Wiwibloggs continues to look at the countries currently competing in Eurovision and the reasons why we love them. Next up, we head to Sofia and take a look at the history of Bulgaria.

Bulgaria debuted at Eurovision 2005 and have competed 12 times. They have qualified for the grand final four times, three of which were in the last three years. From their difficult early years, they have now gone on to be a strong performer at Eurovision. We take a look at 10 reasons why we love Bulgaria in the Eurovision Song Contest.

1. The joy of Poli Genova

In 2011, Poli Genova represented Bulgaria with the rock song “Na inat”. It didn’t qualify for the final, but Poli made her mark as a talented, charismatic performer that many fans wanted to see back at Eurovision. And that wish came true. In 2016, both Poli and Bulgaria came back to Eurovision, with the feelgood pop song “If Love Was a Crime”. Europe fell in love with Poli and the song placed fourth in the grand final and set Bulgaria on a course for success.

2. They got fans involved with selecting their act

Most of the time, when a broadcaster selects a song internally, it’s done behind closed doors and is a surprise until the confirmed act is revealed. But in 2018, BNT did things differently. They selected fans to be part of a jury involved in assessing the candidate songs. In a year dominated by hype, it was a nice gesture from BNT.

3. Sofi Marinova’s multi-lingual love fest

Most countries enter songs that use only one or perhaps two languages. In 2012, Sofi Marinova‘s song “Love Unlimited” was primarily sung in Bulgarian but it featured phrases in ten other languages. Along with the folk-influenced synthpop, Sofi said “I love you” in those different languages of Europe. Obichame te, Sofi!

4. They are the comeback kings

Things hadn’t been going so well for Bulgaria. In their first nine years in the contest, they had qualified only once. Their future at Eurovision seemed doomed. But they took two years off, came back with a whole new game plan and have emerged as a power player of the late 2010s, never missing the grand final — and almost winning in 2017.

5. The power of Elitsa & Stoyan

In 2007, Bulgaria sent Elitsa Todorova and Stoyan Yankulov, who brought their unique blend of folk, electronica and percussion sounds to Eurovision. Their song “Water” came with a bold performance that won over viewers and gave Bulgaria a fifth-place finish in the grand final. The dynamic duo returned in 2013 with “Samo shampioni”, but sadly history was not about to repeat and the song placed only 12th in its semi-final.

6. The common framework of Equinox

Rumours had been circulating around just who would be singing “Bones” — at one point it was even suggested that Loreen was the group’s female vocalist. But it turned out that Bulgaria had put together Equinox, a “common framework” of singers from Bulgaria and the United States — and they all got along really well. Together they delivered the mysterious electropop of “Bones”. The song placed 14th in the grand final, Equinox proved to be hilarious in the press centre and they slayed at the Lisbon Wiwi Jam.

7. Their very laidback debut entry

A lot of countries like to make an impact when they debut at Eurovision. Bulgaria took the opposite route and sent Bulgarian jazz band Kaffe as their first act, with the super smooth “Lorraine”. The song was an evocative lament for a lost love, with the chorus “I can still remember Lorraine in the rain”. Sadly the song only placed 19th in the single semi-final.

8. The Symphonix hit factory

One of the driving forces behind Bulgaria’s renaissance is the work of the songwriting and production house Symphonix. It’s headed by Vienna-based Bulgarian maestro Borislav Milanov, and they have been behind the last three entries from Bulgaria. Symphonix aren’t just restricted to Bulgaria — they have written Eurovision entries for other countries, most notably with frequent collaborator Cesár Sampson who gave Austria a third-place finish in Lisbon with “Nobody But You”.

9. Kristian Kostov’s very beautiful mess

Bulgaria had been working hard since their 2016 comeback. Starting with an open submission call, they used an international panel to help select the best candidate. The chosen artist was X Factor Bulgaria runner-up Kristian Kostov with the emotional ballad “Beautiful Mess”. He may have only been 17 years old, but he brought a maturity and sensitivity to the performance which took Bulgaria to a second-place finish — its best result yet.

10. They entered an almost totally instrumental banger

Until Bulgaria’s 2016 renaissance, Deep Zone & Balthazar‘s 2008 song “DJ, Take Me Away” was the country’s second-best result. The song was largely instrumental — Joanna Dragneva’s vocals didn’t start until almost a minute into the song, and they were based around the repetitive but catchy hook “When the night falls down, I want you / DJ, please take me away”. The chaotic but enjoyable staging featured a breakdancer, turntable-guitars, Joanna’s 19th-century showgirl look and FLAMING TURNTABLES. Bulgaria narrowly missed out on qualifying, with an 11th place semi-final finish.

What are your favourite moments from Bulgaria at the Eurovision Song Contest? Tell us what you think in the comments section below!

Read more Bulgaria Eurovision news here

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AngieP
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AngieP

There are many things I love about Bulgaria!
1. They managed to get back to good results! 2016 and 2017 are by far my favourite entries!
2. Poli’s joy and positivity and Kristian’s humility and talent.
3. Of course Sofi Marinova in 2012! I love this entry too!

