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Bulgaria: Equinox – Bones

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…
Song Appeal
Vocal Strength
Staging Potential
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.

User Rating: 3.84 ( 77 votes)

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?

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.


  1. Not the winner! What was all the hype about?

  2. I think their biggest challenge is to make this not look plasticky. It is a tough one, because this is not a cohesive group, there are like five guys put there on the stage for the first time ever, while they have very little, or even nothing in common. The song is not bad, but I believe was overhyped by their PR machine. Is it the one from the selections, Gav?

    • It is and these weren’t the artists on the demo [apart from 1], which I’ll touch on in the review.

      • The question is, would it have won in its current incarnation? I think it will not reach its potential even after the first 2-3 rehearsals, as I must say again that bringing so many artists on the same page will be very difficult. Also, won’t the staging be very static? They have room for only one extra person on the stage and with no LEDs, the camerawork has to be sharp and on point.

        This can either make them look like geniuses or fail miserably flat. It’s definitely a challenge.

  3. Just listened to Bulgaria. A case of ‘so much excitement about nothing’. Way too difficult for my ears. Videoclip reminds me of “Blade Runner 2049”. Moody song, but think too moody.

  4. Well, I do expect it to be top 10. Bulgaria have gotten the staging down the past 2 years. I’d imagine they have a vision for this too.

    With that in mind I’m mildly let down after all of hype. The voices do mesh decently together but it doesn’t feel all that cohesive as a package to me. Also, it just screams Loreen track, and I wish she would have competed with this in MF instead of Statements. If she really was a part of the demo, then that’s a big disappointment she backed out.

    As a song it’s pretty good, but I find the chorus much weaker than the verses, which are quite beautiful. To me it’s in a similar vein to Azerbaijan’s song from last year, but a bit more moody.

  5. Good song and Bulgaria are in the running with it, but it’s not what it was made out to be. 18s feels right.
    Was it necessary for them to draft in 5 singers to do this though? It seems excessive and will make it hard to stage effectively and they should be trying to make this more accessible, without some styling. Will need a great jury score and a levelled out televote, because I don’t see this winning with the public.

  6. This is what happens when you try too hard.I cant remember anything of the song a minute after hearing it.The look is also far too harsh for winning material.The juries might go for it,but the televote shouldnt be anything special.The staging will need to be fantastic and thats not easy given the five of them and the plodding along melody.Bulgaria did well with good pop songs and very voteable artists,they seem to of forgot that here.

    • This 🙂 Comes across very plastic

      I picture this with a LED-show that needs to elevate everything, but that might be hard with the stage this year.

  7. Positives:
    – A very modern sounding piece of dreamy pop
    – It’s accessible on first listen

    – By the third listen I was starting to get bored with it
    – As others have said, this might be difficult to stage effectively
    – It’s the type of music that sounds better on a car radio than on the Eurovision stage

    If the live vocals and staging are good, given its contemporary feel, I can see the juries putting this in their top 5. I’m not so sure this is a televote song though.

    So, despite this being another good quality entry, I don’t see Bones as a winner. Top 10 may be the best it can hope for.

  8. So dissapointing. If skeletons didnt set the scoreboard on fire, what does make people think that this will do? ( and skeletons was better! )
    I think the lyrics are bad and dark songs doesnt really click with the eurovision public. They should have given the song only to the girl, they are all so different looking. Reminds me of the fyrom 2015 disastrous performance, so random.

  9. The studio version is average at best.
    I am curious to see if the bulgarian performance will be good or a mess.
    Still cant understand why they didn’t give the song only to the girl, they just made things more difficult for themselves coz
    a) there may be a big problem with cohision, they may end up looking like seperate x factor finalists on a team performance
    b) 5 spots already taken on stage so they cant do many things, given the lack of leds too.

    I dont think this is top 10 material like many believe. And if someone thinks juries go for this kind of tracks should doublecheck.

  10. I’m not writing off Bulgaria just yet, but you have to admit that they look like a bunch of cold, angry vampires.

    • If they were stood next to a ATM cash machine looking shifty i wouldnt want to be sticking my visa card in,they look like a card skimming outfit.

  11. Boring, no hook, they look terrifying

    Overhyped mess

  12. What can I say? Don’t believe the hype. I only heard hints from people on the internal jury selection, but I had a good idea not to follow the crowd and bet on this. Relieved that I took that road because on reveal I was totally underwhelmed.

