Albania have had a short but mixed history when it comes to Junior Eurovision with this year marking their 5th appearance at the contest. Their best result was in 2015 with Mishela Rapo who finished in 5th place, however other than that, Albania hasn’t cracked into the Top 10. This year the nation will be represented by Efi Gjika with the song Barbie, but is this the song Albania need to bring them another great result?
For me, this is easily the best Albanian entry we have seen at Junior Eurovision. I have never quite connected with the previous entries, but Barbie ticks a lot of the boxes of what makes a great Junior Eurovision song. First of all, the song is incredibly kid friendly which is obviously the aim of the game when it comes to Junior Eurovision. Despite the actual meaning of the song taking on a deeper meaning, I think even superficially looking at the title of the song ‘Barbie’ is enough to at least catch the attention of younger audiences.
Beyond that, the song itself feels energetic and full of personality. The melodies of both the verses and the choruses are both incredibly catchy, specifically the choruses which I often find myself singing along to despite not always knowing the words. Usually the Albanian revamps take away the character of a song, but I think the revamp to this song has really helped lift the entry to another level without taking any of the key identifying parts of the song, including the light ethno beat and most importantly the Albanian language is still at the forefront (although this is more of a requirement when it comes to Junior Eurovision). Adding a few lines in English was enough to convey the message to those who don’t understand the lyrics, plus they don’t feel like forced translations rather they fit into the melody of the song quite well.
I think the true test of this song will be the staging. There are some songs which truly could go either way on the results table, and I really do hope that we see this in a good position and I think to reach that position, a dynamic and colourful stage performance will be key. The aesthetic of the music video captured the essence really well, and I do hope that they can carry that through to the performance. The other advantage is that Efi is a joy to watch perform as she definitely has a sassiness about her that the camera loves.
Overall, I can confidently say that this is one of my personal favourites at this year’s contest. Out of all the competing songs, I feel most passionately about wanting this to achieve a great result, whereas for the other competing entries, I feel they will fall into a fair placing, but I truly hope this doesn’t get underrated on the night.
I can’t give this entry a score of anything other than 10/10. I love it.