Leading Bulgarian Eurovision Song Contest journalist, Radoslav Markov today spoke to esctoday.com about the situation in the country regarding the Eurovision Song Contest. He has informed us that Bulgarian broadcaster, BNT, is struggling to find enough artists to fill the national final following scandals in the national selections in their first two years. Bulgaria may be forced to select a participant internally.
Mr. Markov has been a leading advocator of the Eurovision Song Contest in Bulgaria for years before the country entered for the first time in 2005. He is a keen supporter of the competiton, but fears for it's future in Bulgaria following it's first two years. There have been scandals attached to both national finals and the country has ranked poorly in both attempts. He tells esctoday.com that should their performance in 2007 not surpass the previous two, Bulgaria is almost certain to withdraw from the Eurovision Song Contest after 2007:
"There is no interest in Bulgaria now for the Eurovision Song Contest. There was a little interest in the beginning, but now it is gone. After the scandals of 2005 and 2006 with the selection, nobody believes that the national final is fair. Also, we have had bad results, so now no-one cares about the contest. The fans think the contest is backward and the singers don't want to put themselves forward because they don't believe that they have a fair chance to compete.
New countries at the Eurovision Song Contest need promotion so that the competition gains acceptance and increases its popularity. The EBU does not provide this and the broadcaster does not have the budget. It is a shame because if Bulgaria score badly again this time, that will be the end for us. We will certainly withdraw in 2008".
In 2005, the group Kaffe won the first Bulgarian national final. It was believed that the result was rigged in advance, many artists protested and one act, Slavi Trifunov & Sofi Marinova, the most popular according to the fans, participated in the show, only to refuse to sing their song. Kaffe won the final, and Slavi Trifunov & Sofi Marinova finished in second place without even singing! When Kaffe tried to sing their winning song, they mere met with an outcry of boos and jeering from a very unhappy audience!
A year late, Mariana Popova won the 2006 Bulgarian final, and imediately found herself accused of winning because of a technical error! In an open letter addressed to the director of Bulgarian broadcaster BNT, artists have protested that technical faults occured which affected the outcome of the contest. The complaint made focuses on the time limit imposed by BNT on the voting window. Up to five calls could be made from a single number, within a ten-minute period. The finalists claim that many of their supporters were unable to get through in this short time, and call for a fresh round of voting.