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Backstage host: I want to become president of Ukraine

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It is hard to imagine something impossible for the young and highly ambitious Artem Nikiforov. He attends one of the best universities of the country, studied in the US, speaks English freely, and plans to become a prominent politician. He is certain that there are no professions one can’t have experience in, and knows the recipe for rational usage of one’s time: less sleep, more work. He and Kateryna Tymoshenko will guide the Internet users in the exciting journey behind the scenes of the 2009 Junior Eurovision Song Contest. 

The already-traditional question to all hosts of the 2009 Junior Eurovision Song Contest: do you remember the moment when you found out Ukraine will host the contest, what emotions did you have at the time?

It is a pity that the Junior Eurovision Song Contest has much less media coverage than adult version of it. To be honest, I found out about the contest by accident, from my father, who watched NTU and saw the ad for casting of the hosts for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. I am very pleased that the event takes place in Ukraine. This gives us a chance to show ourselves, to prove that we’re worth of being called a European country, that we’re able to organise large-scale, nice, non-political show. 

Why did you decide to take part in the casting?

In Kherson, my native city, I worked at the regional TV station, at the Skifia regional state-owned TV and radio station. But later on I decided that journalism is not what I want to do in my life, that I am more interested in legal career path. I had an excellent opportunity to get to the Institute of International Relations at the Kyiv Shevchenko national university, to the international law department. For more than a year I haven’t done anything linked to the media but it still catches up with me. And so it happens that now I am the host for 2009 Junior Eurovision Song Contest. I didn’t plan this, I didn’t search for a TV job, it happened by chance, but I am proud of this. 

Why do you think the jury chose you in this stiff competition with many gifted contestants?

Yes, the competition was unbelievable. I do not know why I was selected, which qualities attracted the jurors. My parents have always said that I am very artistic person; this was their unbiased, impartial opinion. As I was told later on by Ruslan Tkachenko, the producer of 2009 Junior Eurovision Song Contest, in the casting they looked first of all for investigative qualities. It is very good that they’ve found such qualities in me. 

Do you have any experience of hosting large events?

Yes, I do have such experience. Not a large experience, but I have the ambition to handle this in very best way. Therefore I am confident that I’ll have no problems regarding lack of experience. 

How are you preparing for the Final on the 21st of November?

This is a very interesting question. I am browsing through the well-known US show The Late Late Show broadcast by CBS and hosted by Craig Ferguson. He is very interesting and full of energy. In essence, there is a studio with a camera and many people, and the host discusses every possible issue and news. And he runs the discussion in such a way that everyone is interested and enjoying themselves. Watching this I am getting closer to the image that I think will be good for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. I mean, the improvisatory, light high-quality skill, easiness and humour. I am absorbing this experience, and this is good preparation.

But Craig’s audience is different to yours? You will have to deal with kids, so you will have somewhat different specifics, which assume different tactics for competition hosting. Do you have any experience of contact with children?

Considering my age, I don’t have extensive experience in contacting with kids. I think I must know for myself what could be interesting for a child. A child wouldn’t find funny political or economic jokes. What does a child need? Funny facial expressions and a conversation about something they really know. So I will try to base my contact on the things which would be interesting for the participants.

And this is, undoubtedly, the music. Who would you rather be for the 2009 Junior Eurovision Song Contest participants a friend, a teacher, a helper or an impartial judge? 

By all means, a friend-dash-a-person who wants to entertain them. Not their teacher, in any case.

There is only one winner. The other twelve participants will be defeated. How will you support these who didn’t win this year?

The spirit of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest is that there is one winner, and the others are the participants with high-quality entries. It’s not like there are three top places and all the others have been defeated. The goal of it is to participate. The main thing is that a child’s presentation of their country is well-run, that a child does the best they can. And this is what I and my co-host Kateryna Tymoshenko must show in the Internet-broadcast.

Katya said in her interview that you didn’t know each other before the casting and that you are yet to have joint preparation.  How do you plan to stage your interaction with her?

Though we did not know each other before the casting, now we’re friends, we cultivate our relations... in the professional sense, of course. I don’t think we’ll have any issues here. I have personal experience of working with new presenters. I mean, when you meet the co-host first time it’s in the rehearsal and second time it’s on the stage of the event. This depends on the professional level. And the ability to support your partner does not depend on the time that you know each other. It’s just that you must be attentive, you must keep in mind that you’re not alone in front of the camera. It won’t be hard. Our short acquaintance won’t interfere with our job. Possibly, it would even help to find some interesting improvisation lines. 

Do you see your future with the TV at all, or you would rather take a legal career?

I think I will have no difficulty in joining these two things. If I were offered to be presenter on the level of Craig Ferguson, I would have ditched the legal career instantly, putting all my efforts into the show. I consider the TV as an option.

Tell us about yourself.

I am a second-year student at the Institute of International Relations, learning International Law. I should have been in my third year, but since I was away, I lost one year. So that people don’t have questions, I tell everybody that I repeated my fifth grade in the school. I am keen on politics, news, legal matters. I am not working now, but I take part in legal practice. Soon we’ll have Student Committee elections in the institute, so possibly I will engage in community work.

Do you want to stay at the institute, possibly, to get academic degree, start teaching?

Why not. To get academic degree in Ukraine this is not only honourable and pleasant thing, it also opens up new paths. But I don’t think about this now. In the nearest future I want to become the President of Ukraine and to build my political career.

In your opinion, what is common between a lawyer and a host of 2009 Junior Eurovision Song Contest?

I am always attracted by public events, ever since my childhood. And being public is something I’ve discovered before going legal and before being a presenter. Being a lawyer, a host, a politician these things are linked, it’s all public work. And taking up one career does not mean entirely leaving the others. In Ukraine, these directions aren’t entirely separate, one can join them.

The key thing is to have enough strength and inspiration.

I most certainly have. The equation is as follows: during the weekend you sleep fourteen hours, while on the weekdays you sleep between four and five hours. This is most optimal lifestyle. Because you pay maximum attention to your matters during the week and the same time have maximum rest during the weekend. During the week you don’t miss any event, you’re right where it is happening, while on the weekends, when there is nothing interesting, you’re resting and gaining strength. 

What is the Junior Eurovision Song Contest for you?

I am very happy and thrilled that we host the Junior Eurovision. I am proud that it takes place in Ukraine. It’s good that there is such contest, it is something to balance the adult events and gives kids a chance to rise to prominence.

The Junior Eurovision Song Contest is just in a bit over a week. The young contestants will start rehearsing already in the beginning of next week to be ready to take the stage on Saturday, the 21st of November at 20:15 CET. Be sure to stay tuned for our reports from Kyiv, Ukraine!

tags 2009 Kyiv hosts news interview Artem Nikiforov