After the press conference in the fourth day of Junior Eurovision 2019 rehearsals, our representative Kamil had a pleasure to speak to Mr Jon Ola Sand, who’s in the European Broadcasting Union played a role of Eurovision and Junior Eurovision Executive Supervisor since 2011. Now as he steps down and goes back to work in his home country of Norway, we are glad he agreed for a short interview. How does he see the Norwegians in the future of Eurovision and the possible results of Junior Eurovision’s growing popularity?
PFE: Mr Sand, it’s nice to see you here in Gliwice. Firstly, congratulations on those years you’ve worked on Eurovision, it’s been really nice to follow your work and it’s kind of sad to see you coming back home to Norway. This leads to a question though – what are your expectations from working in Norway? Because for example, in Eurovision it’s been a successful past for Norway now and you scored very well in the televote this year. How do you see your future in Norway and the future of Eurovision for Norway?
Jon Ola Sand: Well, I have no special sort of expectations for Norway. I know they work so hard, as many other countries do, to find the best act, the best song and the best performance. I know they would like to win it, I know they would like to host it. They hosted back in 2010 and they really want to do it now. But in my position now I don’t focus on Norway or any other country. When I go back, I can be maybe a bit more patriotic (laughs). It’s not all on my list now.
PFE: You’ve mentioned a huge interest in Junior Eurovision Song Contest – in Spain, but also in Poland and Kazakhstan. But doesn’t this fact mean the online voting could be somehow a little bit unfair for the countries with lower interest and their participants who are even expected to do well? They could lost due to a low popularity. Do you think it’s a right way for a kids contest?
Jon Ola Sand: For Junior Eurovision I think it is a good system, it’s good for the young viewers and it engages outside of Europe as well, so since you have to vote for more than one, you have to vote for a minimum of three, then it balances out. When you come from a big market you have to anyway add for votes from other countries. If you think it’s not a good system – At least it is exciting and we do have the juries that balance it out. We’re happy now and maybe in some years we’re able to value it more. For me it’s to underline that participating broadcasters and countries in this topic have no complains, they think it is a good system. It’s not something I invented, we’d discussed it with participating broadcasters a long time before we implemented it. So overall, I think it’s a good system and it engages younger viewers a lot.
PFE: And lastly, due to a growing popularity of Junior Eurovision, do you think it is likely to see more and more countries participating in the future? To increase it to 25 countries or more?
Jon Ola Sand: Then we’d have to do a rule change, because we did it that last year allowing 20 countries, I’d like to see it growing but I don’t want it to be too big and complicated. When you go beyond 20 countries, it becomes complicated to host it. And we have to make sure Junior Eurovision can travel around and be staged in all the different markets, so we’ll see – if the interest is growing, then we have to adopt it.
PFE: Thank you very much for your time.