Category Archives: Bulgaria

Bulgaria: It’s “Kismet” for Elitsa and Stoyan

As announced back in February, Bulgaria’s representatives for Eurovision 2013 would be their 2007 alums, Elitsa Todorova and Stoyan Yankulov.  Three songs were in the running to best the high water mark set by their ethno-electronica entry “Voda“, which gave the nation its highest placement on a Eurovision scoreboard.

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News from Bulgaria: Elitsa and Stoyan Return!

Few nations have had luck as rough as Bulgaria has in Eurovision.  Since their debut in 2005, they have only qualified for the Finals once, when Elitsa Todorova and Stoyan Yankoulov stormed to a 5th-place finish with “Water” (Or “Voda”, if you want to be all Bulgarian about it).  The ethnic-infused techno number, with its heavy drumming and hypnotic vocals, has been the nation’s highest result so far.  Since then, broadcaster BNT has sent popera, house, pop-rock, and chalga, all trying to duplicate what Elitsa and Stoyan accomplished in 2007, and all failing to hit that high-water mark. Read the rest of this entry

Bulgaria has decided: it’s Sofi Marinova!

Bulgaria hosted their National Final in a midweek program, and a dozen songs competed for the right to represent the country in Baku.  The nation has only passed through the semifinals once (with 2007’s “Voda“), and only missed out on last year’s Final by a slim, six-point margin.  Who would succeed the fantastic Poli Genova in Bulgaria? Read the rest of this entry

Bulgaria Picks its Dozen Finalists

Bulgarian broadcaster BNT held their semifinal today, where 22 songs competed for one of only twelve spots in the February 29 Final.  Making it through this marathon semi and into the next round were:

Eurovision 2011: The Best of the Rest (Part 1)

Like many Eurovision fans and fanatics (myself included), the period between the end of May and the beginning of December is often a melancholy bit of time while we wait for news on the next year’s edition and constantly re-hash the events of the past.  For me, this is the perfect time to look back on the songs that didn’t quite make it to Düsseldorf this year; some of these also-rans are just as entertaining or endearing as the tunes that made the journey to the main event.  Out of the forty-three nations that sent songs to Germany this year, thirty-four of them had national selections (and the rest, like France, Belarus, Turkey, et cetera, were internal selections made behind closed doors).  Needless to say, there’s a lot of ground to cover!  So, starting alphabetically…

Albania: For me, the Albanian Preselection (or Festivali i Këngës) is one of the more underrated events of the Eurovision year.  It occurs early in the ESC cycle (generally falling around Boxing Day), and it tends to involve both young, fresh faces as well as veteran performers.  This year’s FiK winner was Aurela Gaçe’s “Kënga Ime”, which eventually became the epic, aquiline “Feel the Passion“.  However, in second place this year was the lovely duet “Ende ka shpresë (There is Still Hope)”, written and performed by Alban Skenderaj and Miriam Cani.  

I don’t know if this song would have been translated into English (as so many other Albanian entries have been over the past few years), but if it had, it could have possibly given Azerbaijan’s Ell and Nikki a run for their money.  
(And, for the record, another personal favorite of mine was Kamela Islamaj’s “Jetova per te dy (I Lived for Us)”, which came in 10th place in the FiK.  While it might not have gone over as well in the ESC as “Ende ka shpresë”, I absolutely love Kamela’s soulful, bluesy, voice.)
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Chatting with Poli Genova and crew

I met Poli and her posse back at the Euroclub a few nights back, so I already knew how awesome they are, but I’m loving the backup performers’ costumes! 

New Videos/Versions for Bulgaria, Russia, Slovenia, Poland, and Belarus

Over the past few days, a number of official videos have been released for some of this year’s entries (and we’re still expecting ones from Israel, the UK, Armenia, Sweden, and Azerbaijan).  Plus, we’ve got new translations for a few entries!  Let’s get right to it:

Starting off, Bulgaria’s Poli Genova released the official clip for “Na Inat (For Spite)”, and I must say that I’m really impressed!

This new video blends the anthemic pop-rock vibe of Poli’s National Final performance with the universal message of “we can change the world together” that is all-so-prevalent in Eurovision.  Those who don’t understand Bulgarian (like me, for example) will be able to hone into Poli’s meaning pretty easily (if Miss Genova releasing a dove at the end doesn’t hammer it home, you might need your head checked). 

Next, Russia’s Alexey Vorobyov (aka “Alex Sparrow”) released his video for “Get You”, although it looks to be a poor re-edit of the clip for his song “Bam Bam!“.

