Last week, Bulgarian National Television announced that it had internally selected Elitsa Todorova and Stoyan Yankoulov to represent Bulgaria at this year’s Eurovision. On March 3 (a major holiday in Bulgaria), three songs will compete in a national selection to determine which one they will sing. Today the duo finally presented them to the public.

Elitsa and Stoyan have a very unique musical style, which is both their blessing and their curse. It comes through in each of the three songs, each of which was  partly written by Elitsa and arranged by Stoyan. Just like with their 2007 entry “Water”, each song combines traditional Bulgarian folk, crazy drum rhythms, and modern electronic samples. It’s a unique blend for Eurovision, which will definitely make Bulgaria’s performance stick out during the second semi-final. The problem, however, is that most Eurovision listeners (especially those outside the Balkan region) are not used to this style, and may find it to be quite strange and annoying. Elitsa’s singing voice is about as stereotypical “Bulgarian folk” as you can get…but to those who don’t appreciate or understand it, it can sound like high-pitched, meaningless screeching. Granted, they did surprisingly well back in 2007, but none of the three songs they are offering this year are as dynamic or interesting as “Water”.

That being said, let’s take a peak at Bulgaria’s three potential entries this year, shall we?

Song #1: Dzupai Libe Boso

This song starts off decent enough, but never ends up going anywhere. Actually, I take that back—it DOES go somewhere. In fact, it actually gets worse as it continues! As soon as the “rappers” came in, I knew Bulgaria would fail in the semis with this. The song is boring, and the rappers are embarrassingly pathetic. Please, Bulgaria, do NOT send this!

Song #2: Kismet

Another bad and weak choice for Bulgaria. The song starts out like a warm-up session for a Bulgarian folk-singing class, because nothing happens in the first half except Elitsa and her backing vocals singing long, drawn-out notes. Things pick up in the second-half, but the incredibly boring first-half ruins the whole thing for me.

Song #3: Samo Shampioni

Out of the three songs, this is the only one that stands a chance in Malmo. While not as fast-paced or dynamic as “Water” was, this is a pretty decent song in its own right. Unlike the other two, it starts out in a catchy and fun way, thanks in part to the Bulgarian bagpipe (gajda). The performance stays fresh throughout with interesting sections such as the drumming duet at 2:29 (what Elitsa and Stoyan do best). There’s even a bit of dubstep included to contrast with the traditional folk sound of the gajda! Overall, while not great, this is my personal favorite (by default, considering how weak the other two are) to win the national selection on the 3rd.


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11 years ago

Out of the three songs presented from Bulgaria, I’d go for Samo Shampioni.

However, I do fear that Elitsa and Stoyan could fall victim to the Eurovision equivalent of “Second season syndrome”, which has affected nearly all returning artists so far.

11 years ago

Samo Shampioni is the best fit for Eurovision. It starts strong and fills three minutes with a good balance of repetition and variety. Kismet is really a folk song, with its unvarying trance rhythm and repeated vocal patterns meant to continue for as long as desired. I do like Bulgarian choral harmonies, but this lacks both structure and impact as a three minute song. Dzupai Libe Boso has a very satisfying combination of sounds. The toasting (“rap”) fits nicely in the mix. A bigger problem than the unpopularity of rap is once again the absence of strong three minute structure… Read more »

Gavin Brockwell
11 years ago

Not a huge fan of these. I guess the third song is the best for me. But I like tht Bulgaria have taken the traditional and brought it to a more modern sound. I think some diversity is missing. Maybe take it down a key change or two.