HeyHey
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HeyHey

as a Bulgarian I am proud of my country in the last years for taking the things seriously even tho I an nit a fan of our 2018 entry. In my opinion we had amazing songs in 2005,2007,2011,2012 and 2013 and we should have qualified in these years. I am proud that my country qualified with an folk song in our native language in 2007 and even came 5th! Overall we aren’t that goof in the contest, but I hope that we will be in the top 5 next year and why not top 1? 🙂

TearDrop
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TearDrop

I agree with you. But now I really think that we should have sent Slavi and Sofi back in 2005 even though I loved Kaffe the 2000s were the years of the Balkan ballads and I believe they would have done well

MusicIstheKey
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MusicIstheKey

I think Bulgaria has entered lots of good songs! Also before they started to achieve consistent success. 2005, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013 – all REAL original quality gems. And very underrated. And they did deservedly well in 2005 and 2016. Nice to see they finally get some reward. They have had some good national selections too.

Eastman
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Eastman

The official Twitter account seemed to be coming to its senses when they tweeted that wouldn’t say anything more until the song was released. But no. They are still giving us that “social media engagement” that nobody asked for.

Ruth Oldfield
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Ruth Oldfield

LOVE Bulgaria, love the fact that they are punching above their weight these days … but disappointed that you didn’t include Miro’s fabulously camp glitter-fest from 2010! (White suit, wink at the camera, girls in silver go-go boots, funky dance routine … what’s not to LOVE????) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTyTL04vlEw

Joe
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Joe

Bulgaria’s renewed dedication has really been something to behold, and I hope they keep it up. That being said, my favorite will always be their first qualifier, the energetic and badass Water. I’m also a drummer, so there’s intrinsic appeal there.

SPS7
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SPS7

Poli Genova is the best thing that happened to Bulgaria!

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

Poleeeeeeeeee

Kyna
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Kyna

Bulgaria 2012 was SO underrated. Sofi Marinova, an actual talent, performed without earphones nor background singers (that voice tho)! “Love unlimited” is SUCH a bop, so what that the stage was quite empty, she totally slayed and owned it. Ugh…it should have been in the final.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Looking forward to seeing where they go. Is a Eurovision in Sofia in the near future a possibility? Don’t rule it out. Love the new entries, but Water is still my favorite.

Roelof Meesters
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Roelof Meesters

2006, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013 were underrated masterpieces that deserved aspot in the final. Furthermore, 2007, 2016, 2017 and 2018 were also amazing. The just dropped the ball in 2009 and 2010 (big time). One of the best ESC countries imo.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
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Mr. Vanilla Bean

While I do not belong to the lovers of Bulgaria at Eurovision on account of them not having sent a entry I personally love, I commend them for upping their game and actually trying. Also, i remember singing the line “Day mi lyubovta” for months in 2016, so there’s that. And I kind of liked “Let Me Cry” for whatever reason. As she sang in the chorus: “Let’s say goodbye and never back again”. That should apply to their songwriters of three years. Enough is enough.

Jonas
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Jonas

Samo Shampioni should have qualified.

Elin
Guest
Elin

1.Mariana Popova deserved to qualify.
2.Deep Zone & Balthazar needed to qualify, even though their performance was a hot mess.
3.Miro should’ve qualified.
4.Sofi Marinova was missed in Final. But her staging was bit empty.
5.Elitsa & Stoyan (2013) were robbed.

Bulgaria deserved better results. Great to see, that finally Europe starts to appreciate them.

Roy Moreno
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Roy Moreno

Kris was 17 performing in Kyiv :3
And I’m pretty sure Elitsa and Stoyan came 4th and not 5th(?)
Anyway, Bulgaria’s power recently is a great example of how to boost your country’s results
Weaker countries should learn from Bulgaria (and France as well, kudos to them too!)
Lisbon 2018 was fantastic but I think Kris should have won 2017 <3

JEFFERSON
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JEFFERSON

2006 and 2008 desserved final.

James
Guest
James

“DJ, Take Me Away” was a local radio hit back in 2008 here in the Philippines. I was surprised to learn years later that it was a Eurovision entry. 🙂

pp77
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pp77

My TOP 3 song from Bulgaria
1. 2012
2.2018
3.2016
then 2010,2009, 2017…
Overrated in 2007,2017
Underrated in 2018
Deserved to go to final in 2008,2010,2011,2012

Conor K
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Conor K

My top 5 from Bulgaria:
1. 2010
2. 2005
3. 2009
4. 2013
5. 2017

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

Is the lie of the fans being involved still circulating? They had already decided the song, they just wanted to create hype lmao. Either way I feel like after three years with that uninspired songwriting team, they should go for something different. Maybe try to show some personality, because these past three entries could have been from anywhere literally.

pp77
Guest
pp77

I agree 3 its time for new composers for Bulgaria, 3 time in row for Milanov and his swedish friends is enough.

noone
Guest
noone

The last three entries were all masterpieces, each one deserving to win. Looking back they had a string of good songs, Love Unlimited, DJ Take me away, Let me cry, Water, Na inat were all good. The only misstep was Illusion 2009, which should get a special mention: sooo bad, but damn is it entertaining! Always fun to watch.

Andi
Guest
Andi

Let Me Cry…so underrated.

pp77
Guest
pp77

And one of backing vocals for Bulgaria 2006 is famous singers from that country Azis.

pp77
Guest
pp77

Illusion soung amazing in video for song, and sound good in their national fnal.

ESCFan2009 (male, 22, German)
Guest
ESCFan2009 (male, 22, German)

Awww, two legends in one article: Poli Genova and Kristian Kostov! Poli’s song was great and Kris – well, I am just in love with him <3 If Love Was A Crime and Beautiful Mess were both brilliant entries!!!