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Bulgaria: Kristian Kostov – Beautiful Mess

Earlier today, Bulgarian Broadcaster, BTN announced The Voice Kids Russia finalist and X Factor Bulgaria runner-up, Kristian Kostov, as their Eurovision 2017 representative. Then just a few hours ago they unveiled the delicate Beautiful Mess as his song. Russian born Kristian will perform Beautiful Mess in the second half of semi-final 2. Following Monday's song release, the Betfair outright price shot from around 20s to over 40s and has since gradually been backed in to below 20s. The initial reactions were probably 'oh no, not another ballad', or 'this isn't another If Love Was a Crime', which clearly overlooked the fact that…
Song Appeal
Vocal Strength
Staging Potential
Likely Televote Appeal
Likely Jury Appeal
Cohesiveness of Package

Sublime

Might Kristian become the unofficial surrogate for Russian diaspora, as well as the Bulgarian diaspora and regional support?

User Rating: 3.46 ( 44 votes)

Earlier today, Bulgarian Broadcaster, BTN announced The Voice Kids Russia finalist and X Factor Bulgaria runner-up, Kristian Kostov, as their Eurovision 2017 representative. Then just a few hours ago they unveiled the delicate Beautiful Mess as his song.

Russian born Kristian will perform Beautiful Mess in the second half of semi-final 2.

Following Monday’s song release, the Betfair outright price shot from around 20s to over 40s and has since gradually been backed in to below 20s. The initial reactions were probably ‘oh no, not another ballad’, or ‘this isn’t another If Love Was a Crime‘, which clearly overlooked the fact that even though Beautiful Mess is ‘another f*cking ballad’, it’s a chart worthy song performed by a telegenic kid that straddles two diaspora blocs. As Beanie mentioned in the comments: “he is very accessible – quite James Arthur-esque and more current than the few other male ballads this year”.

The gentle build of the Beautiful Mess may sound too understated to achieve mass appeal, but it’s as relevant as Australia and Belgium and both of those songs are equally soft in approach; and as hinted above, Bulgaria benefits from greater regional influence. More on that in a moment…

Belgium has been matched at much lower prices than Bulgaria so far, yet while Belgium’s City Light’s is credible, it is very alternative and lacks the call to action one would expect from a top-4 entry. Bulgaria, on the other hand, fits the more conventional Eurovision and chart-worthy structure while promising an evocative and cinematic stage show.

A number of folk (not on here) have criticised Kristian for looking too young and suggested he’d be better suited to Junior Eurovision. Erm… he’s not eligible. He’ll be 17 once he gets to Kyiv, and as you’ll see from this video, and this video, mums and girls will be quite smitten with his innocent looks and vocal maturity. Cute and innocent works at Eurovision with the likes of Roberto Bellarosa and Donny Montell being fine examples of over achievement owing to some sense of insecurity and innocence. The good thing for Bulgaria is that Kristian has a cracking song and is a worthy contender for the win.

As mentioned at the start of the review, Kristian was born in Russia and even took part in the Russian version of The Voice Kids. It’s also worth reminding everyone that Russia’s entry is well below average this year, so might Kristian become the unofficial surrogate for Russian diaspora, as well as the Bulgarian diaspora and regional support? If I were part of the Bulgarian PR team, I would be promoting Kristian all over Russian TV and across the ex-USSR nations to harness and galvanise that support.

Last year Poli scored well from Balkan nations, as well as in places like Germany, Spain and the UK where there are high levels of Bulgarian diaspora. I think Kristian has the potential to score even higher if you accept that Beautiful Mess will appeal to the international juries. If so, then Bulgaria could be dangerous if given a second-half draw.

Beautiful Mess, or delicate dark horse?

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About Gavster

Owner & Chief Editor   I’m a qualified designer and the official geek in the crew, dedicating most of my free time to keeping the ESCtips show on the road. My family routes allow me to support the UK, Ireland and Italy.

23 comments

  1. Now, this is what Ireland were attempting to achieve!

    However, the more interesting parallel is with Australia. Both have similar types of singer and similar styles of song. Beautiful Mess is a modern easily accessible ballad, but still with sufficient quality, which could appeal to juries and televoters and East and West alike. This is a clear top 10 candidate which could go top 5. I would say much the same about Australia. However, I don’t think both will go top 5. On the night one will thrive and the other may fall back into the pack. But which is which?

    For now, I’m going to use the time-honoured Eurovision cop out and say it will come down to live vocal, stage presence and staging.

    But well done Bulgaria and for F*!& sake Armenia hurry up and declare your entry!

    Ps: I’ve also noticed that with the launching of the official videos a number of countries have changed the production of their songs. Some to good effect, other’s less so! Gav, are you planning to do an item on these changes? I would be very interested to hear your opinion and the opinions of others on here as to what has worked and what hasn’t.

    • Hi, erm I won’t change the reviews unless there’s a major overhaul, hence addition to UK. Instead, I’ll do my pre-rehearsal roundup before I fly out to Kyiv.

      • Thanks, I hadn’t realised you had updated the UK review. At the moment I’m slightly less convinced by the revamp than you, but from the other comments I seem to be in the minority.

      • Will there be an addition to Albania, or is that not considered a substantial overhaul?

  2. I agree ej, this is very accessible – quite James Arthur-esque and more current than the few other male ballads this year(and the rest of the ballads in general).

