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JESC 2017 | 16 countries to grace the stage in Georgia!

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) today announced that a total of 16 countries will be taking part in this years Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Portugal will be making a surprise return to the contest after a 10-year absence. Portugal first took part in Junior Eurovision 2006, finishing in 14th place out of 15 countries, managing only 10 points. In 2007, they finished 16th out of 17 countries with only 3 points.

The 16 participating countries of Junior Eurovision 2017:

1. Albania

2. Armenia

3. Australia

4. Belarus

5. Cyprus

6. Georgia

7. Ireland

8. Italy

9. Macedonia

10. Malta

11. Netherlands

12. Poland

13. Portugal

14. Russia

15. Serbia

16. Ukraine

Will any more countries be participating?

At the moment, there has been no announcement by the EBU on whether or not more countries will be taking part.

Israel initially showed an interest in participating in this years contest, but it is unsure whether or not they will have a suitable broadcaster ready in time.

Bulgaria have had a lot of success since their return to the contest in 2014, narrowly missing out on winning in 2014 by only 12 points! But earlier this year, Bulgaria withdrew when a new general director was appointed.

New voting procedure:

There will also be a change to the voting system. Last years contest saw the removal of the televote, with only jury votes. There was a professional jury, a kids jury and a professional panel made up of Christer Björkman (Eurovision participant for Sweden in 1992 and Show Producer of Eurovision 2013); Jewdard (Irish representatives in 2011 and 2012) and Mads Grimstad (A classically-trained singer from Denmark).

For this years contest, the EBU have announced that the public vote will be brought back in the form of an online voting system. This system will open on Friday 24/11 and will stop on Sunday 26/11 at 15:59 CET. It will start again for 15 minutes after the last country has performed. This will make up 50% of the overall vote along with a 50% jury vote.

Change of venue:

Earlier this year, the Georgian Broadcaster GBP announced that the contest would be held in the Tbilisi Sports Palace that can hold up to 10,000 people. However, it has now been confirmed that the contest will take place in the smaller and more intimate 4,000-seat Olympic Palace due to it's suitability for such an event.

Jon Ola Sand, the EBU's Head of Live Events and Executive Supervisor of the JESC, had this to say:

"We are thrilled to be celebrating 15 editions of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Throughout the Contest’s history we have seen some incredibly talented children perform, some of whom are now successful artists in their own right. The new voting system is an exciting new addition that will allow millions of viewers to take part in the show once again”.

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