For the first time, ERR will send an Estonian representative to participate in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. On Sunday, November 26, Arhanna, who comes from Räpina (Põlva County), will perform in front of a pan-European audience, with Estonians also able to vote for her online.
This year's Junior Eurovision will take place in Nice, France. Unlike the main Eurovision Song Contest, there are no semi-finals , with participants from all 16 participating countries appearing in the grand final concert on November 26.
"I enjoy singing and imagine being alone somewhere with lots of people around," said Arhanna Sandra Arbma, who is representing Estonia, as she prepares for the big performance.
Winner of ETV children's singing competition "Stage of Stars" (Tähtede lava), Räpina-born Arhanna has been singing since she was young. Besides music, she also likes drawing and making videos. "Whatever I do, I do it with my heart," she said.
The voting system at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest is different to the one used in the regular Eurovision competition. "Unlike in Eurovision [in Junior Eurovision], Estonians are also able to vote for an Estonian song. It's all done through online voting," explained producer Laura Kõrvits, who added that the audience's votes are crucial.
Voting starts on November 24 on the Junior Eurovision website and remains open until the beginning of the live broadcast on November 26. "Then the voting will be closed for a short time and once all the songs have been played, there will be another 15 minutes to vote." In addition to the online voting, there will also be a jury in each country, comprised of both adults and children.
Arhanna will represent Estonia in this year's competition song with the "Hoiame kokku" ("Let's stick together"). She wrote the original melody herself, with lyrics by her friend Rael Laikre.
"We were bored one night and thought we'd make a song," she said. The version that will be performed at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, was developed by Karl-Ander Reismann and the lyrics edited by Leelo Tungal. According to Arhanna, the idea behind the song is simple: "Let's stick together - that way we have hope."
Karmel Killandi, editor-in-chief of ERR's live broadcasts believes what makes the song special is that it was originally a collaboration between the two friends. "It brings a special soul to it."
While Estonia is only taking part in the Junior Eurovision for the first time this year, it has been the aim for some time.
"I'm really happy that we're taking part for the first time this year. It's still very hard to say whether it will become a tradition. I really hope it will," said Killandi. She added that the charm of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest is that, in addition to bringing talented young people to perform in Europe, it also boosts creativity here in Estonia.
"You have to submit a brand new song to the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Because of that, there will be more songs for young people and children in Estonia."
Arhanna and her team will be leaving for France a week before the show, in order to start rehearsals and to film "video postcards" involving all the participants.
The Junior Eurovision Song Contest will be broadcast live on November 26 at 5 p.m. on ETV2 and ETV+ as well as ERR's Estonian site.
Editor: Michael Cole