    From the other videos I’ve seen his vocals are strong enough (for a simple song like this anyway) – staging is all important as viewers may lose interest during the opening 30 seconds.

    Excellent entry though – I could see this as top 5 given that Bulgaria sound like they putting a lot of effort into this years contest…and perhaps better.

  3. This is very well-produced. I think Bulgaria are looking at another good result this year. Could potentially win the Semi 2 jury vote.

  4. Might sneak a top 10 on a good night. I think there’s too much ahead of it for much more but should definitely make the final barring any disasters.

  5. His voice is fantastic, but the sound of it in the chorus reminded me of something from a while back that took me about 20 minutes to pin down. I found it eventually.

    https://youtu.be/1aY-GrGcMDg?t=1m36s

  6. A Great song.I love it and want it to win.

    • The song is gorgeous, I can only reiterate how much I love his voice – but I’d advise caution betting on this to win, as it just has a straight 2 verse 2 chorus structure. It uses the refrain of the 2nd chorus as its climax, so there’s no moment of quiet followed by the big finale. This is quite crucial to creating that ‘winners moment’ on TV that the vast majority of winners need to click with people.

      Have there been any Eurovision winners in recent years without a traditional third chorus finale? Even the most unusual ‘top 2’ songs in recent years, 1944 and Calm After the Storm, had a traditional structure. The only winner that’s slightly deviated from this in the last 12 years is Dima Bilan.

      The potential for exploiting his Russian links is a good PR move, but Russia themselves will be attracting a lot of that on their own, assuming all goes ahead with Samoilova. You’d have to be a medium to say with any certainty that Bulgaria will succeed in winning Eurovision on that foundation.

      • (Also, is shouting about his Russian-ness really something you want to do in Ukraine? :P)

        • It would be too late if they only started that once they got to Ukraine. But any anti-vote will be against Russia, rather than Russians – or indeed a Bulgarian boy who was born in Russia.

          • What is an anti-vote? You cannot vote AGAINST someone, or can you?

          • It’s a delicate situation. What I meant was that if you’re trying to build PR around the Bulgarian act by promoting him to Russian and Russian-friendly audiences, there’s potential for backlash of doing so in a contest hosted in Ukraine. If you overdo it with characterising him as Russian-born then it will turn some people off and potentially leave the Ukrainian hosts with a foul taste in their mouths when that sort of PR narrative finally gets to the commentary booths and across the airwaves. It should be more of a wink and a nudge to the Russians rather than the headline.

            On an unrelated note, I should add the whole traditional structure caveat gives me concern for Italy’s final mix.

  7. I’m impressed with Bulgaria’s approach of late. Beautiful Mess is commercial, but it’s not throwaway by any means. Kristian’s vocal and the downtempo rhythm sync really well together. Something I’ve been thinking is, if Italy weren’t to go down too well with jurors than this would be a strong alternative. Great to see Belgium, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan and others pushing the boat out this year.

  8. For starters I think Italy will stroll ESC this year but if something does beat it I dont think this is it, for me its a dark horse at best.

    • I personally think with an outstanding staging this could potentially win the semi, it’s got great staging potential, I could imagine some really cool camera effects during the warped synth instrumental breaks

      For me Italy needs to be 5th minimum in the jury to stand a chance, and I can already think of five songs that could potentially get a higher jury score in the final: Bulgaria, Sweden, Australia, Belgium, Portugal. Maybe you could throw in some other potential jury favourites like Finland and France (the ESC cut is more dynamic IMO). And even if it wins the televote there’s no way it’s going to rake in anywhere near the 300+ that Sergey got.

  9. To me, it’s clear that Bulgaria VS Australia is gonna be a thing. They’re fishing in exactly the same pond. I’m not too sure what makes Bulgaria more of a contender than Australia other than just how much you might like this song more. I think there’s a lot more feeling in Bulgaria’s song, it’s not as generic, but Australia’s got the edge of having a traditional structure with a proper climax.

    • To me in terms of staging, Bulgaria can get away with looking contemporary, while Australia can only get away with a very classic staging, so when it comes to the final there will be a direct comparison as they’re both baby-faced 17 year old boys with voices beyond their years, so when it comes to voting it will come down to whether you prefer contemporary or classic.

  10. This has a very well developed and strong melody that could of grown into something special as its starts lovely,but for me it didnt,at least in this studio version.The Balkans are very strong this year and their votes arent certain to go Bulgaria’s way.The east might go for it with Russia and Ukraine out of the picture,but again that isnt certain.Im sure a big section of ESC fans will love this mainly for the sweet just legal young boy,but will he standout in the quick fire esc grand final to 200 million?.
    A good jury score is likely and televote,but 1st,or more likely 4/5th?.To win this would need staging far far superior to all the other challengers.It might get it of course as its obvious they are trying and the EBU are pushing them (they were very worried when all the Balkans started dropping out and have pushed them all since).Iv kept this just green,but wont be adding until i see how the staging looks.

  11. this entry has a lot of things going for it, potential to take both Balkan and eastern votes, a super modern polished song, and maybe most importantly kristian has a nearly BGT child singer cuteness that could influence televotes and jury alike.
    Very interested to see this performed live because if he nails his vocals it becomes a bit more impressive coming from one so young and juries could really support this.

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