Russian contestant in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest selected at Artek

Anna Filipchuk, a young vocalist from Barnaul, has won the national qualifying round of the 2018 Junior Eurovision Song Contest held in Artek on June 3. Twelve finalists from various Russian regions competed for the title.

In the finals of the national qualifying round, the young contestants performed for the public and the jury previously unreleased songs they also helped write. According to the rules of the contest, each song was written in the style of modern European popular music and included no more than 25% of lyrics in English. Anna Filipchuk, 13, from Barnaul scored 9.9% of the vote for the song “Invincible.”

“It has not yet fully sunk in,” the winner of the contest said, sharing her emotions. “I love this song so much, it evokes bright emotions and teaches me to believe in myself and never give up. The composer seemed to know my thoughts. The song ‘Invincible’ is basically about me. And I had such support from the audience! The incredible wave of applause just deafened me! It was unforgettable.”

Music is something Anna does for fun, and she is not planning to devote her life to it just yet. She is only in grade 7, and has recently changed schools – she now attends school in Italy, but is still taking vocal lessons with her Russian teacher. “In our school, all subjects are taught in English, and knowing this language has helped me better understand the song and convey all the emotions to the audience,” said the finalist. She is certain that if the singer gets joy from their own performance, it is bound to be successful. “It is also important to check your nerves,” she advised. “Many kids here were obviously nervous, and it affected their performance. And you certainly need to work hard to prepare. Then everything will turn out right.”

Yelizaveta Kuklishina, 12, from Simferopol, represented the Republic of Crimea. The young performer considers it a great honor to represent her region in such a high-profile competition. “I was not at all upset when I heard the results. I really wanted to sing on the big stage at Artek, and I did it. I was definitely nervous today, and my voice was shaking, but I managed to cope with the nerves after a while. It's great that this contest was held in Artek – there is such a friendly audience, so many people were supporting and rooting for us. The atmosphere was warm and friendly – they held up posters, filmed us with their phones, and applauded.”

The winner of the contest, who will represent Russia in the final of Junior Eurovision, was determined by adding up the results of the week’s internet voting at and the jury’s votes. This year, the young contestants were evaluated by Igor Krutoi, Larisa Dolina, Sergei Lazarev, Oleg Gazmanov, Nikolai Baskov, and Polina Bogusevich, 14, who won the 2017 Junior Eurovision with 188 points for the song “Wings.”

“To be on the jury of such a large project is a first for me,” Polina said. “I was even a bit lost initially – how many points should I award? But there were professionals next to me who helped me. My evaluation criterion was emotion above all, and the song should carry a message. I sat on the jury and remembered how I stood on the same stage last year, how nervous I was.”

Congratulating the winner of the contest, the other successful singers shared words of encouragement and advice with contest participants and all kids in Artek.

Nikolai Baskov: “Believe in miracles, they will come true for those who believe. Be healthy, happy. And always make your parents proud.”

Larisa Dolina: “One of the contestants had a motto, which I think would be good for everyone: never give up and believe in yourself. But this requires a lot of work. Talent and ability, unfortunately, is not enough. You need commitment and diligence in the work that you are doing. In that case you’re bound to win, absolutely.|”

Oleg Gazmanov, who was in Artek in 1966, also advised all the kids to dream because dreams come true: “I dreamed that I would someday come on the stage, look at the audience and see my reflection in the eyes of the people who look at me. I dreamed that all of them would sing along to at least one of my songs. I would say my dream has come true. It's so great to be here today, let Artek stay like this forever!”

The 16th Junior Eurovision Song Contest will be held in 2018. The final will take place in the capital of Belarus, Minsk, on November 25. The qualifying round is organized by Igor Krutoi’s Popular Music Academy team. Artek is hosting the final of the national qualifications for Junior Eurovision for the third time.