Three weeks ago, it was announced that 16 countries would take part in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2017 in Tbilisi. However, an article posted on the official Junior Eurovision website appears to suggest more countries will take part in the contest than originally expected. The opening line of the article states “So far 16 countries have confirmed participation” and later goes to say “However there may well be some other surprise announcements along the way!”
The country that is most likely to confirm participation is Bulgaria. They originally confirmed their participation in the contest back in May. However, they withdrew their confirmation in both the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2017 and the Eurovision Song Conest 2018, due to the election of a new Director-General at BNT. Konstantin Kamenarov was elected to the post just over a week ago. It will be up to him to decide which contests Bulgaria will compete in, if any. It is likely that Bulgaria will take part in the Eurovision Song Contest 2018, due to Kristian Kostov’s second place finish in Kyiv. However, due to the early announcement of this year’s participating countries, it remains to be seen whether Bulgaria will be allowed to part in Tbilisi.
Another country that may appear in this year’s contest is Israel. The country’s current national broadcaster and successor to the now defunct IBA, IPBC, is not an EBU member as it lacks a news division. However, an agreement between the EBU and IPBC was reached in July, which allows Israel to take part in Eurovision events, such as the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Israel was not included on the list of participating countries released on August 9 but could still participate in Tbilisi.
This would not be the first time that a country was added to the Junior Eurovision lineup at the last minute. Georgia, this year’s host country, were only able to debut in the 2007 contest after Bosnia and Herzegovina, another debuting nation, withdrew.
The Head of Delegations meeting is expected to take place in Tbilisi in October. Any other countries wishing to take part in the contest must confirm their participation before the meeting.