Albania in the ESC: past, present and fuuuutttuuurrrre!

If you are participating in the Albanian selection for Baku 2012, I would like to say two things to you. Firstly, wowsers! Someone possibly famous is reading my blog! Can I have your autograph? Secondly (if you haven’t backed slowly away from your computer in case yours truly becomes any more hysterical), congratulations! This year, you weren’t  forced to leave all the turkey and gifts and lecherous drunk uncles (drunkles) that accompany Christmas behind to compete for your chance at ESC glory – no way José, because this year, Albania decided not to be completely insane and have their final on December 25th, as they did last year. Bravo!

In celebration of Albania being the second country to pick their 2012 entry, and in celebration of me being too lazy at this point to listen to all the Festivali I Këngës songs (why so many?) today’s post is my second ever country profile and it’s on this little country who I actually quite enjoy in the contest, despite their tendency to qualify for the final and then fail when they get there. Will the same fate befall Albania next May, or will the song we will know to be ‘The One’ in less then 24 hours get them on the left side of the scoreboard? We’ll see. In the meantime, let’s take a sashay down (my) memory lane…

 

ALBANIA: THE STATS

ESC debut: 2004

No. of entries: 8

Gold medals: 0

Silver medals: 0

Bronze medals: 0

Top 10 finishes: 1

Top 10 success rate: 12%

Wooden spoons (last places!): 0

Semi final qualifications: 4/7

Qualification success rate: 57%

 

MY PICKS

My favourite entry: I can’t choose between The Image of You by Anjeza Shahini and Tomorrow I Go by Ledina Celo. So I won’t.

My least favourite entry: Hear My Plea by Frederik Ndoci (and, as a side note: Hear my plea? Feel the passion? Carry me in your dreams, whatever that means? Stop telling us what to do, Albania!).

Their best stage show: Feel The Passion, but mainly thanks to the gargantuan LED screen which made the already-on-the-short-side Aurela look like a fly (albeit with red hair and rhinestone-encrusted fingernails) on a windshield.

Their best costume/s: As tempted as I am to give this to Gumbi, who assisted Kejsi Tola in her stage cavorting in Moscow (what’s that? It was just some guy in a spandex suit? I don’t believe it!) I have to go for Juliana Pasha, because I love me some power shoulders.

Their best vocalist/s: Aurela the Yeller. I like to imagine that, if we were friends, she would have a similarly affectionate-but-vaguely-insulting nickname for me, such as Jaz the Spaz.

What I love about Albania in the ESC: Greece do the ethnic-pop hybrid so well, but usually in a 40/60 format. Albania are the opposite, being equally fond of a poppy song with cultural elements, but the cultural elements are the dominant ones. Their entries may be hit-and-miss when it comes to results, but with me they are always a point of interest – in a positive way, not a ‘so terrible I can’t tear my eyes and ears away’, car-crash way.  

 

So, the questions remain: will tonight’s Festivali I Këngës final produce an equally interesting entry that will get Albania to the final for the first time since Oslo? Will it be the favourite to win for the moment with only two songs in contention? And, most importantly, will I ever take the time out to listen to all of these songs so I can moan about what Albania should have sent to Baku in a future post?

 

From semi final #1 (excuse the slapdash translations):

Pyete Zemrën (Ask The Heart) by Gerta Mahmutaj

Këngën Time Merr Vehtë (Take My Own Song) by Bashkim Alibali

Zgjomë Një Tjetër Ëndërr (Awaken Me Another Dream) by Samanta Karavello

Iluzion by Endri & Stefi Prifti

Suus by Rona Nishliu

Më Kërko (Search More) by Rudina Delia

Vlen Sa Një Jëte by Marjeta Billo

Aty Ku Më Le by Hercina Matmuja

Kthehem Prap (Go Back) by Altin Goci

Kristal by Elton Deda

 

From semi final #2 (ditto):

Ëndrra e Parë (The First Dream) by Toni Mehmetaj

Personale (Personal) by Dr. Flori

Mbi Yje by Kamela Islamaj

Oh…Jeta Ime (Oh…My Life) by Frederik Ndoci

Të Zakonshëm (The Usual) by Bojken Lako & Breza

Më Ler Të Të Dua (Let Me Love You) by Mariza Ikonomi

Pa Ty (Without You) by Iris Hoxha

Ajër (Air) by Saimir Braho

Lulet Mbledh Për Hënën by Xhensila Myrtezaj

Mijra Vjet (Thousands of Years) by Elhaida Dani

 

Gerta, Samanta, Elton, Dr. Flori and Saimir – those are the names that are ringing my bell, which probably means they will be nowhere near the top. Really, it’s best if you make your own predictions because I am notoriously bad at doing it. But I don’t care, because NF season is upon us and that means all of us fans will get our chance to be wrong/disagree/fight other fans to the death over all the selections that will take place in the new year. Yay!

Crossing my fingers for Albania to pick a winner,

 

Jaz x

 

About Jaz

I'm Jaz, I'm 26, and I'm 110% Eurovision-OBSESSED. The contest is one big party, and I like to keep it going 365 days a year - that's why I write about anything and everything ESC on my blog. Come join the fun, and I promise you'll never have a nul-point experience! www.eurovisionbyjaz.com/

Posted on December 29, 2011, in Country profiles, Eurovision 2012 and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Just like as usual, Jaz, nice article! 🙂
    About the translation, http://natfinals.50webs.com/Albania2012.html have translation of all the songs’ title.
    Samanta is my 2nd favorite, actually xD My main favorite is Rona Nishli. Anyway just hope the best result for Albania tonight!

    Like

  2. Thanks for the link! I probably should have left the titles as they were, but for some reason I feel like I can make more of a guess at a potential winning song if the English title sounds good. It’s not like I have much luck any other way!
    I’m sorry to say that Rona’s song is the only one I have heard and I didn’t like it at all, but each to their own. If she wins there’s always time for it too grow on me, right?

    Like

  3. Rona Nishliu won and the song is a complete horror…I watched almost all the entire nf today (I missed 3 performances and the voting) and it was painful -_-
    Though I’m curious to hear how this will sound after the revamp 😛

    Like

    • I am having trouble finding good bits in the song. I guess the first minute is bordering on alright!
      I guess we will see what happens to it between now and May. Hopefully a complete musical lobotomy…=P

      Like

  4. Hehe only an Australian can say yeller and Aurela and have them completely rhyme xD

    I think you’re having trouble finding good bits of the song because it’s not so much a flowing song as random bits of vocal show off (that unlike Candy Music, are kind of painful to listen to :P)

    Like

    • You have a point. I have so far managed to identify a lone good point which is the bit before Rona starts singing…not sure if there’ll be more to come.
      PS – Does that mean you are admitting that Candy Music was listenable?? =P

      Like

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