In the penultimate part of our Stockholm Revisited series we focus on Poli Genova who represented Bulgaria in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest with her song If Love Was A Crime. Poli finished fourth in the contest in Stockholm, achieving the best ever placing for Bulgaria.
Bulgaria made its debut in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2005 and has only qualified twice; in 2007 and 2016. After a two year break Bulgaria returned to the contest and selected Poli Genova to represent the country. Poli had hosted the 2015 Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Sofia and was the natural choice to fly the flag for her country.
Poli is no stranger to the Eurovision Song Contest having represented her country in the 2011 contest with the song Na inat, narrowly missing out on a place in the Grand Final after finishing 12th in the Second Semi Final in Dusseldorf.
"It's a big thing for me. I have kind of a déjà vu, but then again not exactly because everything is different - I am different. I am more grown up of course - five years is a long time. I have changed a lot, I am wiser now, more confident, and I am so happy to be here, from the bottom of my heart. It's the opportunity of a lifetime to get a second chance here. I have never dreamed about that - it's kind of an unreal thing"
Poli qualified easily from the Semi Finals in Stockholm and reached fourth place in the Grand Final, the best ever placing for Bulgaria at the Eurovision Song Contest. Poli's delight was obvious to see:
The Bulgarian delegation were given a hero's welcome when they arrived home from Stockholm. The Bulgarian Head of Delegation Joana Levieva-Sawyer stressed the importance of the Eurovision Song Contest and the opportunities it offers for all the participating artists:
"It's the biggest stage in Europe and the only one that could be compared with the biggest concerts in America. And this is one of the main responsibilities of the public broadcasters - to create opportunities for the people of art. The main benefit is that it is a platform that allows the Bulgarian musicians not only to compete with musicians across Europe, but also to join their efforts and team up. One of the main reasons behind our success this year is the cooperation between Bulgarian and international composers, and the appropriate choice of an artist and song".
A formal announcement regarding Bulgaria's participation in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest is expected in the coming weeks.