Jon Ola Sand gave yet another press conference in Minsk, Belarus, ahead of The Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2018. Among all the questions asked, talk of Kazakhstan and Wales in particular seemed most dominant throughout the press conference, as well as Belarus of course.
The question that everyone wanted to know was: Will Kazakhstan participate in The Eurovision Song Contest? And the answer was rather simple really, as Jon Ola Sand said himself "Kazakhstan will not be participating in Eurovision 2019".
He went on to elaborate and say that he was in discussions with the EBU and reference group for The Eurovision Song Contest about possibly making an exception to allow Kazakhstan to participate in future contests, as they have done so with Australia.
As Kazakhstan's broadcaster is not a full member of the EBU, only an associate member, they would need to be granted this exception and permission from the EBU. But as of now, nothing is set in stone.
Now we move on to the second debutante country in this year's Junior Eurovision, Wales, and there seems to be a real buzz around Wales at the moment. Wales have been able to join The Junior Eurovision family thanks to their national Welsh speaking broadcaster, S4C, which has a partnership (of sorts) with the BBC, who are the broadcaster for the United Kingdom in The Eurovision Song Contest.
Wales have been very well received at their first ever Junior Eurovision, and they have been welcomed in with open arms. But have you ever wondered what would happen to Wales if the BBC decided to return to Junior Eurovision? Again, the answer is simple, as Jon Ola Sand said: "If the BBC would like to come back to Junior Eurovision, they would of course be representing the whole of the United Kingdom, which includes Wales, and so the United Kingdom would be the priority over Wales."
But was anything else talked about, besides Kazakhstan and Wales? Well of course! There was obvious talk of Belarus and their hosting of this years contest, as well as the hosting of next years contest. As of yet, the host for next year's Junior Eurovision has not been decided, but "there is serious interest from many countries". Jon Ola Sand has informed us that he will meet with the steering group after this years contest to talk all things Junior Eurovision 2019! There's no rest for this man!
With regards to this years hosting, Jon Ola Sand has been very impressed with the organisation and staging of the contest, and how easy and straightforward everything has been so far. He has been following the preparations for Belarus since last year, and despite there being a small team in Minsk, "everything is being taken care off" and he can relax a little. And according to Mr Sand, Belarus are more than ready to host Eurovision, should they win.
So, what does the future look like for Junior Eurovision? Well, as you know, this year we have seen a record number of participating countries (20), and if any more countries would like to participate in the future, they would do everything they can to make this possible, even if means adding semi finals to Junior Eurovision, which Jon Ola Sand said could be a possibility in the future.
So for now, Jon Ola Sand is happy with the contest and with the way things are going. Their main aim at the moment is to just make sure that all of the kids taking part are happy and enjoying themselves, and that they are not feeling too much stress or pressure.
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