On November 26th, the crystal anniversary of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest will take place. Indeed, Georgia’s capital city of Tbilisi will host the 15th edition of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Therefore it is the perfect time to look back at the journeys of all of this year’s participating countries in the contest so far. However, before we get going with this year’s participants, here’s a quick look back at this year’s surprise withdrawal… Bulgaria. (Yes… we had this pre-written and we don’t want it going to waste!)
- Country: Bulgaria
- Broadcaster: BNT
- Debut appearance: 2007
- Number of participations: 6 (2007-2008, 2011, 2014-2016)
- Highest finish: 2nd (2014)
- Lowest finish: 15th (2008)
Back to the very beginning…
BNT made their debut in the 2007 Junior Eurovision Song Contest. They chose to hold a national final in September ahead of the contest taking place in Rotterdam in December. Bon-Bon were landslide winners, with Bonbolandiya scoring 25% of the public vote in a field of ten songs. In Rotterdam, the girls performed eighth in the running order. Interestingly, the two acts that performed after Bon-Bon were Nevena Božović and Lisa, Amy & Shelley who went on to represent Serbia and The Netherlands in the adult contest in 2013 (as a member of Moje 3) and 2017 (as OG3NE) respectively.
Bon-Bon placed seventh at the end of voting, securing Bulgaria a very respectable debut result. In fact, this would remain Bulgaria’s highest finish in the contest until Krisia, Hasan & Ibrahim placed 2nd in 2014. The winner of the 2007 Junior Eurovision Song Contest was Alexey Zhigalkovich from Belarus. He beat runner-up Arevik from Armenia by just a single point to secure his country their second Junior Eurovision victory.
Bulgaria’s journey so far
Following a solid start, Bulgaria returned for the 2008 contest and selected Krastyana Krasteva via a national final to represent them in Limassol. Unfortunately, she finished fifteenth and last and BNT withdrew from the competition. Bulgaria returned for the 2011 contest in Yerevan and selected Ivan Ivanov through a multi-show national selection. The extra effort paid off, with Ivan’s Superhero securing Bulgaria their second top 10 finish with an 8th place. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for BNT and they withdrew from the competition once again.
BNT returned again in 2014, the same year they chose to take a break from the adult contest too. This was a very successful return for Bulgaria as Krisia, Hasan & Ibrahim finished in second place with Planet of the Children. The trio was internally selected by BNT, with Krisia being a major star in her home country. Winning broadcaster RAI of Italy declined the opportunity to host the following year’s contest, so in stepped BNT and Sofia to host Bulgaria’s first ever Eurovision event!
Hosting their first Eurovision
The 2015 contest in Sofia was a major success, with one of the most impressive stages Junior Eurovision had ever seen as well as 17 participating countries, just one less than the overall participation record. Bulgaria hosted a multi-week artist selection process to select their home entrant with Gabriela Yordanova winning the competition. She would later be joined by the runner-up, Ivan Stoyanov, for her Eurovision performance of Colour of Hope at the contest. The duo finished 9th, Bulgaria’s 4th top 10 finish in 5 appearances.
Lidia Ganeva would go on to make that 5 top 10 finishes in 6 appearances in 2016 with Magical Day also finishing in 9th place. Lidia was chosen to represent Bulgaria through a national selection process once again, with her song being internally selected by BNT.
Looking ahead to 2017
It was revealed this morning that Bulgaria was withdrawing from the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, a massive surprise to many. As revealed in June, BNT is in the process of electing a new director general and board, which was due to come to a climax this month. Therefore, perhaps Junior Eurovision 2017 is coming just too soon with such significant changes happening at the broadcaster. Hopefully, this means once things are settled down, Bulgaria will be in both Eurovision Song Contests in 2018.
My favourite Bulgarian entry!
There are several good entries to choose from for Bulgaria, making my decision difficult. My second favourite would be Lidia Ganeva’s Magical Day from last year, but taking the top spot is Krisia, Hasan & Ibrahim’s Planet of the Children. This needed a few listens to click with me fully, Magical Day was much more instant. However, once seeing this on the stage in Malta, the sheer power of 10-year-old Krisia’s vocals and the superbly classy orchestration from Hasan & Ibrahim makes this song worthy not just of Junior Eurovision but any Eurovision.
To win the televoting from second in the running order is seriously impressive and Bulgaria would have been worthy winners in 2014 just as Italy was. It was a lovely moment that Sofia would go on to host the 2015 contest and Krisia, Hasan & Ibrahim were responsible for Bulgaria hosting their first Eurovision event. I really hope we see Krisia in the adult contest in the future, she’ll be eligible in 2021! I’m sure BNT won’t pass up on the opportunity to send one of the country’s biggest stars and rightly so.
Which is your favourite Bulgarian Junior Eurovision entry so far? Furthermore, what do you think of their withdrawal from the contest? Make sure you tell us in the comments section below and via our social media pages @ESCXTRA!