Yesterday the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — travelled to Bulgaria. In Sofia, we stopped by Arena Armeec, the home of Junior Eurovision 2015. There we discussed Poli Genova‘s song “If Love Was a Crime”. Did we embrace the criminal life? Read on to find out!

Poli Genova – “If Love Was a Crime”

“If Love Was a Crime” reviews

William: Ethnic but not off-putting, “If Love Was a Crime” manages to think locally while translating globally. The opening verses build steadily and confidently, leading to a pre-chorus that is all kinds of amazing. The chorus itself could be a tad bigger, but the Bulgarian lyrics and turbo-folk feel make it sufficiently special to carry the song. The lyrics are clever and the nod to the criminalisation of homosexuality is truly daring for a singer from a conservative country. Breezy, catchy and feel-good, this is easily Bulgaria’s best Eurovision entry ever.

Score: 9.5 /10

Angus: Polly moulds together old world neo-noir, with new-world synths and hypnotic production for an uber cool final combination in “If Love Was a Crime”. The fusion of Bulgarian through the song really is the icing on the cake here. Sofia done good, and if all the stars align, Poli will too.

Score: 7.5/10

Robyn: I’ve been hoping for a big, bold contemporary pop moment and here it is. This is what the mid 2010s sound like, so bravo to Bulgaria for getting in there with a cool modern pop sound and not trying to formulate a “Eurovision hit”. Combined with the dream position of performing in the second half of the second semi, a song this strong with killer staging should get Bulgaria a much deserved place in the grand final.

Score: 9/10

Bogdan: That’s how you return to the Eurovision stage! Poli Genova surpassed all my expectations and brought a contemporary, bold, radio-friendly, catchy track that is sure to look and sound amazing in the Globe Arena in May. Also, am I the only one who’s getting Madonna vibes from “If Love Was a Crime”? I cannot wait to see how Bulgaria is going to stage this killer song!

Score: 9/10

Deban: Bulgaria marks its return to the contest with a bang. Poli Genova slays with a tune that’s unmistakably hers, and a message that touches the human fibre. “If Love Was a Crime” incorporates elements of her Balkan background, and summons it into 2016. More importantly, it addresses the issue of criminalising sexual minorities head on, without removing you from the dance floor.

Score: 8.5/10

Denise: It’s a shame Poli didn’t qualify in 2011, but we all know now that she is a great artist. She can sing and she can perform. The song was such a surprise. Bulgaria was never among my favourites, but this time they are. I love the Bulgarian parts. Poli not qualifying once again would be one of the biggest crimes in Eurovision history. For me it’s top 5 material for now.

Score: 9.5/10

Diego: I’ll admit it, I was a big fan of “Na inat” back in the day and we’ve already seen how much of a show-woman Poli is. “If Love Was a Crime” is quite a powerful bet for Bulgaria’s comeback in the big game. It seems they liked it when they hosted JESC that they want to host the actual Eurovision Song Contest next year in Sofia. Leaving aside Poli’s rocker-girl gene, this entry gets stuck in your mind for the whole day. Not exactly my cup of tea, but surely a song we must keep an eye on for top 10.

Score: 7/10

Edd: Poli is a true star, with an amazing voice and hilarious personality. What “If Love Was a Crime” gives us is really expensively produced verses, building up to a cheap chorus. The melody and foreign lyrics of the chorus give it anthemic potential – but the actual backing track is just too bland. Nevertheless, if Bulgaria gives us some killer staging (And I’m talking Katy Perry “Dark Horse” standards) this could easily go top 10.

Score: 7/10

Josh: Poli Genova has evolved from the rock chick we remember her as in 2011 and has blossomed into a global pop star who deserves to be one of the favourites this year. I’m thrilled for Bulgaria and the fact that they will absolutely go to the final with this song. “If Love Was a Crime” is a great radio-friendly track for 2016, and I love that the most memorable hook of the song is the line in Bulgarian, which also keeps within tradition for the country. Poli, you slayed my life in 2011 and you’ve come back to slay it some more.

Score: 8.5/10

Luis: Poli is not a rocker anymore, and I’m sad about that. On the other hand, I’m more than pleased with the alternative she’s brought — “If Love Was a Crime” is infectious! While this genre is not exactly my cup of tea, Bulgaria’s comeback song is such an earworm that it has totally stuck in my mind. Poli is such a charismatic performer and this song suits her perfectly. All I’m going to say is day mi lyubovta!

