Meet the schoolgirls taking on the UK’s quest for Eurovision glory.
Hayla and Yazmin, 12, and 13-year-old Maisie make up STAND UNIQU3, who will perform for the UK in today’s Junior Eurovision in Nice.
Having arrived in France last week, the girls say the experience has been “so exciting” and a “dream come true”.
They initially auditioned for the contest individually but were put together after a long process and since then have regularly rehearsed in London.
The girls have been juggling school with rehearsals – something which is continuing in Nice.
The band says they feel the pressure of representing the UK, but Maisie from Essex added: “It’s such an honour to be able to say, ‘oh I’ve represented our country’.”
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Perhaps unlike the main competition, the girls have insisted there are no rivalries and have become best friends in particular with the act from the Netherlands.
“It’s as if it’s not a competition. We’re a big family. It’s honestly like Christmas when you do a board game and all want to win,” Yazmin from Newcastle said.
For Hayla from Liverpool, it is not her family’s first brush with the iconic music competition.
Her grandfather was a backing dancer for the UK entry in 1987.
His advice to her? “Enjoy it and live out the moment.”
After their Eurovision experience, the girls are intent on performing together after forming such a “strong bond”.
Sixteen countries are set to take part in this year’s Junior Eurovision.
The competition was established in 2003 with all participants being between the ages of nine and 14.
Last year, Freya Skye represented the UK with the song Lose My Head – winning the public vote and coming fifth overall. The UK has never won the competition’s 20-year history.