The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — have been rating and reviewing every top-three finisher of the 2010s. Today we get to the youngest participant on the list — Bulgaria‘s Kristian Kostov, with his modern and powerful anthem “Beautiful Mess”.

After the success of “If Love was a Crime” for Bulgaria the year before — getting them their best ever result — the Bulgarian delegation got the taste for a win. They came back even stronger in 2017, getting in fresh young talent with a stunning voice beyond his years, direct from The X Factor Bulgaria 2016. Kristian Kosotov, the runner-up from that show, was prepared for the Eurovision circus, armed with an epic song.

He rose up the betting ranks spectacularly once “Beautiful Mess” was released, and even more so once we saw his staging in Kyiv. The Eurovision win seeming to be a three-horse race between himself, Francesco Gabbani of Italy, and Portugal’s Salvador Sobral. As we know, Portugal won but Kristian’s second place was something to be proud of, since he was so young and against much more experienced performers. However, two years later, are the Wiwi Jury still thinking this is beautiful, or a bit of a mess?

Kristian Kostov – “Beautiful Mess”

“Beautiful Mess” reviews

William: Among the most contemporary tracks of 2017, “Beautiful Mess” is a thoughtful piece of pop that oozes soul. Rather than following a traditional formula and reaching an easily identifiable peak, this progresses somewhat linearly. It’s more cinematic and atmospheric than the typical Eurovision song, and has a smooth, polished finish yet never leans toward the sterile. Young Kristian has the face of an angel, but the voice of an established (and much older) international pop star. The staging — pared back and powerful — framed him beautifully and memorably.

Score: 7.5/10

Lucy: Simple, modern, quality. When Bulgaria had the task of trying to match the success of Poli Genova the previous year, they must have known it was a going to be extremely hard, given Bulgaria’s history in the contest. Yet they turned up with a young star with killer vocals and a soaring song with electro edges bringing it into 2017 with style. The staging gave full focus on Kristian, deservedly so, and it just worked. An excellent act, who really embraced the contest and experience.

Score: 8.5/10

Deban: A slick composition that’s beautiful but not messy, “Beautiful Mess” marries subtle folk elements with sparse contemporary production. Now that Bulgaria has pulled out of the Eurovision Song Contest, Kristian Kostov’s performance remains the country’s best highlight. However, this is a production-driven number that works best in the right setting. Some live renditions of this number in club settings have left me wanting.

Score: 6.5/10

Kristin: It took me a while to appreciate “Beautiful Mess” completely, but once I did, it was hard to look past the quality of the song. Kristian’s unbelievably mature voice is what carries the song from start to finish, and I doubt that it would have reached as high with another singer. The song is basically tailor-made for him. This will never be my all-time favourite from Eurovision 2017 but “Beautiful Mess” was nonetheless a clear top-five material, and on stage, it was executed perfectly. The gloominess of the song as well as the emo feeling of it, took the audience by storm and Kristian portrayed that angst with an immaculate confidence, considered his young age. I can definitely understand why it reached second place, although I don’t agree with the results completely. Not a personal hot favourite but damn it, I respect “Beautiful Mess”.

Score: 7.5/10

Edd: As is very common with these international songwriting groups, “Beautiful Mess” is a well-written and slick produced song, but lacking in that raw edge that makes it stand out — “Average Perfection” may be a more appropriate title. Kostov’s vocals are excellent and lift the studio version, and the visual performance is pleasant, but still all very grey. All in all, a strong, professional performance, but lacking in memorability.

Score: 6.5/10

Steinunn: A mess it is. A beautiful one, not so sure. There’s no denying that Kristian is a great singer and that “Beautiful Mess” is a pretty well-written song. I just don’t like it. Plain and simple. There’s something about this angsty and gloomy teen singing about an untouchable love that doesn’t really hit home with me. I totally get why people like it though, don’t get me wrong. But I just don’t. Not really more to say about it.

Score: 5/10

In the Wiwi Jury we have 24 jurors but only have room for six reviews. The remaining scores are below:

Antranig: 8.5/10

Pablo: 8.5/10

Robyn: 7/10

Angus: 4/10

Sebastian: 6.5/10

Jonathan: 7/10

Bernardo: 8/10

Calvin: 5.5/10

Luis: 7.5/10

Oliver: 8/10

Lukas: 6/10

Barnabas: 6.5/10

Florian: 7/10

Natalie: 8.5/10

Julian: 10/10

Katie: 7/10

Tom: 7/10

Charlotte: 7/10

We have removed the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. This is to remove outliers and potential bias. We have removed a low of 4 and a high of 10.

Wiwi Jury verdict: 7.14/10

What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!

See all of our Wiwi Jury of the 2010s rankings here

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Vesko
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Vesko

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgxz23-i3lA – This is better version of the song. If he had sung this on Eurovision, first place would be deserved

Eurovision Online Contest
Guest

I never got this song. It seemed soulless and empty to me even though I could see that he did well and it was a good production but somehow it never, ever clicked.