If you’re going to use clips from your previous singles for your Eurovision promo video, an artist had better make sure that it’s a convincing edit.  The best example of this would have to be the Ukraine’s 2009 clip for “Be My Valentine“, which took pieces from Svetlana Loboda’s earlier songs “Ne Macho“, “Postoy, Muschina!“, and “Mishka“, with only little snippets of new footage.  For “Get You”, however, the lip-syncing seems off, and (for lack of a better word), this just seems sleazy.  Ok, Alex, we get it.  You’re good looking, you likely have your pick of any woman in Russia, and you could probably kick the teeth out of someone who would get in your way.  Good for you.  Moving on…

Oh, Slovenia…you had such promise.  I loved the original Slovene version of your entry “Vaniljia”, and even when it was translated into English, I could look past a few pronunciation errors and still appreciate Maja Keuc’s powerful vocals and dramatic flair.  But the official video…

If the cast from “Mission: Impossible” and “Twilight” had a love child and let her run free in a Renaissance Festival, I imagine the result would look a lot like the clip for “No One”.  Maja looks beautiful, as always, but this video just makes me just want to scratch my head and go “huh?”.  If you remember my commentary on last year’s Macedonian video, the same sentiment goes for this clip. 

The Polish delegation has just released the second English-language version of their song “Jestem“.  After “First Class Ticket To Heaven” was panned by Eurovision fans worldwide (it was enough of a disaster that all versions of it have been removed from YouTube, in fact!), their second attempt, “Present“, is a significant improvement.  The song will still be performed in Magdalena Tul’s native Polish, however.

Finally, the Belorussian team working with Anastasiya Vinnikova has just released a Belorussian-language version of their entry “I Love Belarus”, entitled “Мая Беларусь (My Belarus)“.  (That might have set the record for the amount of times that the word “Belarus” has been written in a single sentence.  I expect a statue in my honor to be built in Minsk by this time next week.)  The song will still be performed in English.  Whether that’s a good thing or not still remains to be seen.

More to come!

It’s Poli Genova for Bulgaria!

The next song and artist to enter the official 2011 Eurovision line-up comes from Bulgaria.  After a 19-song marathon of a National Final in Sofia, young Poli Genova took the title with her song “Na Inat (Stubborn)”.

Poli is no stranger to competition; she was the runner-up for the Bulgarian National Selection back in 2009 with the song “One Lifetime is Not Enough“, and she was also part of the group that represented Bulgaria in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest back in 2007.  They grow up so quickly, don’t they?

Last year, Bulgaria failed to reach the Finals with local star Miro and his song “Angel Si Ti”.  In fact, Bulgaria has only managed to reach the Finals once in their entire Eurovision history (2007’s “Voda“, which reached an impressive 5th place).  Do you think Poli will take “Na Inat” back to the heights that Elitsa and Stoyan took Bulgaria four contests ago?

ESC 2010 Reviews: Bulgaria

Who would have guessed that the hardest entry to write so far (and, therefore, my delay in putting this post out) would be Bulgaria, of all places?  It’s not because I’ve got a massive wealth of information to choose from, like with my entries on Belgium or Bosnia & Herzegovina, that’s for sure.  Bulgaria made its Eurovision debut in 2005, making this only the sixth entry for the country.  It’s not that they’ve had a massive impact on the contest, for better or for worse.  They’ve only had one real positive “standout” entry, their 2007 percussion-heavy and techno-inspired song “Voda/Water“, which took Bulgaria to their highest placing ever, a very impressive 5th place.  This was also the first time that the Bulgarian language was used on the ESC stage (which, as an unabashed language geek, makes me happy to see).

With the exception of “Voda”, Bulgaria’s entries over the past few years have left me somewhat cold, frankly.  Even this year’s song, “Ангел си ти” (“Angel Si Ti”/”You’re An Angel”, performed by Bulgarian heartthrob Miro), which is a pleasant, yet generally standard uptempo Europop song, hangs around the middle of the pack.  It’s not bad, by any stretch, but it’s not earth-shattering, either.  I’ll let you be the judge, of course!
Miro Angel si ti from Bulgoc on Vimeo.

It will be sung near the end of the particularly strong Second Semifinal, where it will have to fight with heavy hitters like Israel, Armenia, Turkey, Sweden, and Denmark for the right to make it to the finals.  It is slated to be performed immediately after Ireland and right before Cyprus, who will both be offering slower, more emotionally charged songs.  Will this help Miro stand out, or will he be like the little cup of sorbet served between two heavy courses in a banquet, doomed to be an afterthought compared to the rest the meal?  In this case, I really think that it will come down to the staging and presentation.  Miro’s an established performer and well-known name in parts of Eastern Europe (not to mention easy on the eyes), so if he can make Oslo love him as much as Sofia does, he might be able to take Bulgaria into the finals for the first time since “Voda”.  Or he might just be like audio cotton candy, with the sugary floss dissolving into nothingness.