Score: 7.5/10

Padraig: If love is a crime, lock me up and throw away the key, because I’m smitten! This is unquestionably one of Bulgaria’s most competitive entries ever. It’s instant, radio-friendly, catchy and carries a message that’s universal. Coupled with Poli’s endearing personality and you’re onto a winner – relatively speaking. Junior Eurovision success has clearly re-energised the country, yet their desire to do well hasn’t seen them bin their trademark ethnic flavourings completely. Despite its brevity, the Bulgarian refrain  adds a sense of national identity while also giving the song some much needed character amidst a sea of Anglophone entries. “If Love Was A Crime” has to qualify. Otherwise something’s seriously whack.

Score: 9.5/10

Zakaria: I can’t help but feel a little disappointed because I was hoping for a pop/rock entry from Poli. While I prefer “Na Inat”, I still think ILWC is a strong entry. The song is very infectious and gets better each time I listen to it. Out of all the songs presented this year, this one is undoubtedly the most contemporary and if Bulgaria doesn’t make the final with this, I fear all hope would be lost for them.

Score: 7/10

In the Wiwi Jury we have 40 jurors but only have room for 12 reviews. The remaining 28 scores are below.

Anthony: 8/10

Antranig: 10/10

Bernardo: 8.5/10

Chris: 8/10

Cristian: 8/10

David: 9/10

Dayana: 8/10

Forrest: 9/10

George: 8.5/10

Gökhan: 8.5/10

Jason: 7/10

Judit: 8.5/10

Kristin: 8/10

Liam: 9/10

Marek: 9/10

Maria: 9/10

Mario: 8/10

Max: 9.5/10

Mike: 8/10

Mikhail: 8.5/10

Patrick: 9.5/10

Renske: 7.5/10

Rezo: 8/10

Sami: 9.5/10

Sinan: 10/10

Steinunn: 8/10

Tobias: 9/10

William C: 9.5/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The highest and lowest scores are dropped prior to calculating the average score. This is to remove outliers and reduce potential bias. We have removed a low of 7 and a high of 10.

WIWI JURY SCORE: 8.51/10

SEE OUR CURRENT EUROVISION 2016 REVIEWS AND RANKINGS

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Jorge Michael
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Jorge Michael

Poli comme in California we loved you song here!!!!!!

Leon
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Leon

Loved the clearly sung authentic lyrics. Great song and an apt theme for that country. 9/10

Pedro
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Pedro

Her song was even played on a Portuguese reality show!!! Amazing!

kewl
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kewl

there’s nothing ethnic or turbo folk about this except for the repeated line in bulgarian in the chorus? it’s classic 2016 hipster ‘dance’ pop

Nicky91
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Nicky91

@georgekirkas

from semi final 1: Malta, Armenia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Netherlands, Iceland, Bosnia&Herzegovina, Russia and Greece

from semi final 2: Bulgaria, Belgium, Latvia, Australia, Denmark, Slovenia, Georgia, Israel, Poland and Macedonia

these are my personal qualifiers 🙂

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

Strong, strong entry. A good mix between giving a nod to Bulgaria and having something going on that would do well internationally. The build-up is fantastic and Poli’s vocals over the verses is silky smooth! The bridge of the song makes the whole thing tick and although the chorus could have had a bit more oomph, it does just about enough. The accompaniment gives some of the best background songs of all of the Eurovision entries this year. Oh, and Poli can work it on stage! She is an extremely engaging and charismatic performer. What is not to like?
9/10

Antranig Shokayan
Editor

Easily my favourite of 2016 – good luck Poli!

Xander
Guest
Xander

It’s amazing for Bulgaria to finally have a killer song! The only song currently higher in the Wiwi Jury is Russia, which was composed by a Bulgarian who is famous in Russia: Philip Kirkorov. This year is Bulgaria’s year I guess. Maybe Amir’s song will rank higher in the jury, but even Amir likes Bulgaria’s song and performed it 🙂

Alex
Guest
Alex

One of the best songs of the year, and probably the most modern of them. Should’ve scored higher than the overrated Russian entry. This one is perhaps my 2nd favorite song of the year, 2nd only to “Say Yay” …

SLY
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SLY

I, personally, woulldn`t mind, if Poli wins this year! As long as it is not France, Australia or Russia.

Radek
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Radek

One of the best songs this year, but I also tend to think this is very difficult to stage and make the song even bigger, without messing it up.

