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 7 days to go until Junior Eurovision 2022, and we are counting down the 16 nations who are participating in Yerevan, Armenia on Sunday, December 11, 2022.
Every day we will do an overview of a participating nation in alphabetical order, recapping how they got to Junior Eurovision, a brief history of the nation’s participation, a brief biography of the artist, and finally, our “expert” panel of editors give the entries a score out of 10 and a brief review.
Next up, we review hosts Armenia, whose rub of the green in the junior version of the contest has yet to transfer to the adult version.
Armenia’s history at Junior Eurovision:
Armenia’s run at Junior Eurovision has been excellent. Armenia has never been in the bottom half (Monica Manucharova’s “Im ergi hnchyune” was the median 8th in a field of 15), and has placed in the top three a whopping 7 times out of their 14 appearances since their debut in 2007. L.E.V.O.N.’s “L.E.V.O.N.” from 2018 and Karina Ignatyan’s “Colours of your dream” from 2019 are Armenia’s lowest placing entries at 9th (out of 20 and 19, respectively).
In a way, Armenia is the United Kingdom of the 1950s and 1960s at Junior Eurovision, given they have won twice, come in 2nd four times, and in third twice.
Their first winner, 2010’s “Mama,” performed by Vladimir Arzumanyan, showed how seriously Armenia takes this contest, with “Mama” being produced by their Eurovision 2008 “Qele Qele” (Armenia’s joint-best performance at Eurovision with 4th place) composer DeHova. Arzumanyan did try to make the step up to the adult version, coming in 3rd at Depi Evratesil 2020 with “What’s going on Mama.”
Let’s run through the highlights of Armenia’s entries at JESC since their first victory, and there are many:
- Dalita – “Welcome to Armenia” – 5th – JESC 2011
- Compass Band – “Sweetie Baby” – 3rd – JESC 2012
- Monica Avanesyan – “Choco-Factory” – 6th – JESC 2013
- Betty – “People of the Sun” – 3rd – JESC 2014
- Mika – “Love” Armenian – 2nd – JESC 2015
- Anahit & Mary – “Tarber” (Տարբեր) – 2nd – JESC 2016
And then there is their 2nd winner in Malena’s “Qami Qami.” After her 2020 entry “Why” was withdrawn due to Armenia’s “entanglement” with neighbor Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh at the time, Malena came back with a vengeance, winning with a cool club track.
Before Junior Eurovision 2022:
Nare’s entry “Dance!” was the one of 100 that was selected by an internal jury at AMPTV to represent Armenia at Junior Eurovision 2022.
30 entries were reviewed by a panel of judges including Rosa Linn (Eurovision 2022, whose entry “Snap” became only the 12th Eurovision entry to enter the Billboard Hot 100), Armenia’s Head of Delegation David Tserunyan, AMPTV’s Music Department Head Anushik Ter-Ghukasyan, Dalita (JESC 2011), and Lilith Navasardyan (songwriter for multiple Armenia ESC and JESC entries).
As is typical for Armenia, “Dance!” was one of the last entries announced for Junior Eurovision 2022 on November 12, 2022.
Very little has been announced about the 14 year old Nare Ghazaryan from Yerevan, Armenia.
It remains to be seen if she is one of the many Armenian JESC artists who have received an education in Glendale, California, and if she is, that would be neither here nor there.
As second time hosts, it is evident Armenia have selected a young entrant who has enough experience to be able to compete well enough for a Junior Eurovision title defence.
She was, however, a member of the Swag Kids, a popular Armenian troupe.
The song is called “Dance!” For better or for worse, the vibe matches the song title over the full course of its three minutes. And not any more or less.
“Dance!” is written by Grigor Kyokchyan, who has experience entering the New Wave Contest and who entered The Voice of Armenia in 2014, and produced by Nick Egibyan.
With the background out of the way, here is what we at ESC United think of Albania’s entry for Junior Eurovision 2022.
Providing their thoughts for Junior Eurovision this season: Alice Christine (Washington, D.C.), Boris Meersman (Belgium), Gianluca D’Elia (New York City, New York), James Maude (Los Angeles, California), Roy Postema (The Netherlands), William Carter (Dallas, Texas), and Zephaniah Gabriel (The Philippines).
Alice – 7 – “Upbeat track with an early 2000s vibe that takes me back to when I was a kid.”
Boris – 8 – “I won’t lie. “Qami Qami” and its queerbaiting ways have aged very poorly for me. With that in mind, I was HIGHLY apprehensive about Armenia’s upcoming JESC entry, fearing it would be a carbon copy. My anxiety was largely unfounded. “DANCE!” is fun and refreshingly free of pretenses. It’s precisely what it pretends to be: a dance banger. It makes for a fun host entry that probably won’t do the double W (it’s a bit too basic) but Nare will still provide a reasonable amount of entertainment and that’s all a host entry can hope for.”
Gianluca – 8 – “Armenia has done it again! I had so much fun listening to this song. The song is groovy, radio-friendly, and reminds me a bit of Eden Alene’s national selection entries for Israel.”
James – 9.5 – “If “Qami Qami” is the quintessential pre-teen JESC entry and Bzikebi is the pure musical distillation of childplay, then “Dance!” is the best combination of both. This is a song that aims for Dua Lipa cool but is okay with maintaining the innocence of childhood. “Dance!” is an exercise of dance in and of itself. To be a kid and enjoy the beat, to let yourself go purely as an exercise in kinectism. If you want the sensation of feeling alive as an 11-year-old child, then “Dance!” is your jam.”
Roy – 7.5 – “Another slick, well produced dance banger from Armenia. Add some very impressive vocals from Nare and a catchy chorus and you get anther very competitive song. The structure of the song is also rather unusual. After the second bridge we get a switch-up with an awesome beat with loads of clarity and it just gives you a bit of a different flavour from Nare. I do think it goes on for a tad too long and they could have perhaps added a bit more punch in the final chorus, but this is a very very solid host-entry.”
William – 6.5 – “Listen, I’m not 100% sold on this entire package, but I’m no fool. I have eyes and ears, and it’s clear that Armenia could easily pull off a repeat win. All the elements are there. The song is radio friendly and modern, and the music video is aesthetically on point. The song is missing a little extra smidge of personality, and that’s the big thing keeping me at a distance. Don’t get me wrong. This is quite good. Any other year, I could see this sitting comfortably in my Top 5. But this year, I’m spoiled for choice.”
Zephaniah – 8 – “This is so upbeat that I love it. The bass is so funky and it matches the synths used. The lyrics matches the sound as well and it can provoke you to dance. The rap is a surprise to me helloooo? Overall, good track and a good entry for the host country.”
Total: 54.5 points (Average = 7.786)
Armenia comes in with a healthy average of 7.8 (typically a JESC winner averages more than 7.5 in the ESC United writer pool) and easily takes the lead. But we still have 14 countries to go, and two countries in, here are our current rankings:
1.) ARMENIA – 54.5 points (Average = 7.786)
2.) Albania – 42.5 points (Average = 6.071)
What do #YOU think of Armenia’s title defense? Do #YOU think they could do a Poland and successfully defend their crown? Let us know in the comments below, on social media, or in our forum.