Likely Televote Appeal
Likely Jury Appeal
Unfortunately, as a contest song it struggles to push the emotional buttons required to win or position itself above several other entries.
The months of waiting are over as Bulgaria finally unveil their much-hyped super-group, Equinox, and their Eurovision entry, Bones.
Equinox will perform Bones in the first half of semi-final 1.
Bulgaria’s PR machine has been in full swing since late December and I was lucky enough to be invited to take part in Bulgaria’s Eurovision selection process. The standard was quite low, but Bones stood head and shoulders above the other songs. My immediate description was Rag’n’Bone Man meets Azerbaijan 2017.
Unfortunately, as a contest song it struggles to push the emotional buttons required to win or position itself above several other entries. It’s stylish, but too dark and also lacks a discernible message or connection. Admittedly, this can be achieved with staging. Unbeknownst to me at the time of rating the Bulgarian selection, two of the artists are American and are not the sort to attract much of a televote in the East and Balkan regions. Bulgarians are taking to forums to voice their disapproval. How this is reflective of the wider population is debatable, but it does confirm my early worries.
The Equinox group, or ‘common framework’ as described on BNT’s Twitter feed, should be reliable vocalists. Of that I have no major concerns. My slight reservation at the time of previewing the Bulgarian selection was that Zhana entered a song independently and her diction was terrible. And following the news that Bulgaria was in discussions with Loreen, it suggests Zhana was probably second or third choice. Even so, her part in the song will be minimal when compared to JJ’s lead role.
Back to Zhana and perhaps the group as a whole, the styling is extremely futuristic and incredibly off putting. They have the look of a cast of extras from a sci-fi B-movie. If this is the edgy, avant-guard concept intended for Lisbon, I worry for their ability progress from the semi-final, given the strength in the first half.
As I briefly touched on in our Melodifestivalen Final Preview when discussing Felix Sandman’s song, to do well at Eurovision with this sort of entry, it has to have an element of hope and optimism. Bones doesn’t possess any of that, so the fallback position is relying on five singers lacking any personal bond to sell a dark-themed song to Europe. What’s more, two of singers have no connection to Bulgaria or their regional diaspora. So how does this enter the televoting top-5 ahead of some of the livelier bigger hitters selected? Last year they could rely on a contemporary pop-ballad performed by a telegenic lad with an incredible voice.
Before Poli Genova’s If Love Was a Crime injected new life into the Bulgarian Eurovision project, the nation qualified just once since 2005. Bones is better than all of those previous failed qualification attempts, but that overlooks the precarious nature of semi-final 1 and Bulgaria’s lack of hard support. Bulgaria are pitted against Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia and Israel. Only five countries have ever progressed from the first half of the semi-final. If that record is to be broken this year, Equinox need to appear more televote friendly.
- Contemporary and well produced song
- Group reportedly capable of delivering live
- Has some regional allies in semi, some juries didn’t rate Kristian high last year
- Harsh styling could depress televote support
- No emotional hook/connection and no ‘big moment’
- Very tricky semi-final to qualify from
Has Bones got the muscle to power into the top-5?