Jack Pricefield
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Jack Pricefield

I wasn’t too keen on “Beautiful Mess” until the live 2nd semi-final performance which blew me away, Kristian Kostov gave a tremendous live vocal at aged just 16 and staging, lighting, visuals, camerawork etc were not only top-notch but screamed winner to me but with the global success of La La Land at the time a mellow Jazz-inspired number from Portugal was always bound to win over loads of votes. 2017 was maybe the weakest year songwise of this decade imho.

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

I guess I’m one of the few who really, really liked this.
It was my winner from that year (despite how much I loved Portugal’s entry) and FELT like a Eurovision winner as I watched it. Easily, Bulgaria’s best ever entry for me and introduced an artist who SHOULD be a star in the industry.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

A beautiful piece of music that grabs me on the piano and never lets go. Initially I was very worried that a 16-year-old singer was going to sing it, because in principal I think the lowest age for ESC should be 18. But Kris… made me question my beliefs and morals. He really did own his performances and almost won the whole contest. Well done for proving me wrong, Kris. 🙂

Skiwalko
Guest

Well, during Eurovision he was 17, still, he certainly beat many of his older rivals in terms of singing, amazing vocal control!

poe-tay-toe-chips
Guest
poe-tay-toe-chips

official Eurovision website accidentally leaked it

we’re in Rotterdam next year

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

It’s a pretty decent one, but I’ve never warmed up to this entry. Mainly because this was, along with Sweden, the pre-contest frontrunner I didn’t care about, in opposition of Italy, Belgium and (the by then still dark horse) Portugal. As others mentioned, I always had trouble keeping the song in my mind. It only got there after the contest, while days before it I wouldn’t be able to sing it. That said, I think Kristian is very talented and carried it very well. Edd was really accurate with the “average perfection” definition.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Am I crazy for thinking this song is just kind of OK? Kristian has a great voice, the staging is good, and the chorus is pretty catchy, but I dunno. As far as conventional pop songs doing well at the contest go, I have an easier time understanding how Sound or Silence or Fuego made it to second place than Beautiful Mess. But it was a clear second! Like, nothing was going to beat Portugal in first, but Bulgaria was in no danger of being challenged for the runner-up spot. I dunno. It might just be a bit too downbeat… Read more »

Joe
Guest
Joe

Also: why’d Antranig say Skeletons was the only good song in the final that year and then gave this an 8,5?

Skiwalko
Guest

Well, actually Antranig said that “Skeletons” was the only song he “loved” in the grand final, so I guess he meant that it’s the only song he’d rate 10/10, although that’s for Antranig to clarify.

zelenovi
Guest
zelenovi

Nah I agree. I hadn’t listened to Beautiful Mess before the contest but I knew it was a favourite, and was very confused on the night itself. Edd’s “Average Perfection” sounds about right – it’s very solid, very well done, but does it really have impact?
It’s purely my personal taste, but Origo was also in 2017 – also a soulful performance combining modern and folk elements but with a hundred times more impact on the viewer. Of course it was too niche to go top 3, but I love it when countries take risks, and Beautiful Mess was very safe.

Saney
Guest
Saney

Really 7.14? This is much better than Il Volo

Kosey
Guest
Kosey

Blah blah blah.
Let’s see if wiwibloggs is in favour of free speech.

ESCFan2009
Guest
ESCFan2009

I clearly disagree here: For me, the melody is very memorable, especially the instrumental part right at the beginning and the end of the song 🙂 “Beautiful Mess” has a dark and edgy vibe and Kristian sung it brilliantly. The passion of lyrics and performance may be a bit irritating due to his young age, but I love this vulnerabiliy and the emotions in it ^^ 9.5/10

Krumpirko
Guest
Krumpirko

He should have won instead of that boring song from Portugal…Portugal won only because Salvador had an illness.

James
Guest
James

Excuses.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Wow. That’s gross.

btw
Guest
btw

Krumpirko is right.

cat
Guest
cat

They send similar boring song in 2018 too and it placed last.
How?
There was no illness.
He/she is right.

Jinbeizaki
Guest
Jinbeizaki

All those artists who were in wheelchair, blind, etc. are also waiting for that “sympathy” winning effect you’re talking about… Oh, wait that’s right, it doesn’t happen! XD Seriously all those saying that Salvador only won because of his illness need to find a new reason for their hatred and bias.

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

This is all about Kristian and his voice, the song itself is kind of bland.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

this isn’t particularly good, kristian sold it very well but there’s a reason why it was out of every itunes/spotify/apple music top 200 ten days after the final. i bet most ppl who voted for it don’t even remember how it goes

Sam
Guest
Sam

Although I wasn’t a fan of this before the contest, it was the song that grew the most on me (mainly because of the staging, my personal favourite of the night). Its pleasant melody may difer from other esc hit-style songs such as ‘If love was a crime’ (probably the best Bulgarian entry ever, which btw deserved to be in this ranking of the decade…) but I do like it and it’s still part of my chill-out playlist.

