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 11 days 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.

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 JESC powerhouse Armenia, whose love of silver medals at the contest all but guarantees werewolves steer well clear of this mountainous Caucasus nation.

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 9 times out of their 15 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 five 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
  • Misha – “Boomerang” – 6th – JESC 2017
  • Nare – “Dance!” – 2nd – JESC 2022

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 After her 2020 entry “Why” was withdrawn due to Armenia’s “entanglement” with neighbor Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh at the time, Malena came back with a vengeance, winning with a cool club track.

And guess what folks, she’s back!

Before Junior Eurovision 2023:

This year, Armenia’s AMPTV opted for an internal selection. During the summer, they opened the selection to Armenia citizens between the ages of 9 and 14, and required two covers.

The five piece girl group Yan Girls were selected to represent Armenia at Junior Eurovision 2023. Their covers were “Revolting Children” from the film Matilda and “Bang Bang” by Jessie J, Nicki Minaj and Ariana Grande.

A documentary on the selection, called Depi Mankakan Yevratesil 2023 (“Towards Junior Eurovision 2023”) was released on November 12, 2023 on AMPTV.

The Artist:

Yan Girls are a five piece group aged 9 to 11 that are heavily influeced by K-POP and artists such as Blackpink, BTS, Aram MP3 and Dua Lipa.

Yan Girls are Nancy Mnatsakanyan (11), Aida (9), Syuzanna Nikoyan (10), Kamilla Davtyan (11), and Nané Andreasyan (11).

The Song:

“Do It My Way” is an empowerment anthem heavily influenced by K-POP about being confident, strutting about in a manner true to your self, and of course doing things your way.

The songwriters for “Do It My Way” will be familiar – Junior Eurovision 2021 winning Malena (“Qami Qami”) has co-written this song for Yan Girls with her 2021 team Tokionine and Vahram Petrosyan.

Tokionine is the Armenian DJ and producer who owns TKN Records. He also co-wrote Srbuk’s “Walking Out” for Armenia at Eurovision 2019, and as a solo artist tried out in Armenia’s Depi Evratesil 2020 national selection.

He and Malena co-wrote “Do It My Way” with United States based songwriter and record producer Vahram Petrosyan.

With the background out of the way, here is what we at ESC United think of Armenia’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 – This composition combines a compelling anthem with elements of K-pop, resulting in a commendable entry for a contest of this nature. The exuberant energy displayed in the video evokes a reminiscent quality of Blackpink, and it is an aspect I genuinely appreciate.”

Boris – 7.5 – “Armenian-tinged K-pop. Bouncy and fun, the exact type of songs I think kids would like. Excellent! A good fit for JESC. The issue for me though is that once you’ve heard a K-Pop song, you’ve heard all of them. Songs such as these follow a strict formula and once you’ve cracked the code it’s difficult to be excited by them anymore. Songs like these need a good live act in order to come together (which we currently lack) and with Armenia’s solid track record over the past two contests, they just need to be on par in order to do very well here.”

James – 5 – “A fairly bog standard K-pop knock-off that is 25 seconds too short. Those 25 seconds could be used to bring out more individual performances to set each girl apart better, or lead to a better, more powerful outro. There’s a skeleton of a fun kids song here, but in its current form this song is more Limp Bizkit’s “My Way” than Frank Sinatra’s.”

William – 7 – “My struggle with Armenia in JESC is that it often sends songs I think would fit better in the adult contest. And listen … you can’t argue with the results. It’s just a personal preference. You don’t need me to tell you this song is a banger. That’s obvious. These girls are stars, and Armenia knows what it’s doing. Though at the risk of starting an international incident, I will just say that this reminds me more than a little of Efendi’s ‘Mata Hari’ … except written and produced by people who actually know how to have fun.”

Yehonatan – 9.5 – “K-pop? In JESC? Sign me up! It’s easily the best production of a track, which takes great inspiration from K-pop hits combined with Armenian hints, I’m all over it. If they can deliver this with an outstanding live performance, we may very well return to Yerevan next year! The only downside is that it feels almost too adult-like, I wish we got a more mature version of this in ESC that will feel more appropriate.”

Total: 38 points (Average = 7.600)

We have 14 more entries to go, but Armenia has overtaken Albania with a respectable average of 7.600 (ESC United panel reviews of 7.5 and greater are typically entries that are in the talk for winning).

Two countries in, here are our current rankings in editor scores:

1.) ARMENIA – 38.0 points (Average = 7.600)

2.) Albania – 33.5 points (Average = 6.700)

What do #YOU think of “Do It My Way”? Do #YOU think this is a potential JESC winner, or do you think that they should take the highway? Let us know in the comments below, in our forum, or on social media!

Load More Related Articles
Load More By James Maude
Load More In 2023

Leave a Reply

Check Also

Andria Putkaradze Wins Ranina Season 7, Will Represent Georgia at JESC!

Andria Putkaradze has won Season VII of popular Georgian talent show Ranina, and as is the…