Live: Bulgarian semi final

by Stella Floras 87 views

The Bulgarian preselection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2009 continues tonight with the semi final which will start in a few minutes.

The show

The show will start at 19:50 CET and will end after two hours. Out of the 18 participants, 11 went all the way through the Be a star heats, and the other seven are wildcards chosen by BNT. An expert jury will choose nine songs to qualify to the final on February 21st, where three songs are already waiting:

* Mariana Popova – Crazy
* Poli Genova – One lifetime is not enough
* Grafa – Vrag

You can watch the webstream here or here, BNT1 or on BNT Satellite Channel on Eutelsat W2 (16E) frequencies 11011V 27500 3/4.

Tonight's participants are:

1. I Velina – Ready for love
2. Moto – Razstoyaniya
3. Deyan Dzhenkov – Imam tvoeto ime
4. Gergana Dimova – Yasno slantse
5. Stefan Dobrev – Everlasting love
6. Prima Vista – Let's spread love
7. Erilien & Najam Sheraz – Don't break my heart
8. Iskra & Misha Iliev – Dokosni me
9. Sahara – Don't kiss for money
10. Plamen Penev – Dalechen svyat
11. Jura Tone feat. Lady B – Chance to love you
12. Zona – Senki
13. Stefan Ilchev – Get up
14. Nora – It's not right
15. Emiliya Valenti – S teb
16. Krassimir Avramov – Illusion
17. Tedi Slavcheva feat. Teni & Iva – Don't look for me
18. Dani Milev – Nyama vreme

Live coverage

And the show has started, so far the webcast holds up quite well with minimum buffering. We are greeted by a full traditional, Bulgarian folk opening act.

The hosts tonight are the Be a star hosts, Neli Atanasova & Drago Draganov. The show is being held in the same studios of Be a star but on a new stage. The jury, that will decide which songs will get the final tickets is presented. and here the show begins. In between the songs, the singers are presented and their favorite Bulgarian songs too.

Commentary by Gil Laufer

01. I Velina – Ready for love

Unlike in the Be a star contest, I Velina is now accompanied by a man holding a big, heart-shaped flower.Though her song is good, her live performance is a bit weak and out of rhythm.

02. Moto – Razstoyaniya

Moto, like I Velina, got a wildcard to the semifinal after this rock band didn't qualify from the heat to the quarter final.Slow, melodic and very Italian sounding, up tempo ballad from Moto. Their performance is too the point, but this is one of the songs forgotten before it is actually over.

03. Deyan Dzhenkov – Imam tvoeto ime

This ballad is the winner of the first quarter final. Deyan along with two dancers and backing singers are on stage all dressed in black He seems to be slightly out of tune but although it is a good performance all in all Somehow the fusion (or lack of it) of Deyan and his backing vocalists fail to create the atmosphere intended.

04. Gergana Dimova – Yasno slantse

One of tonight's hot favorites, Gergana won both the heat and the quarterfinal with a big amount of precents. The crowd applauses even before the performance starts. Gergana is repeating her performance from the previous rounds and the the four backing singers-dancers in the golden clothes adds to the athmosphere of this easy ethno-pop bulgarian song. This is the kind of Balkan sound that could be heard anywhere around the area.

05. Stefan Dobrev – Everlasting love

First wildcard tonight out of 7. Although this is not an exceptionally outstanding ballad, Stefan does a very good job with it.Standing centerstage, accompanied by a guitarist, a piano player and three backing vocalists sitting on stools they deliver one of the best performances so far, correct and touching, at least as far as the lead singer is concerned.

06. Prima Vista – Let's spread love

The girls decided to replace the shiny colorful clothes for simple black and white.
During the long time they had since they qualified to tonight's show, their singing is improved but still not perfect.A nice cabaret-style song that people over the continent would remember during Eurovision nights but maybe it's not enough to make an impression on stage in Moscow.

07. Erilien & Najam Sheraz – Don't break my heart

Here comes Vessy's replacement – A Pakistani super star and a Bulgarian woman. The performance starts with Erilien out of tune. Even though she gets back on track she's out of tune. A performance that might work on a big Eurovision stage, does not work on a small stage like this. The song is special , rhythmic and energetic with a touch of ethnic sound in between. Not a very common sound which might qualify because of that reason.

08. Iskra & Misha Iliev – Dokosni me

The last qualifers from the first quarter final, the rock ballad of Iskra & Misha Iliev. The song had been rearranged and here it is now. A piano with candles on it is on the stage and each half of the duo is standing in opposite sides and then they join together. They are dressed in simple black and with good vocals that could bring them to the final on February 21st.