Skiwalko
Guest

Kristian is a talented and captivating singer, god bless his soul, but imho “Beatiful Mess” is neither beautiful nor messy – it’s just passable. Dull and unimaginative composition, overintellectualized and shallow lyrics, bland and unorganized staging (at times even distracting, with those quick, blurred cuts or unnecessary on-screen animations). Overall to me it always felt like a soulless and calculated entry that’s just gonna fade away in ESC history.
(6.5/10, #16 in 2017)

Preuss
Guest
Preuss

You know, the song is amazing and Kristian’s a great singer. I was just never impressed by the staging that much. The success of Kristian with Sacha Jean-Baptiste in charge of the staging however sadly lead to Bulgaria’s «poor» result next year where EQUINOX and «Bones» deserved much better staging than what Sacha did, in a year where she shamely neglected «Bones» and «We Got Love», my two favourites, for «Fuego». Instead of just hiring her based on previous success, the Bulgarian delegation should’ve been smarter and looked for options before eventually hiring SJB, something I knew was bound to… Read more »

Azaad
Guest
Azaad

SJB is so hit or mess.

Preuss
Guest
Preuss

Sadly, Tamta was the unlucky one this year!

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

It’s not like she was ever destined for great things with those vocals and that song.

Azaad
Guest
Azaad

I would disagree. The underlying flaw with Replay’s staging was that it tried to evoke Fuego with a monochrome colour palette, undermining the song itself. Replay functions as a sort of response to Fuego, in that Fuego is sung by someone crazy in love and Replay is sung by someone who has an ardent admirer. You can imagine the guy/girl Eleni is singing to singing Replay back at her. The choreography should have reflected that. Have Tamta be a dominating presence rather than a passive dancer.

Joe
Guest
Joe

You can always tell that if she has multiple clients in one year, there’s gonna be a favorite. Bulgaria in 2017, Cyprus in 2018, and Switzerland in 2019. The only time I can think of when she gave it 100% for all of the countries she was helping out was 2016, since Armenia, Cyprus, and Georgia all looked great.

Preuss
Guest
Preuss

And that is a problem for me because the talented artists who spend months to get ready for Eurovision deserve a stage director who is 100% into their performance. Sacha Jean-Baptiste treats Eurovision like business, doing multiple stagings every year, and I don’t like it considering that she doesn’t even succeed with half of her acts. And she tells the artist and delegation to trust her and her vision, hah!

Roy Moreno
Guest
Roy Moreno

Exactly

Azaad
Guest
Azaad

Generic done well

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

“Average perfection” is a very nice way to phrase this. Kristian can sing, I will always give credit to a vocal performance when it’s due. But for me that’s about it. I was really surprised, that this ended up so high, to this day, I am unable to hum the melody as soon as the song is over. Yet, as long as it’s on, there’s nothing really wrong with it. It’s like these Doctor Who aliens you keep forgetting, if they don’t stand right before you.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

Since this concludes 2017: Belgium (song) and The Netherlands (performance) saved this year for me. Macedonia had a great studio track squandered on a not very talented singer and god-awful staging. To this day, I still enjoy Malta’s ballad that got zero televotes and I still think Estonia should have gotten the chance to perform again. Sand is just awful at his job. Finland should have qualified over Greece. In hindsight, I totally understand the top 3 though. The top 8, actually. Only Australia at 9th with two televoting points is insane. But oh my, was I glad OG3NE weren’t… Read more »

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

Totally unfair of me to forget the awesome Italian song that year. Italy of course also saved the year.

Skiwalko
Guest

2017 – Finland and Georgia should have qualified over Greece and Poland, and I say that as Pole myself. To think that it’s the juries that put Finland in 12th place, while viewers wanted them to go through – it’s beyond me. Tamara and Lindita gave amazing vocal performances, but unfortunately they had mediocre songs, tho the whole package for “Keep The Faith” convinced me that Georgia was worth the final. Belgium is my #1 of 2017 as well, in contrary to you I like the song AND performance – the staging was simple, but tasteful,and I liked Blanche’s shyness,… Read more »

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

I liked Blanche’s shyness as well, it was very fitting. 🙂 It was more the vocals I felt underwhelmed by. I saw a rehearsal video of her where she put more power into the last chorus so I was kind of expecting that again in the live shows. Can’t help you with Italy, I loved that song. Would I have loved it without knowing its lyrics beforehand? Not sure.

Joe
Guest
Joe

2017 was by and large a very good year, with a decent variety of songs (maybe a bit too many ballads?) and a good balance of sincere and silly. Even the UK brought their A-game, even if it didn’t totally pay off. Bunch of good songs lost in the semis (Finland missing the final still boggles my mind), but overall strong. My top ten:
1. Portugal
2. Italy
3. Finland
4. Azerbaijan
5. Hungary
6. Sweden
7. United Kingdom
8. Belgium
9. Belarus
10. Either France or Moldova

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

This song just passes me by. When it was released, I listened for the entire three minutes and afterwards I thought “What did I just hear?”, as I got immediately distracted instead of captivated. It’s not bad at all, it’s pleasant, just not something I need to download or listen to again. Kristian on the other hand surely did his best to give this song meaning. Frankly, most of the other competitors this year could learn a thing or two on how to perform from him. Definitely NOT amazed by the Baptiste the staging, though. A whole lot of darkness,… Read more »