Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, France, FYR Macedonia, Georgia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, The Netherlands and Wales — the highest number of countries in the history of the competition — will take part in the 2018 Junior Eurovision Song Contest at the 15,000 seat Minsk Arena.
Having won the competition twice before, Belarus are among the few countries who have won the Junior Eurovision Song Contest multiple times, along with Russia and Malta, who have also won twice. Georgia have won a record three times.
Kazakhstan and Wales will both take part for the first time.
Returning to the competition is Israel, after competing earlier in 2012 and 2016, 2019 Eurovision Song Contest Host Broadcaster KAN joins Junior Eurovision. Since Israel won the the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, it remains to be seen if they can snatch not one but two Eurovision trophies in one year.
Jon Ola Sand, the EBU’s Head of Live Events and Executive Supervisor of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, said: “We are delighted to have a record-breaking 19 countries taking part in the 16th Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Since the contest began in 2003 we have been thrilled to see a wealth of young talented performers take to the stage, some of whom have gone on to represent their countries in the Eurovision Song Contest. We are looking forward to seeing the next generation of young musical talent shine in the 2018 contest at the Minsk Arena in Belarus.”
Following their win with Polina Bogusevich at last year’s contest, Russia return to defend their title in Belarus.
The contestants will look to emulate the success of previous Junior Eurovision artists, including Ieva Zasimauskaitė, who sang backing vocals for Lithuanian participant Lina Joy in 2007 and went on to represent her country at the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 in Lisbon.
As in previous years, the winner of this year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest will be invited to perform at the next Eurovision Song Contest.
The full list of the participating countries (and their respective EBU Member and Associate Broadcasters):