Three more entries to cover, and this time it’s a country who achieved their best ever result last year. Albania generated some buzz in Baku when “that screaming snake lady” Rona Nishliu took “Suus” to 5th place to the surprise of many. Indeed it’s not been an easy road for Albania since their debut in 2004.
Sure, their qualification record might be better than some (5/8), but they’ve tended towards 17th & 16th place in the finals when they’ve qualified. This year though, with two semi-finals and a final on consecutive nights last December (see my review of the national final here). The lengthy final might have been a bit of a drag, but there were a few decent ones in there, and even a few former Albanian representatives: 2004’s Anjeza Shahini came 2nd, while 2009’s Kejsi Tola came 4th.
Pop fans were disappointed when the catchily-named Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko won with folk-tinged rock song “Identitet”. This is the sort of song you’d probably only ever get from the Balkans, but I can at least see its appeal. It’s got a fairly rousing chorus with a big orchestral production amongst the guitars. I’m not sure how they’ll play it in Malmö with the 6-on-a-stage rule, as the Albanian national final was notable for having a full orchestra accompanying all the entries.
It will probably resonate more with the Balkan voters than Western Europeans, but that’s not to say I don’t like it. Sure, it might not sit amongst karaoke gold from Germany or Denmark, but it’s accessible at least. It’s just not my favourite genre. As for its chances in semi-final two, to be honest there are nowhere near 10 dead certs for qualification, so I have no idea what will happen. I’m tempted to say they might not be lucky this year though, stuck between big songs by Norway and Georgia.
For more ESC2013 news and reviews, please visit my Malmö 2013 hub, including reviews of all the entries (or at least it will do in a few days). Alternatively just click “Malmö 2013” in the menu on the top of the screen.