alexa Curtis, who was mentored by Delta Goodrem.
Following her 'The Voice Kids' win, Alexa was signed to Universal Music Australia and released her first single 'Playground'. Born into a New Zealand family that immigrated to Brisbane, Alexa was twelve years old when she sang for Australia at 2016 Junior Eurovision which was held in Valetta, Malta. Her song 'We Are' finished 5th place overall with 202 points.
That year each participating country had an adult and kids jury that awarded separate sets of points. There was also an expert jury made up of Jedward, Christer Bjorkman and Mads Grimstad that each awarded a set of votes. Alexa coincidentally finished fifth with all three types of juries.
Isabella Clarke - 'Speak Up' (Australia, 2017)
3rd Place, 172 points
In what was deemed by TV Tonight as a ‘surprise’ move to a ‘more kid-friendly channel,’ Australia’s broadcast and organisation of Junior Eurovision was changed from SBS to ABC Me in 2017.
ABC Me is a digital channel with programs dedicated to school-aged children. Marshall Heald, who at the time of the shift was the SBS Director of Content, stated to TV Tonight that it was ‘a great opportunity to reach a youth and children’s audience not available on SBS'.
Thirteen-year-old Isabella Clarke was selected to fly the Australian flag in Tbilisi, Georgia with the song 'Speak Up'. Isabella had previously been a principal vocalist at The Victoria Schools Spectacular. She performed in the penultimate position on the night of the contest and finished in third place overall, which remains as Australia’s best result in the competition.
2017 marked the third successive year that Junior Eurovision had a different voting system. Isabella finished third with both the national juries of each participating country which made up 50% of the votes, as well as in the new online voting which was open to viewers around the world and made up the other half of the result.
Jael - 'Champion' (Australia, 2018)
3rd place, 201 points
In 2018 twelve-year-old Jael Wena, who performs under the mononym Jael, was selected by Head of the Australian Eurovision Delegation Paul Clarke from Blink TV to represent Australia in Minsk, Belarus.
Born into a family of Congolese descent in Melbourne, prior to her Junior Eurovision participation Jael had won the national Fast Track Talent Showcase for three consecutive years. At the 2018 Junior Eurovision contest she matched Isabella’s result in the previous year by placing third. Notably she became the first Australian act ever to win the jury vote and finished ninth in the online vote.
Jordan Anthony - 'We Will Rise' (Australia, 2019)
8th place, 121 points
Fourteen-year-old, Perth resident Jordan Anthony Rabbone was selected to be Australia’s representative at Junior Eurovision 2019 in Gilwice, Poland. He had participated in the eighth season of 'The Voice' earlier that year, alongside future Australia Decides alumni Jack Vidgen, Diana Rouvas and Sheldon Riley. He was mentored by Delta Goodrem during his time on 'The Voice' and finished fourth.
Jordan holds the distinction of being the first Australian act to open a Junior Eurovision contest and was also the first male performer representing Australia. Ultimately, he finished in 8th place overall with 121 points, coming in 7th with the jury vote and 13th in online vote.
2020 to present day
After five years of fantastic entries, Australia unfortunately withdrew from the 2020 Junior Eurovision Song Contest. At the time when Aussievision reached out for comment, an SBS spokesperson stated that this decision was made considering the travel restrictions and ongoing uncertainty with COVID. The same reason was cited as to why Australia did not return to the Contest in 2021 as well.
This year both SBS and ABC Me stated to Aussievision that they had no plans to participate or even broadcast the 2022 Junior Eurovision contest. Whilst this is disappointing for us Australian fans, SBS noted they are ‘exploring new ways to entertain audiences and enhance [the] Eurovision experience'.
We are hopeful this will one day include a return by Australia to Junior Eurovision.
Get all the details on how to vote and where to watch Junior Eurovision 2022 here.
Check out the top 50 most streamed Junior Eurovision songs on Spotify here, featuring two of the Aussie acts.
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