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.