After their successful debut at the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest, Australia joins the Junior Eurovision event for this year, which takes place at 19:30 CET on 21 November in Sofia’s Arena Armeec. Broadcaster SBS will line up with 16 other countries, making it the largest competition since 2007 - and joint second-biggest ever!
The official list of participants is as follows:
Contest supervisor Vladislav Yakovlev says he’s looking forward to welcoming millions of television viewers and fans from around the world joining the event online. "Host broadcaster BNT have been outstanding in their enthusiasm and preparation for the event," Mr Yakovlev said.
"With #discover as the slogan for this year’s contest, we are also thrilled to welcome newcomers Ireland and Australia. Australia is continuing its journey after the tremendous success of Guy Sebastian at the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna earlier this year and is now supporting the future talent of their country. Junior Eurovision has always strived for inclusion and collaboration - having Australia as part of our event shows their commitment to celebrating young and future singing talent and we welcome them to our enthusiastic and growing international group of performers, delegates, media and team members."
Australia's entry will be chosen by EBU Associate Member SBS, and revealed on Friday! Managing Director Michael Ebeid said that SBS has been broadcasting Eurovision for over 30 years, and Junior Eurovision since it began in 2003: "Eurovision is a landmark program for SBS and we’re so proud to be part of an event which brings people together to celebrate creativity and diversity through music. We’re delighted to have secured another opportunity to showcase Australia’s amazing vocal and song-writing talent to the world, this time through an incredibly talented young artist. We look forward to giving Australian audiences a surprise second dose of Eurovision fun this year."
SBS will broadcast the Junior Eurovision Song Contest at 19.30 Saturday 28 November on SBS. Eurovision fans can also tune in to SBS’s LIVE coverage of the contest from Sofia, Bulgaria, at 04.30 Sunday 22 November on SBS - however televoting will not be used. The votes of Australia for this year will be decided 100% by the jury.
As many regular Junior Eurovision followers will know, a delegation from MTVA Hungary has observed the contest for the past two years. "Unfortunately, due to major restructuring at MTVA, our colleagues there simply did not have the production capacity to choose an entrant and take part this year," added Vladislav Yakovlev. "We are very hopeful however that we will be able to welcome them in 2016". MTVA has re-branded many of its main channels, and launched a new dedicated sports service, since March.
Croatia, Cyprus, and Sweden will also all not take part this year after appearing in Malta. "We continue to talk with our colleagues at these broadcasters, as we do with the wider EBU membership, about taking part in Junior Eurovision. We do however understand that some are not able to secure budget for this project every year, and we hope to have them back in the future" he added.
On Friday the Junior Eurovision Head of Delegation meeting will take place in Sofia, during which the stage design and postcard concepts, among others, will be formally presented.