With only 6 months to go until the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2018 in Minsk, Belarus, let's take a look at which countries will be taking part, and which countries will be sitting this year's contest out.
So far, a total of 11 countries have confirmed their participation in Junior Eurovision 2018, with one country returning and one country making their debut:
2. Belarus (host country)
France is making their return to the contest after a 14 year absence. They took part in the contest once, in Lillehammer, Norway in 2004. 14 year old Thomas Pontier with his song "Si On Voulait Bien" finished in a respectable 6th place out of 18 participating countries, and managed to get points from every other country!
Wales will be making their Junior Eurovision debut in Belarus! The Welsh broadcaster S4C have announced that they will be holding a national final "Chwilio am Seren" (Search For a Star) to find their act for Belarus. They will be singing in the Welsh language.
In a tweet that was sent out by the Bulgarian broadcaster BNT on May 19th, they stated that not only are they not planning to compete in Junior Eurovision 2018 but that they are not planning on returning to Junior Eurovision in the immediate future.
Denmark took part in the contest from 2003-2005, achieving 2 top 5 placings, and even hosted the debut contest in Copenhagen in 2003. However, Jan Lagermand Lundme, head of Entertainment for Danish broadcaster DR has said this about Denmark's future in Junior Eurovision:
"Now, never say never, but as long as the show is, as it is now, I’m definitely not going to compete again. The values that we put in Denmark in a program for children do not match the values of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest… It seems that the children are on stage and play adults instead of acting as children, and we think that is fundamentally wrong. Children must be children, they should not try to strive to be something they are not. It’s super bad for us, because we really wanted to be part of the show.
On February 28, 2018, Lithuanian broadcaster LRT announced they would not be returning to the contest. Audrius Giržadas, executive producer for LRT has said:
"This contest has become a clone of the main Eurovision Song Contest and has nothing to do with childhood, little girls go on stage with clipped hairs, glued eyelashes and bare belly, copying Beyoncé and Christina Aguilera – this is not an event that we would like to participate in."
Slovenian broadcaster RTVSLO announced that they would not be returning to the contest, citing recent rule changes as their reason for withdrawing.
Switzerland took part in the contest on only one occasion in 2004. Demis Mirarchi was internally chosen by Swiss Italian broadcaster RSI. Singing "Birichino" (Mischievous), he finished in 16th place out of 18 participating countries with only 4 points, awarded to them from Malta. The broadcaster has stated that they will not be returning to the contest.
Romania, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom have all stated that they are not interested in returning to the contest whilst Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland and Germany have all stated that they will not be making their Junior Eurovision debut in 2018.
Albania, Australia, Cyprus, Italy, Macedonia, Malta and Ukraine all took part in the 2017 contest but have yet to announce whether or not they will be participating in the 2018 contest.
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