Good Luck at Eurovision, Sofi!
Eurovision has never been considered a sacred cow, even in Bulgaria. Yet this year it turned into a mangy bull everyone wants to prod to death.
The victory of Roma chalga singer Sofi Marinova at Bulgaria's Eurovision finals unleashed an unprecedented cannonade of vulgar expletives and racist comments in internet forums. Doomsayers gladly pronounced Bulgaria dead.
Why the fuss?
"Well, Sofi is Roma. It is humiliating for Bulgaria to be represented by Roma," say the fuming online commentators.
So what? Foreign journalists will have a good reason to sit down and write an interesting article about Bulgaria, a country that rarely quickens their pulse. It has been the rule rather than the exception that they pick exotic for the Western audience topics, such as Roma weddings, dancing bears and long-legged mistresses of the so-called mutri or crime bosses. And besides Sofi is evidence of ethnic tolerance.
"Well, Sofi is a chalga singer. It is humiliating for Bulgaria to be represented by a chalga singer," doomsayers add.
So what? The song, an ethno-techno-disco- mish-mash - which is definitely not my favorite song of all times - bears no traces of the stigma. And besides the ingredients of Bulgaria's popfolk music or chalga - as it is derogatorily called – have long ago made a furore abroad, cementing its status as nothing short of a social phenomenon and a stereotype for Bulgaria.
Sofi has great voice, positive personality and a natural, I would even say cool, attitude – this is what really matters.
As for the knights of aesthetics, let's hope they have finally learned their lesson – when the time for Eurovision comes, turn off the TV and have a meditative glass of whiskey.
The rest of us can enjoy – at least – Sofi's sense of humor.
"I instructed my big Roma family to grab their mobile phones and vote for me," Sofi jokingly said before the finals.
Hm, she has many more distant relatives and friends across Europe to count on while competing in Baku, doesn't she?
Good luck, Sofi!