Will see.

Fatima
Guest
Fatima

Your review videos are such fun. And I have been where that backdrop is in Sofia. Some very handsome ceremonial soldiers on duty at bottom left. The song is super, I liked it from the first time. That’s rare for me. It’s my #2 after the UK, with Netherlands third. Already I think they are going to be my three main favourites of the year.

Laburnum
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Laburnum

Best song of the year!!! 10/10

GEF
Guest
GEF

First of all “Na inat” is one of my all time ESC favourite songs and I was so angry when it didn’t qualify for the Grand Final in 2011. A cool rock song and a great show. I just could not understand why people did not vote for it. This time I really don’t care much about the song. I don’t know why. Yes it is contemporary, yes there is a lot to like, yes there are some Bulgarian lyrics in it. However, I just feel nothing.”If love was a crime, we would be criminals” Really? No! For me this… Read more »

Brndn
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Brndn

This has worked its way up to becoming my second favourite entry this year, and may possibly become my favourite if the live performance clicks. It’s a smart, modern-sounding pop song with an earworm chorus and it doesn’t have the cheesiness or the dated sound that the Russian entry does. I really hope this does well; it probably won’t win but a top ten showing is the least it deserves.

Tom
Guest
Tom

I don’t think anyone expected something this decent from Bulgaria. This is definitely their best entry ever.

Poli kills it and the song is catchy AF. It’s super current too, the kick into the chorus has major shades of “runaway” by Galantis. Love the Bulgarian in the song too.

This is one of my favourites, in my personal top 3. I really hope it qualifies. Good luck Bulgaria!

Héctor
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Héctor

A very good song but not that good! 8’51 is too much.

Angelo
Guest
Angelo

I would not be surprised if this ends up a lot lower than many eurofans are expecting/predicting right now. For me this is a Walmart or H&M kind of song, with very little original aspects. When you do straight up pop songs you need to have a certain bang at one point and “If Love Was a Crime” just doesn’t have that. It’s the kind of song that just goes by without you noticing it. I know that Poli is one of the eurofans’ favorites this year, which is proven by the many über-positive comments here on Wiwibloggs, but will… Read more »

cheesecake
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cheesecake

I didn’t expect THIS from Bulgaria. They put a lot of effort into this as you can hear and see. I love Poli and I love this song. My 5/43.
I hope it gets the placing it deserves – top 10! Go Bulgaria!

Azotman
Guest
Azotman

Bonsoir Stockholm,

Note 5/10

C’est une belle chanson avec un refrain accrocheur, de la à écrire que c’est la meilleure chanson de la Bulgarie à l’Eurovision, je ne suis pas d’accord !!!
J’aimais beaucoup Elitsa et Stoyan : Shamo Championi !!!
Du vrai Bulgare dans le texte et une musique traditionnelle entraînante…

Bisous et llubav,
Maxime

georgekirkas
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georgekirkas

@Nicky91

Which are your personal qualifiers from the Semi-Finals?

Rubén
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Rubén

Best love song this year…by far!!!

I’ll vote for this like crazy. Bravo Poli. 🙂

adriana
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adriana

If her live performance would be mediocre like it was on her tours ,i dont see anything good coming from this.

georgekirkas
Guest
georgekirkas

Bulgaria needs to qualify this year! The song is catchy, memorable and contemporary, yet it remains sophisticated and it has a wonderful message! Also, the bulgarian lyric adds diversity to the song. I was so sad when Poli didn’t make it to the Grand Final back in 2011, since ”Na Inat” was my favourite that year! I really hope for the best!

8/10

@EugeneESCUK
Guest

Bulgaria 2nd 8.51, Iceland 3rd 8.37 and Croatia 4th 8.12 by the Wiwi guys……………all 3 are so overrated and this will never happen in May!……………… 8.51? Really? It’s another one of those very familiar contemporary pop songs which is almost too contemporary for a song contest where the ESC juries will not know how to score it as it is certainly not a songwriting masterpiece and lacks originality but it will be liked by the chart buying public. Vocally it is not challenging enough to wow the juries. Sounds like she is singing “I’m a looser” and singing the chorus… Read more »

Toms
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Toms

Among my favorites, but 8.5/10, really?

Ron
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Ron

I think the score, compared to other entries is overrated. This is a great entry, definitely deserves to be in top 12, but a bit too overrated 8/10 for me.