09. Sahara – Don't kiss for money

The girl band Sahara almost participated in the 4th heat but decided not to. Instead they are here as a wildcard. Black and white again for the three girls and for the hip-hop dancers as well. Vocals are a bit weak but the performance, the rhythm of the song and the ,if a bit repetitive, chorus could save them.

10. Plamen Penev – Dalechen svyat

Might have been an unexcpected qualifer but here is Plamen, seriously out of tune as well, with his girls. Appearantly this song is not so special and might not go far after tonight. Supposedly a pop rock entry, the overall effect is quite sloppy.

10. Jura Tone feat. Lady B – Chance to love you

Coming out of nowhere onto the stage, here is Jura Tone who has already walked Eurovision stage last year as part of Deep Zone, with his guitar, and Lady B with minimal clothes. They are backed up by three girls in shiny dresses. The voices are very good and it might play an important card in tonight's show where many participants exhibited less. skill Though the performance isn't as charismatic as this jazzy rock song requires, it might be improved in a month from now. The band seem to be having a great time on stage conveying a party atmosphere.

12. Zona – Senki

Senki is performed fully live by three member band Zona. Maybe the worst vocal performance of the night so far and not much to write home about for this uptempo, rock ballad.

13.Stefan Ilchev – Get up

Another party going on stage again now, with Stefan and his dancers taking up the entire floor. Fun and energetic, good eye contact with the audience and camera by Stefan, this could make it to the final.

14. Nora – It's not right

Change of style now, energetic rock for Nora and her four male dancers. The song is powerful, if not exactly one would expect to see on a Eurovision stage…but then what is? Nora lives up to the expectations vocally and the show looks well worked on.

15. Emiliya Valenti – S teb

Emiliya delivers a different version of S teb which changed since the quarter finals. An interesting fusion of traditional and rock stringed instrument sounds and a full choreograpjhy with 2 male and 2 female dancers compliments the song. Emiliya is painfully off tune at times but she gets better as the song progresses.

16. Krassimir Avramov – Illusion

Originally announced as a BNT wildcard, Krassimir is now performing in the semi. The song, a popera act. stands alone in a class of its own. Krassi starts off alone, singing in his unique voice and it all seems too simple. He is soon joined by 2 male drummer who soon set their drum on fire for the singer to stand on during the finale.

17. Tedi Slavcheva feat. Teni & Iva – Don't look for me

Balkan RnB now. An interesting song, well performed by Tedi, dressed in a minimal sequined dress and Teni and Iva in casual street wear. The sound is interesting and should it advance to the final some work on the arrangement could work miracles. And on to the last song for the night.

18. Dani Milev – Nyama vreme

Perfect vocals from Dani from start to end. Accompanied by 4 girl dancers who leave the stage unexpectedly before the end of the song this is a goog closing for the Bulgarian semi. At least as far as tonight's contestants are concerned as we are going to watch the final wild cards perform.

Mariana Popova – Crazy

Mariana, identically dressed to her four dancers in black catsuits performs Crazy energetically. One problem which is never good for a live show is the fact that she hardly makes any eye contact with the camera. The show is good overall and the song memorable. Let's see if she will manage to go to Eurovision again with that.

Grafa – Vrag

An impressive show from big star Grafa now. Black and white seems to be the dress code for tonight. A fully choreographed show, complete with mirror props which form a box inside which Grafa ends up in the end. The song is quite good but it just lacks that certain ummmph that makes a Eurovision hit. But we do have time to the final….

Poli Genova – One lifetime is not enough

A touching ballad for last. The song is powerful and will be a tough act to beat in the final. Poli is very pretty and many close up shots take advantage of the fact.

And the nine finalists are:

Dani Milev – Nyama vreme
Moto – Razstoyaniya
Nora – It's not right
Jura Tone feat. Lady B – Chance to love you
Stefan Ilchev – Get up
Krassimir Avramov – Illusion
I Velina – Ready for love
Stefan Dobrev – Everlasting love
Sahara – Don't kiss for money

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Stella Floras

Thanks to Johnny Logan and Hold me now I fell in love with the Eurovision Song Contest, a love that's been going strong ever since with undiminished passion. My first memories date back to 1977 and the lyrics of Rock bottom, Dschinghis Khan and A ba ni bi are still engraved in my brain.

I joined in 2006 as a junior editor after being invited by Barry Viniker, I soon became Senior Editor and during the 2007 contest in Helsinki I was appointed Head of Communications. Today I hold the post of Head of Human Resources and I am proud to be working with the best editorial team in the world.