It’s the first group of the countdown (there will be a few) and also the first rock band and song. Anyone who followed my countdown last year will know that I’m not the biggest fan of most genres of rock, so perhaps it won’t be a surprise to see Bulgaria’s entry, rock supergroup Intelligent Music Project, appearing rather low in my list with their song “Intention”.
The band have been around since 2012 and there are several Brits and Americans who make up the (numerous) former members. As of 2022, it’s an almost all Bulgarian affair, bar the lead singer, who, despite an uncanny resemblance to Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, is in fact Chilean musician Ronnie Romero. He brings a quite literal bad boy element to the band (he’s in some trouble with Spanish authorities). Another notable member is Eurovision alumnus Stoyan Yankulov who as part of the duo Elitsa & Stoyan represented Bulgaria in 2007 and 2013.
This was the very first song to be publicly announced and released as a Eurovision 2022 entry and it’s fair to say it’s not caught fire among the eurofans. In fact it’s had a very negative response, partly connected to some external factors, and also high expectations we now have of Bulgaria, but it’s perhaps a little harsh for it to be so universally unpopular – it’s not an awful song by any means, and it’s not a novelty or frivolous track.
What it is though is fairly derivative and dated prog rock, complete with guitar solo. Which is it to say, it’s not my cup of tea and while I don’t instantly hit the forward button on Spotify when this comes on, it’s not one I find myself wanting to listen to the full 3 minutes or pay much attention to while it is on.
Bulgaria have had a very impressive run since their 2016 return but I think that has to be in doubt for 2022. Rock does often do pretty well at Eurovision and despite Italy’s win last year, there aren’t a massive plethora of rock acts this year (which I am glad of!). It’s also in a decent position (at least in decent for being in a first half of a semi-final) so don’t rule it out just yet but for me it’s a definite non-qualifier.
Bulgaria in the Eurovision Song Contest
First entered: 2005
Appearances (excluding this year): 13
Best result: 2nd in 2017
2021’s result: 11th