Ruud
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Ruud

It just seems no one dislikes this song, which says a lot about their chance to do well! I love it myself and it’s my favorite together with France and Armenia!

sonic0201
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sonic0201

“easily Bulgaria’s best Eurovision entry ever”

Is this also the first time that a Swedish songwriter is involved?

Ruud
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Ruud

It just seems no one dislikes this song, which says a lot about their chance to do well! I love it myself and it’s my favorite together with France and Armenia

João Teles
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João Teles

One of the best entries this year, i hope Bulgaria gets top 10 this year, they really deserve it, many greetings and i will all the best to Poli and Bulgaria in general, Love from Portugal. ^^

João Teles
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João Teles

One of the best entries this year, i hope Bulgaria gets top 10 this year, they really deserve it, many greetings from Portugal. 🙂

hasa
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hasa

@David Who In casual environment such as a song, I think “was” is acceptable nowadays. The rule has been misused so many times that it has become a norm.

Darren
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Darren

I love this song so much! And Poli Genova is such a charismatic performer! This is Bulgaria’s best ever entry in my opinion! It’s modern and contenpory yet still ethnically Bulgarian! It’s everything I would expect from a 2016 Bulgarian entry. I would love this to win! Currently sits as my number 2 in my Top 10. Welcome back Bulgaria 🙂 8/10

David Who
Guest
David Who

Bulgaria’s song is rooted to an A-minor based descending chord progression (played on piano/keyboard in the background) that repeats over and over and over again. In spite of this, I love it! 🙂 The first feedback i wrote about this song was “Poli does Madonna, realness.” This sums it all up for me really. The song has a pre-chorus that works really well musically, even if it’s written in bad English. (To clarify: It should be “If love WERE a crime,” not was. Ask Frans why. ;)) But all that aside, the chorus in the native language is brilliant, and… Read more »

Julian
Guest
Julian

It is one of my top favourites this year, but in the live performances I miss something, just I can’t figure out what exactly. It should win, but for this certain undefinable something I’m afraid it won’t.

Thiefo
Guest

It IS the best bulgarian entry ever, at least in my book. And with Poli in it, what else could I ask for? This is the entry I desperately want to win, even if the odds and everything else are saying it’s not that likely. But even if it doesn’t win I’m pretty sure it will do well, I’m hoping it will set a new best place for Bulgaria at the very least.

Gavin
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Gavin

My number 1 song this year. Love it. Super performance too. I hope it is staged well. I kind of get it wont be everyone’s taste but its so worthy of praise.

Poppina
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Poppina

This is a score that I agree with (unlike Russia’s). This song is catchy, refreshing, sounds modern and Poli is such a charismatic singer. But I am afraid it has many chances to stay at the semis and win the “Crysalide Award” this year. I hope not though

Nicky91
Guest
Nicky91

@hasa

thank you, and also don’t forget to vote for Ira, if you like her that much 🙂

Nicky91
Guest
Nicky91

@Jerome

thank you, it’s a good song, and her previous entry Na Inat was also a good song

i’m just hoping a top 10 place for my favourite, so if another good song wins which i like i’m okay with that as well 🙂

hasa
Guest
hasa

I think her vocal (studio) is not strong enough to give this an 8. For me, an 8 would be something like Dua Lipa and a 9 would be something like Alessia Cara. I think Ira Losco’s has a better song in terms of vocal and melody. If Ira’s is 8, then this will be 7 in my opinion.

Holden
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Holden

I wish her to do well in the final. 9/10

This is my opinion (TIMO)
Guest
This is my opinion (TIMO)

Another interesting song for eurovision at least you can enjoy it unlike some copy paste fake imitation of previous winners good luck bulgaria your song deserves high position

Hugh
Guest
Hugh

This is a great song, really hope it does well. Top three for me for the year, 9.5/10

Jerome
Guest
Jerome

@Nicky91

Thank you. I shall of course vote for it to prevent a crime from taking place.

esc 2016
Guest
esc 2016

@Lovisa
Poli will reach top 10….easily and probaply top5 !!!

Lovisa
Guest
Lovisa

Another ridiculously overrated song. This will not make the top 10.

Bhrister Cjorkman
Guest
Bhrister Cjorkman

7/10
9th/43

Honestly not too impressed by her live performances, hopefully she can surprise us when it matters. Not a huge fan of the Bulgarian part of the song, feels out of place.

Nicky91
Guest
Nicky91

@Jerome

nice playing with words there 🙂