    Bulgaria had a good run going edgy with Poli and Kristian, but now I think they have crossed the line. The tune has gone entirely too low-key commercial, the group formation seems incohesive, and from what I have heard proposed of the staging will be extremely dark and moody. Kristian also had dark staging, but what you also had was a good looking young man who could hold your attention in one place. This time you won’t have that, either in focus (split between 5 people), and I think will be too ‘out there’ to form any sort of lasting affliiation for in the 3 minutes. There is nothing here I can grab hold of in the first 30 seconds that makes me even want to stay and watch/listen.

    I’m wondering, if it wasn’t Bulgaria providing this (given their recent success and fan love), would it even still be in the odds at under 20/1?

  13. I love it – I think it will do well, partly because it’s Bulgaria and partly because it’s a good song

  14. If this was the UK it would be about 40-1. I actually quite like it but it’s not even as good as Skeletons from last year and that bombed. No high point and not memorable. No way a winner but top 10 possible.

  15. I think that the song is very good, but I do not believe that they will be able to perform it live and not lose the atmosphere. And I think it’s good to listen in my headphones, but not on the big stage. And I think that it’s just not remembered, it just passes, another song begins and you just can not remember this song.

  16. I still fail to see any connection between Bones and Skeletons, except for the name?! Why is everybody comparing those?

    • Sometimes it isn’t a direct musical comparison but rather one of mood and style. If lots of people are suggesting this, it doesn’t mean they are wrong just because you disagree.

      • I fail to see it. This is why I am asking. I thought somebody can explain this in more detail without being rude…

      • I actually agree. Bulgaria is a beautiful quality entry perhaps. And therefore it should enter the left hand side of the scoreboard. But I think it’s simply too dark to do a TOP 3. In that sense it has this same ‘darkness’ as Azerbaijan 2017 (“Skeletons”). And perhaps as alternative as Armenia 2017, which also didn’t do that well as previously anticipated.

        • Quality between Skeletons and this is enormous. Skeletons also failed with their stage show, it didn’t really work on TV. And I strongly disagree with this being too dark to win. Gav claims that a winning song has to have some positive vibes and also finds it in Jamala? Jamala was hardly a positive song yet it managed to win. I would not say Salvador was happy either. It was emotional, but not a happy song.

        • Skeletons was just weird and more than a tiny bit scary with its staging. I think visually it was a mess.

          I agree that Bulgaria can be lumped in with it because it shares a potentially dark theme…but the song is a lot more than that….asking you to go beyond the superficial and material to ponder the eternal nature of love….
          It could all fall flat with limp staging and if they come across as a cross between Lordi and Brotherhod of Man it will be a write off…BUT with all that mention of “dust”, if they can capture a bit of the Philip Pullman imagination, it is not inconceivable that they pull something off which is quite special.

          Of all the songs, I think it is one of the hardest to call at this stage. It’s great value at the moment because of the price drift and anti-climax when it dropped. If they are deemed to have pulled a staging rabbit out of the hat, it’ll shorten to be 2nd fave I think. But it’s a song that requires faith and a certain amount of nerve at this point. I more than understand why people are wary with eight weeks still to go.

  17. While I appreciate what they are trying to do I think this will finish well outside the top 10 if it qualifies. It sounds like a song by committee.

  18. It’s not a song, but obssesion. I can listen to this all day and still get goosebumps! It looks like Bulgaria didn’t come to compete, they came to teach us how to do beautiful music properly. I’ve just read there will be a 6th hidden vocal element behind the stage – a Bulgarian folklore singer, who will be responsible for those specific “cosmic” vibes, most noticeable in the beginning and at the end of their entry. I usually trust ESCtips, not this time. I see this song winning the whole contest with ease. I don’t see any winning potential in those who are high in the odds – Israel (agressive, sexists, swear and f*** words – this simply cannot be rated high by both jury and televote), Estonia (boring opera), Czhechia – zero chances to make it to the top 5, Australia – not good enough this year. In 2018 I see no other song with such a strong message and potential for victroy. However, vocal perfection and futuristic staging are a must to grab people by the hearts. They need this to make people vote. Sure they know very well how to do it. Well done, Bulgarians, you got my vote and money this year!

  19. On first listen this goes nowhere and no hope of winning. Grows on you and feels classy but nothing that Saturday night viewers will vote for in droves.

  20. People seem ready to write this out of the top 10.

    I think its strong enough to go for top 5 if the staging is right. It will stand out and the singers have a distinct look. The song has a distinctive sound.

    It is all a rather big ask at the moment though. But the package is good enough.

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