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Eyes of the Eurovision fan community now look forward to 2015 and many in particular are looking towards the southern European nation of Bulgaria for a return to the contest. In this writer’s opinion, there will be little happier news in relation to 2015 than a Bulgarian return. Why? Looking at the country’s track record in the contest so far, it seems to me that Bulgaria has been one of the unluckiest in the show, and despite some classic (and infamous) entries the country has only ever made it to the final once.
Take for example Bulgaria’s debut in the contest in Kiev 2005. Most countries would aim for a song on their debut to appease the masses, but instead the broadcaster BNT sent a wonderful jazz entry, “Lorraine”. Despite not setting the scoreboard alight it was refreshing to see the country already taking a fresh approach to the contest. 2006’s “Let My Cry” was a more by-the-numbers approach and one of my least favourite Bulgarian entries, but was also just as unsuccessful.
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Of course, fortunes would all change in 2007 with the arrival of a certain percussion duo and Bulgaria would get their first and only taste of Eurovision success with “Water”. This was also the first entry at the contest sung in Bulgarian and so the broadcaster will have been appreciative of the success.
But it’s not the success of “Water” that I remember Bulgaria for. In the years since Elitsa and Stoyan first stepped onto the stage in Helsinki, Bulgaria has provided me with some of my favourite songs in the contest, almost all of which were cruelly underrated. The most obvious example for most fans is Bulgaria’s 2008 entry “DJ, Take Me Away” which really sounded unlike anything the contest had seen until then. The song was my absolute #1 in my ranking that year, and the pain of the song narrowly missing out on the final still hurts to this day (only eclipsed by the Montenegrin injustice in 2013).
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Would Bulgaria stop there? Of course not. Glossing over an average attempt by Miro in 2010 and a lacklustre return from Elitsa and Stoyan in Bulgaria’s last Eurovision participation, the country continued to provide memorable performances and songs that really should’ve been represented in the final. Of these, “Na Inat” deserved much better recognition than it eventually got, being one of the most solid performances in the 2011 contest and only finishing 12th in the semi-final. Perhaps it only shone in its performance and people were not prepared to vote? Who knows…
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Bulgaria hasn’t been short of memorable performances in these years either. Who can forget Krassimir Avramov’s epic (or depending on your opinion, awful) “Illusion” or the dozens of gifs spawned by the lovable Sofi Marinova in 2012?
All of these reasons and more are why Bulgaria is one of the surprisingly great countries in the contest, despite not quite having an international music industry like other countries and this is why I’d like to see them get deserved success for once. In 2015, the broadcaster hopes to return, and I will be awaiting the next Bulgarian entry eagerly, whenever it arrives.