Albania first competed at Eurovision back in 2004, and have since had a mixed history at the contest. The nation has two Top 10 finishes under their belt, but otherwise, manage to sit somewhere in the middle of the pack. Hoping to stand out this year is Anxhela Peristeri and her song, Karma.
Anita (Eurovision Union)
Song and Vocals
It was a total shame not to see Arilena Ara represent Albania at Eurovision this year after she was selected last year, but ultimately missed out on the competition due to the cancellation. While we won’t get to see Arilena, the nation is represented by another powerhouse vocalist. Anxhela Peristeri continues the trend of incredibly powerful vocalists for Albania, singing the ethnic ballad, Karma.
Albania was first to select their entry for this year, and the result of that, fans seemingly overlooked the nation as new songs were released. While I don’t believe this to be the best song of the line-up, it certainly deserves some praise. The revamp of the song has certainly made it a stronger contender for qualification, with the ethnic elements more of a stand out, and the beat is far stronger. The opening is a teaser of what’s to come, however the first verse is a bit of a slow burn. The chorus is worth the wait, as it’s where we get to see Anxhela really shine. The melody is beautiful, and you can really get storytelling-vibes from the way the song progresses.
Since this song was selected through a national final, we have a good idea of how this will be performed live in terms of the vocals. Anxhela nails every note, and I expect that to be the same on the Eurovision stage.
Performance and Act
Albania isn’t the strongest nation when it comes to staging and performance. Their go-to tactic is to have the artist on stage belting out their entry. That works in the sense that the vocals stand out, but I think their lack of success at Eurovision comes down to never really having the ‘full package’. I hope that the team has considered how to stage this entry, and doesn’t fall into the same trap of having the artist on stage without any additional bits and pieces. The beat of the song is strong, and I hope they can utilise the lights and camera work to really highlight the strength of the song.
While this is not a song I would have on repeat, I can appreciate it while it’s playing. I think Albania may end up in a similar position to Jonida Maliqi, where if the song qualifies, it’s going to be a close call. It’s certainly possible to see Albania in the final this year, but a low-table finish feels like a certainty in the final.
Song and Vocals
We can always count on Albania to come up with strong ethnic entries by powerful singers. Anxhela can be placed in that list easily. A vocally strong performer with a song in a genre that has proven to have a market at Eurovision. That market is not huge however, so when it comes to the final results, these songs are always on the borderline of qualification.
Performance and Act
Anxhela is a strong woman and the Albanian act will be built around that stage presence. Lots of fireworks together with the drums and ethnic beats, make a strong visual picture. I also expect the male dancers around her will also be included in the act in Rotterdam.
Especially after the revamp I think the Albanian song makes a better lasting impression than the national final version. It’s not a genre that has a huge fanbase, but the past has shown us there are enough fans to make these songs qualify for a Eurovision final. Albania is also in with a shot this year again.
Additional Scores from Eurovision Union and ESCDaily editors:
Average Score: 6.1/10