Our third preview takes us to the land of eagles, abandoned war bunkers, song revamps and that strange exchange student at Springfield Elementary. It’s Albania!!!
Albania first took part in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2004 and will make their thirteenth appearance in the contest this year. Their debut was successful, with Anjeza Shahini finishing 7th in the final. This would later be bettered by Rona Nishliu in 2012, who finished 5th. Last year, Eneda Tarifa failed to qualify for the final, placing 16th in the second semi-final with “Fairytale”.
The Albanian broadcaster, Radio Televizioni Shqiptar, (RTSH) organised the 55th edition of Festivali i Këngës (FiK), which has been used to select Albania’s Eurovision entries since their debut. 24 songs competed across two semi-finals, from which 14 were selected by a jury to go to the final. In the final, twelve jury members and televoting decided the winner. Having a convincing lead throughout the voting, Lindita Halimi claimed victory and the Albanian ticket to Kyiv.
Lindita Halimi (commonly known as Lindita) was born on March 24th 1989 in Vitia, Kosovo. She took part in the third season of Ethet (Albanian Idol) and reached the top 10. She took part in Top Fest twice, winning in 2006 with the song “Ëndërroja” (I dreamed). In 2013, she moved to Atlanta, where she now lives with her American husband. In 2016, she participated in the final season of American Idol, making it to the top 25. She previously tried to represent Albania in 2015, finishing third in FiK 53 with the song “S’të fal” (I don’t forgive you). She also wrote the lyrics for Albania’s 2015 entry, “I’m Alive” sung by Elhaida Dani. She won the most recent edition of FiK with the song “Botë” (World), which will be sung in Kyiv in English as “World” in Kyiv. Lindita wrote the lyrics to the song along with Gerald Xhari, while it was composed by Klodian Qafoku.
Ah Albania, the land of songs that lose their sparkle when revamped, but not this time. The Albanian version had a very Bond-sounding feel to it and sounded quite epic. The English version has managed to keep this feel and the message (both versions are pleas to stop violence in the world). Lindita is a vocal powerhouse and really serves that in her performance. However, I feel that this song could struggle to qualify from its semi-final, due to the stiff competition it faces. Lindita seems like someone who has full control over their vocal capabilities and she can deliver a great performance. It just remains to be seen whether that will be enough to take Albania back into the final.
What Could Have Been
In Festivali i Këngës, all participants must use a live orchestra in their performance, which can lead to a slew of big ballads. Enter Dilan Reka, a rising star in the Albanian music scene, with his song “Mos Harro” (Don’t Forget). This song is fresh, catchy, upbeat and is brought together by Dilan’s soulful voice and performance. It immediately caught my eye and I was sad to see it finishing third. Albania might have missed out on a chance for success…
Fat të mirë Shqipëria!
Is Lindita destined to conquer the world or is her success limited to home? Leave your opinions in the comments below. See you tomorrow for another Eurovision preview!
(Sources: eurovision.tv, RTSH, YouTube)