ESC 2010 Reviews: Albania
Now that all of the Eurovision entries for 2010 have been announced, and preview videos are starting to come out for the individual songs, it’s time that I put pen to paper (or, at the very least, fingers to keyboard) and give you all my reviews for this year’s entrants (with a little peek at their previous ESC history)! Let’s go alphabetically, shall we?
Coincidentally, going in alphabetical order means that we check out Eurovision 2010’s first announced entrant. Back on December 27, Albania’s RTSH network held the final for the Festivali i Këngës (also known as the FiK, which always makes me giggle a bit). After holding semifinals for established Albanian artists, including two singers who bore Albania’s flag at Eurovision in previous years (Anjeza Shahini in 2004 with “The Image of You“, and Kejsi Tola last year with “Carry Me In Your Dreams“), as well as a semifinal for unknown talent, FiK’s grand final produced a runaway winner, Juliana Pasha with “Nuk Mundem Pa Ty”, or “I Can’t Without You”. Here’s her performance at the FiK Final:
One of the lucky things about deciding your entrant so early on in the game (nearly five months before the “big show”) is that a country has the power to tweak or change a song to their liking. Albania has a particular talent for this, and often will edit an entry’s timing (remember, all Eurovision songs must be under three minutes!), instrumentation, and language. Here’s Juliana’s updated version, released just in the past few days:
It seems that Eurovision 2010 will become “the year of the ballad”, with nearly half of the announced songs in a slower tempo. Simply for that reason, “It’s All About You” should stand out. It’s definitely well-sung and danceable, and in a competition that’s all about first impressions and packing as much of an earworm as possible into only three minutes, that’s a major plus. I wasn’t a fan of this song at first, but that was mostly because I was a fan of the songs that came in second and third place in the FiK, Anjeza Shahini’s “Në pasqyrë” and Kamela Islami’s “Gjëra të thjeshta”. But having accepted that I can’t always get what I want, especially when it comes to Albanian song competitions, I find “It’s All About You” a pretty solid lock to make it out of the First Semifinal, and I predict that Juliana will end up ranking somewhere between 6th and 15th place in Oslo.
Competing in Eurovision Since: 2004
Best Result: 7th Place, 2004
General Trends: Albania has tended to score in the middle of the pack in recent years, qualifying for the Finals in 2008 and 2009, with results of 16th and 17th place, respectively. Interestingly, Albania has tended to fare much better when represented by female singers than by men, who have never taken Albania out of the semifinals.
And, just as a bonus, here are the songs that came in 2nd and 3rd in the 2010 Festivali i Këngës: “Në pasqyrë” (“In the Mirror”) by 2004 winner Anjeza Shahini and “Ghëra të thjeshta” (“Simple Things”) by Kamela Islami. Enjoy!