So far only 8 countries have confirmed their participation in Junior Eurovision 2012 and another 3 have withdrawn from the contest, but Moldova and FYR Macedonia are yet to voice anything about participating in Amsterdam. This years contest was supposed to be a celebration of a decade of the contest, however so far it has become a sad story of waning interest and financial pressures.
Bulgaria was the 1st to withdraw from this years contest, Bulgaria had returned for the 2011 contest but it seems that a lack of interest from Bulgarian audiences have led to BNT pulling the plug on participation. The next country to announce it would not be in Amsterdam was Latvia, they withdrew due to a lack of interest from both sponsors and the Latvian audience, in a response to a Oikotimes email, the Latvian Head Of Delegation said that they would focus more on ESC than on JESC. Finally Lithuania announced their withdrawal the same day, their Head Of Delegation said that Lithuania had decided that they would not participate from the day after the 2011 contest, they said a lack of interest was the issue and that the timing of the contest meaning that it starts at 22:00 and finishes at 0:00.
So who then has the EBU approached this year to try to take part. Well Portugal was on the list, they were invited but declined due to RTP’s ongoing financial constraints. Finland were on the list too, but they again said no due to issues with the rules of the contest and the way that it’s run. Norway once again this year said no to a return to the contest, NRK once again re-stated that they were not interested in the contest. Italy were on the cards last year for a debut in Yerevan however never came to an agreement with the EBU, they too said no this year to the contest.
Then there is San Marino, the tiny land locked country in the heart of Italy, they were set to debut in 2011 however due to the launch of a new channel appeared to forget about the contest and withdrew. This year they have once again been approached by the EBU, and appear to be the only country interested in debuting this year.
So where does this leave FYR Macedonia and Moldova. Well for FYR Macedonia they are now the only Balkan country left in the contest, Bulgaria has withdrawn and Serbia gave up on it in the build up to the 2011 contest. They are one of the few countries that has been there from the start, there does however appear to be a continuing interest in the contest even if the nation has not managed anything better than 12th in the past 3 years. Do we think they will be in Amsterdam? We have to say a unsure yes.
As for Moldova, since debuting in 2010 they have had the smallest delegation of any competing nation, last year there were just a handful of people. Moldova seems like another likely candidate for withdrawal this year, it looks incredibly likely that Moldova wont be in Amsterdam, even with a respectable 6th place finish in Yerevan.
For now we wont know, however there is a meeting on the 2nd of July where the cost of the event will be outline and participation fees will be decided. The latest that a country can announced their withdrawal comfortably is September as is debuting in the contest.