As our team continues to grow, it means there are more of us that you can get to know! Therefore, we will continue to bring back our “Meet the ESCXTRA team” feature each time we have someone new for you to meet. What is our personal Eurovision story? Why did we want to be a part of this website? What are our favourite Eurovision songs of all-time? Also, how can you get in touch with us on social media? Read on to find out!
I’m a 23-year-old Bulgarian living in the UK. After an undergrad and postgrad in journalist and International Relations, I now write and analyse news for a living, while fangirling Eurovision, TV and such nerdy stuff on the side. You can find me on Twitter: @bdtodorova
Your first Eurovision memory?
My first Eurovision memory is to do with a song rather than the contest itself, and that is Ruslana’s Wild Dances. When I was younger I used to go to contemporary dance classes, and after a certain amount of time my age group was allowed to help in the choreographing of a dance to Wild Dances. That choreography proved to be very popular and we all loved dancing it, so I have many fond memories of it! The first time I watched Eurovision was in 2005, so I wasn’t even aware that Wild Dances was a Eurovision song until I (re)discovered it sometime later thanks to one of my regular Eurovision binges on YouTube.
Your Eurovision Journey?
I first watched it with my family in 2005, and though I wasn’t happy about the way Bulgaria fared, I really enjoyed the spectacle. For us back then, it was really important to do well, and as it was one of the steps towards European integration, most of the first few years when we didn’t do so well were ultimately tied to disappointment. It was only around 2011/2012 that I finally realised it’s much more fun to follow the journey, and care less about who wins, and more about who’s the most fun.
Now I don’t care so much about odds and who wins in the end, but what I will see only on Eurovision – from operatic vampires to men in hamster wheels. I couldn’t watch the 2015 show when I first moved to the UK, but thanks to my obsession with social media, I found online communities filled with quality memes, speculation, love and appreciation for the show. It’s been a rabbit hole since then!
Why is Eurovision special to you?
Representation on multiple different levels is what makes Eurovision so special in my eyes. On the one hand, each act can teach you so much about the country it is representing, or at the very least make you curious and want to learn more about it. That is invaluable for small countries which are brimming with culture but might not have had the opportunity or platform to showcase it like others have. I can point towards my native country Bulgaria as an example where Eurovision has recently become one of the very few positive things it is known for.
On the other hand, there is representation on a much more personal level, where members of minorities are allowed to be their own most authentic self and tell their story to a global audience, which again can be invaluable to representatives of countries that are more socially conservative.
What attracted you to ESCXTRA?
I have been using ESCXTRA as a way to keep up with Eurovision news and when I found out it was looking for writers I wasted absolutely no time in applying! Now I’m happy to finally be a part of a team that loves Eurovision as much as I do!
And finally, your top 5 Eurovision songs of all-time?
Having to pick five only is actual torture! Here is a non-ordered, non-exhaustive list of my faves:
5. Buranovskiye Babushki – Party For Everybody
My forever fave act that was absolutely robbed that year!!!! It is everything I want a Eurovision entry to be: fun, quirky, dancey, (somehow) representative of the country’s culture. I have kept up with them since then, and they’ve done some covers of Deep Purple and Eagles songs, which is wild and somehow exactly what I need.
4. Cezar – It’s My Life
I absolutely love the fact that the song didn’t have anything to do with vampires, but Romania decided to just fuck it and make it vampire-themed. Beyond that, Cezar’s voice is phenomenal, the act is fun and engaging, and the song memorable.
3. Love, Love, Peace, Peace – Måns Zelmerlöw and Petra Mede
I love a good bit of satire, and Love, Love, Peace, Peace pokes loving fun at the weirdest stuff that has ever got on Eurovision stages.
2. Ruslana – Wild Dances
The original fave has everything you want and more: powerful vocals, lively tune and a good stage presence. The choreography remains astounding and I still have no idea how she managed to dance like that and not sing one single bad note.
1. Poli Genova – If Love Was A Crime
If Love Was A Crime ticks all the boxes for both me and what makes a good pop Eurovision entry. It is a cool, summery hit, with a memorable chorus and a melody that worms its way into your brain. In addition, the staging is good fun, Poli’s outfit made her look like an RPG character, and the lyrics sounded like a not-so-subtle dig to homophobes. What more can you ask for!?
Stay tuned for the next part in our Meet the ESCXTRA team series! Remember, you can share your Eurovision stories with us in the comments section below or via the comments sections on our Facebook page @ESCXTRA. We would love to hear them!