All opinions expressed in this article are those of the person quoted and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the other team members or ESC United as a whole.

It’s one day to go until Junior Eurovision 2023, and we are counting down the 16 nations who are participating in Nice, France on Sunday, November 26, 2023.

We have reviewed and scored fifteen countries, and with this entry, we have reached our sixteenth and final review. Scroll down to see who we at ESC United think is our favorites at this contest.

And for our last review, we look at the most recent Big Five returnee, The United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom’s History at Junior Eurovision:

Much like their adult counterparts in the ’50s and early ’60s, the British kids at Junior Eurovision got great performances without victory.

Tom Morley came in third at the inaugural Junior Eurovision in 2003 with Cory Spedding coming in 2nd at Junior Eurovision with “The Best is Yet to Come.”

However, Joni Fuller came in 14th with “How does it feel?” at Junior Eurovision 2005, and they withdrew.

Now ITV had been the broadcaster for Junior Eurovision (instead of BBC who do the adult version), and in 2018 Welsh broadcaster S4C were able to bring the British nation of Wales into the contest as its own entrant.

S4C intended to bring the Welsh language into the contest, and in 2018 debuted. However, Manw came in 20th and last with “Perta,” and Erin Mai’s “Calon yn Curo (Heart Beating)” only did slightly better with 18th place and second-last.

And in 2022, the year that the United Kingdom resurrected itself as a competitive entity at Eurovision with Sam Ryder, the BBC decided to bring back the United Kingdom as a full competitor at Junior Eurovision.

And what a comeback the United Kingdom made! Freya Skye represented the UK with “Lose My Head,” but Freya only went and won the online vote! The United Kingdom came in 5th overall, but the online vote victory was significant and as good as a “Welcome Back!” the European public could give.

Before Junior Eurovision 2023:

On October 9, 2023, Zoe Ball announced that STAND UNIQU3 would represent the United Kingdom at Junior Eurovision 2023 on her BBC 2 Morning Radio Breakfast Show.

The BBC’s Director of BBC Children’s and Education, Patricia Hidalgo said, “The Junior Eurovision Song Contest was a real spectacle and success for us last year and we’re very happy that we have a new calendar moment for fans of Eurovision and a brand new girl group for audiences to get behind.”

The Artist:

STAND UNIQU3 are a three piece group that met on The Voice Kids. They are the first ever group to represent The United Kingdom at Junior Eurovision.

12-year-old Hayla is from Liverpool, 13-year-old Maisie is from Essex, and 12-year-old Yasmin is from Newcastle.

The Song:

“Back to Life” is essentially an empowerment anthem with dance. As all three have stressed an interest in dance in various forms, expect some top notch choreography.

“Back to Life” is produced and co-written by Sky Adams. Adams is a prolific writer and producer, having collaborated with Kylie Minogue, Doja Cat, Yung Bae, HRVY and many more.

Jakke Erixson co-wrote, and he has credits writing for Alvaro Soler, Christina Aguilera, and Lauren Spencer-Smith. Erixson also co-wrote “Miracle,” Samra’s Eurovision 2016 entry for Azerbaijan which came in 17th.

Jack Hawitt is a singer-songwriter with an impressive number of releases under his own name, and has done collaborations with a wide array of artists including Pharell Williams, Megan Thee Stallion, and R3hab. Hawitt was also a co-writer of Freya Skye’s “Lose My Head.”

With the background out of the way, here is what we at ESC United think of The United Kingdom’s entry for Junior Eurovision 2023.

Providing their thoughts for Junior Eurovision this season: Alexandros (Greece), Yehonatan Cohen (Israel), Boris Meersman (Belgium), James Maude (Los Angeles, California), and William Carter (Dallas, Texas).

The Verdict:

Alexandros – 9.5 – The video is excellently crafted, featuring captivating lyrics and a consistent infusion of high-energy performance. The song, with its catchy qualities, also carries a touch of nostalgia, reminiscent of older UK entries in the Eurovision Song Contest, a quality I find appealing. It prompts the thought that the United Kingdom could potentially be a suitable host for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.”

Boris – 7 – “One nice thing about JESC is that it allows preteens and adolescencnts to act like the adult idols they aspire to be like. In this specific case, the girls of “STAND UNIQU3” (sigh @ that name) get to be Fifth Harmony. I love that for them. “Back to life” is a catchy and fun number alright, but there’s two catches for me. (1) It comes across as a yassified “Je me casse” at certain junctures. (2) I genuinely think this song would be viable in Eurovision Proper (is there any difference between this and the average Bananarama hit?), which makes me think whether it’s too mature for Junior? I sure enjoy it as a standalone setpiece, but this contest has more appropriate entrants on offer.”

James – 9.5 – “This is how you do pre-teen cool. Not all kids want to do kids entries, but at a certain age some kids want to emulate the adults they look up to (in this case, probably Rihanna). Unfortunately, some JESC entries of this type were cringe, but this one is age appropriate and the BBC has made them look cool. Every 13-year-old girl in Britain would love to be them or friends with them. The song is modern, the production slick, and I hope for a spectacle when they dance in Nice. Though there’s one JESC song I prefer slightly more, I will be a very happy Englishman if STAND UNIQU3 do well.”

William – 8 – “Choreography, vocals, styling, attitude … these girls are the total package. Either they are unusually experienced performers for their age or the director of the music video deserves a huge bonus for making them look like superstars. The song is moody and young, without being juvenile, and the staging possibilities are endless. This has the potential to win, if The UK plays its cards right.”

Yehonatan – 9.5 – This song is perfectly suited for JESC. It is slick and professional but leaves inside the right amount of innocence and childhood. The chorus is so intensively hooking you in, and the whistly break dance is just a blast. The UK really set the bar high these past 2 years!”

Total: 43.5 points (Average = 8.700)

And with all sixteen countries reviewed, we collectively name The United Kingdom as ESC United’s winner of Junior Eurovision 2023. With a low of only 7, our panel thinks “Back to Life” is the best JESC entry of the year and in a great position to win.

Here are our final rankings for Junior Eurovision 2023:

1.) UNITED KINGDOM – 43.5 points (Average = 8.7)

2.) France – 42.5 points (Average = 8.5)

3.) Spain – 42 points (Average = 8.4)

4.) Armenia – 38.0 points (Average = 7.6)

5.) Ireland – 37.5 points (Average = 7.5)

6.) Ukraine – 37 points (Average = 7.4)

7.) Georgia – 35.0 (Average = 7.0)

8.) North Macedonia – 34.5 points (Average = 6.9)

9.) Albania – 33.5 points (Average = 6.7)

10.) Estonia – 32.5 points (Average = 6.5)

11.) The Netherlands – 31.0 points (Average = 6.2)

12.) Germany – 30.5 points (Average = 6.1)

13.) Poland – 27.5 points (Average = 5.5)

14.) Portugal – 27.0 points (Average = 5.4)

15.) Malta – 26.5 points (Average = 5.3)

16.) Italy – 23 points (Average = 4.6)

Do #YOU agree with ESC United that the United Kingdom should win JESC 2023? If not, who do #YOU think should? Let us know in the comments below, on our social media, or in our forum.

  • Junior Eurovision 2022 Reviews: United Kingdom

    All opinions expressed in this article are those of the person quoted and do not necessari…
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