ESC 2017 Review: Bulgaria – Millennial Mess

I feel like anyone would be a disappointment for Bulgaria after last year but we solider on with the youngest competitor in the contest this year.

These are my own PERSONAL rankings of what I think of 2017’s Eurovision songs but I’m also going to make some bold predictions about the eventual fate of the song. These will probably be very wrong for a variety of reasons including I have no idea what almost half the artists sound like live or what type of staging and song changes could be made. There’s plenty of songs that have been let down by their staging (2016 Spain for example) so in the end they’re just guesses in the dark.

Country: Bulgaria
Artist: Kristian Kostov
Song Title: Beautiful Mess
My Ranking: 35th (out of 43)
Semi Final: 2nd Semi Final
Final placement prediction: 16 out of 26

After last year’s stunning top 5 placement for Bulgaria, I knew it would be tough to fill Poli’s shoes. Out of their 10 entries in to ESC, they’ve only qualified twice and both times they went on to 5 positions – the question is can they repeat the pattern this year?

Kristian Kostov is the youngest Eurovision competitor in this years competition and he’s the first ever competitor to be born in the 21st century. Just turned 17, this singer is already fairly accomplished. He’s preformed on two separate singing contests: The Voice Kids Russia AND X Factor Bulgaria, placing in to the finals but not winning on either show. He’s already released a single last year so “Beautiful Mess” is his second. There’s no release of a video or live vocals for his Eurovision song but watching his singing show performances, he’s got a career ahead of him if he wants it.

He has absolutely perfect and clear English enunciation and the song, unlike some other countries *cough*Poland*cough* makes perfect sense. The song is a little more mature than I would probably have given to a 17 year old but it kind of works because Kristian voice isn’t too low as to make it sound comical or too young to make it feel creepy. I have some difficulty imagining how he’s going to make an emotional connection with the song live though. Lena’s winning entry “Satellite” felt like something a 16-20 year old might be singing: a fluffy, irreverent song about being in love with someone. “Beautiful Mess” is well meaning somewhat deep and contains a sentiment that many mid to late 20 year olds feel when their life or work or emotional baggage has gotten in the way of a relationship they want to hold on to. Even a vocally perfect version of this song might seem out of place if he looks young or small on stage.

Which begs the question, what is the staging going to look like? Releasing a lyric video leaves us with very few clues. The lyric video is even less than we’re usually given as it’s just a stationary picture with words appearing and disappearing without any scenery or even particularly much going on graphic wise. It’s definitely a classic love ballad so it’s entirely possible we’re going to get a single light on Kristian who will stand still and preform which would be boring and lower its chances of moving on. The other possibility I could see is a pair of dancers doing a performance behind him but you run the risk of having adults making Bulgaria’s young singer look small or even out of place. I spent a lot of time thinking about staging for a song like this but I’d worry that doing something too outlandish is going to clutter up what is a very simple song.

The other route they might go is instruments on stage (violin, piano) but again you run the risk of making him look small. The problem is that Kristin barely looks 15, let alone 17. Looking at past videos, he gets a bit dwarfed by kids his own age though a lot can happen for 17 year olds in the few months leading up to Eurovision…

For those reason I believe that Bulgaria will qualify handily but then stall out a little in the final against adults and acts that have more polish to them. A solid middle of the pack for Bulgaria might be in store, and is that really a mess in the end?

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