Returning to the Eurovision Song Contest after a year away due to financial difficulties, Bulgaria has chosen VICTORIA to be their artist to stand on stage in Rotterdam, The Netherlands next May. At today’s press conference, BNT also explains their new focus and announce their production partners.
From X Factor Bulgaria to Rotterdam
VICTORIA came to fame during the third season of X Factor Bulgaria, making her the latest in a long line of Eurovision representatives to perform on the reality competition show before participating in Europe’s most-watched entertainment show.
Sharing her excitement in being selected as the Bulgarian artist for 2020, VICTORIA said “I am privileged to be able to make music that I believe in and to have the freedom to be who I am. Being the Bulgarian ambassador on such a huge stage is a big responsibility, as the Eurovision Song Contest matters to so many people in Bulgaria.”
Her début English language single, “I WANNA KNOW” has gained hundreds of thousands of streams across YouTube and Spotify since its release in July 2019. This success earned her a spot with UK-based music label Ostereo who will support Ligna Studios in distributing VICTORIA’s music globally.
The CEO of Ostereo, Howard Murphy, said “VICTORIA is an artist with outstanding individuality and a voice that moves you. We see her potential as an artist that knows what they want to say to their audience. At the end of the day, music is just that – your way to share your beliefs with the audience and your way to influence them.”
Ligna Studios, Ostereo and Entiendo are production partners with BNT
The aim for Ligna Studios is to ensure that this partnership in returning to the Eurovision Song Contest helps open many doors for the local creative industry in Bulgaria. Genoveva Hristova, the CEO of Ligna Studios and manager of VICTORIA said, “I would like to thank BNT for the trust and the cooperative attitude. I believe that Eurovision is a platform that should be used for the development of the whole creative sector in Bulgaria.”
In coming back to the Eurovision Song Contest, the Bulgarian delegation have stated that their new long-term focus is to ensure international success for their participants.
Deyan Yordanov, the managing director of Entiendo – and a core member of Bulgaria’s delegation since 2016 – explained:
“Our goal will be to guarantee that VICTORIA will have a significant boost in her career after the contest. This will be an example of what opportunities Eurovision can bring to the Bulgarian artists, who aim to reach an international audience.”– Deyan Yordanov
In addition to this hope to make Eurovision a firm highlight in Bulgaria’s national calendar, Vasil Ivanov, the head of press for the Bulgarian delegation and executive director of Entiendo, outlined the key audience which they are looking to target with their choice in artist and performance: “Eurovision is a family show that gathers a wide audience in Bulgaria, so we will focus on bringing value for all members of the family.”
Overwhelming demand was central to the return
After Bulgaria’s withdrawal from Eurovision in September 2018, a petition which was started by our friends at Eurovision-Bulgaria collected nearly 20,000 signatures in an attempt to overturn the decision.
Despite the fact that the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 wasn’t broadcast in Bulgaria, the local fans still found ways to watch the contest from home. More than 700,000 viewers from Bulgaria, 10% of the population, watched Eurovision content on-demand and this key data was crucial in BNT’s attempts to find a solution to return to the competition.
For Ligna Studios, this is an essential part of the partnership. Christova said, “we are also extremely proud to help the Eurovision cause in Bulgaria as we feel committed to the values the contest represents. I hope that someday Eurovision will come to Bulgaria. We feel clearly represented by the slogan of this year’s Eurovision, “Open Up”, and we will do our best to bring that message to every corner of our country.”
“A priceless opportunity” for BNT
The general director of BNT, Emil Koshlukov, stated that the return of the country to the contest is an answer to the persistent calls of the local young and forward-thinking audience who identifies with the values Eurovision represents.
He added, “For us as a public broadcaster this project is also a priceless opportunity to extend our partnership with such an important organization like the EBU. I am also happy that this partnership happens amid the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of BNT. This corresponds with our vision for the future of the public broadcasting in Bulgaria as one of main drivers for positive change in the society.”
The project is also widely supported by one of the biggest radio groups in Bulgaria and different members of the creative industry in the country, including creative hub Missia23, Forbes Bulgaria, design studio ARC Adacemy and the popular local NGO Tuk-Tam, whose activities are focused on Bulgarians living abroad with their focus being finding opportunities for people to re-establish their cultural connections with their homeland.
Bulgaria at the Eurovision Song Contest
Bulgaria has participated at Eurovision on 12 occasions so far. VICTORIA will be the thirteenth artist to represent the nation at the competition. Between 2005 and 2013, Bulgaria only qualified for the final once with Elitsa & Stoyan in 2007 finishing in 5th place with their entry “Water” which used traditional instruments fused with techno music and was the first occasion that the Bulgarian language was used on the Eurovision stage. The song was originally titled “Voda” (Вода) before being altered to English for an international audience.
After withdrawing in 2014, two years of non-participation due to poor results saw a rethink into how Bulgaria should represent itself at the Eurovision Song Contest. Returning in 2016, Poli Genova shot Bulgaria to their greatest result in their history with “If Love Was a Crime” finishing in 4th place with her bilingual entry.
The following year, Kristian Kostov gave Bulgaria its first podium place with “Beautiful Mess” finishing as runner-up to Portugal in 2017 before Equinox made it three qualifications in a row to the Grand Final in 2018.
Are you excited by VICTORIA representing Bulgaria at the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands? Would you like to see Bulgaria use a national final to select their entry in the future? Which is your favourite Bulgarian entry at the Eurovision Song Contest? Let us know in the comments below and on social media @ESCXTRA!