Bulgaria’s 2012 Eurovision contestant Sofi Marinova will perform a number of concerts elsewhere in Europe ahead of the May finals in Baku, starting with a March 12 appearance at Greece’s selection concert.
Marinova and her song Love Unlimited were chosen on February 29 to represent Bulgaria in this year’s Eurovision song contest.
She was due to arrive in Greece after a concert in Zurich on March 11, Bulgarian National Television said.
Besides her Eurovision contender song, she was also scheduled to sing some Greek songs. Love Unlimited has a multilingual dimension, drawing on words from a number of languages, including Turkish, Greek, Spanish, Serbian, French, Romania, Azerbaijani, English, Arabic and Italian.
Her stay in Greece also would include a meeting with fans of her and of Eurovision on March 13, Bulgarian National Television said.
Initially, 43 countries were to compete in Eurovision 2012 but Armenia has withdrawn because of bilateral tensions with host country Azerbaijan, with which it is in a state of frozen conflict.
Armenia said on March 7 that it was withdrawing, citing what it called an anti-Armenian statement by Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev, who was quoted as saying that "the Armenians of the world" were his nation’s main enemy, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.
Azerbaijan also has been targeted by human rights groups, including – in a February statement – by New York-based Human Rights Watch, which said that Azerbaijan was carrying out forced evictions "destroying people’s lives" to make way for the Eurovision 2012 concert venue.
This year’s contest also is making headlines for some entries seen as unorthodox even by the standards of Eurovision, which traces its antecedents back to the 1950s. The UK entry is 75-year-old veteran star Engelbert Humperdinck, while Russia has chosen a group of revved-up elderly folk singers called the Buranovskiye Babushki.
The two semi-finals of Eurovision 2012 will take place on May 22 and 24, with 37 countries represented. Marinova competes in the semi-final on May 24.
Twenty of these will qualify for the grand final, 10 from each semi-final. The Eurovision 2012 grand final is on May 26.