It’s the time of year when the Post-Eurovision depression is in full swing, but there’s no better cure than to reminisce! Together with ESCDaily Editor, Dennis Van Eersel, we will be discussing each of this year’s competing nations – from their results to how we think they could improve in the future!
Predictions, Personal Scores and Results
Results: 21st Final
Did Albania live up to expectations?
D: I feel it is safe to say that Albania was one of the pleasant surprises of Eurovision 2021. Expectations were not that high, but after their first rehearsal it soon shifted to ‘qualifier’ in the books of many. And rightfully so. I think, when it comes to staging and presentation, they did a splendid job in getting ‘Karma’ a place in the final.
A: It may not seem like a big deal for some nations, but Albania has now qualified three years in a row. Granted, Albania has never really been a favourite to take out the trophy, but this little streak they have going should be recognised. This year could have gone either way, but I think there were a few factors that pushed Albania over the edge. The song wasn’t the most memorable, but the staging was very strong, especially with just Anxhela on stage. I think the other factor was more to do with the other competing entries, as the second semi-final fell quite flat in the end. That gave room for Albania to shine, and although they didn’t achieve their highest result, it was still a win for Albania.
How do you personally feel about the song for Albania at Eurovision 2021?
D: To add to what Anita said above in the previous question, it’s impressive to see someone take and own the stage all by herself. And Anxhela certainly did that in a very convincing manner. It took the song, which didn’t really do much for me on the first couple of times I heard it, to another level when I saw it being performed live on stage. Therefore it is rather the performance and performer than the song that won me over.
A: Even though I can recognise the merit in the song and performance, this was never a song that really captured my heart. I don’t think it was just me who thought that, and I think that was reflected in the results. It was liked enough to reach the final, but in the context of the final, was left behind.
Could Albania have done anything different?
D: In the national final we saw that this song had an act with strong male dancers around Anxhela. They could have kept that strategy, but I think what they came up with was much stronger. Lots of visuals behind her, the trademark of Sacha Jean-Baptiste, and Anxhela carrying the power song by herself. A wise move and I don’t think doing it otherwise would have helped them in getting a better result.
A: We know that Anxhela put her faith in stage director Sacha Jean-Baptiste, and that really worked in their favour. The staging in Rotterdam was much stronger for sure. It’s difficult to perform a song like that alone on stage, as it wasn’t just a pure ballad that suits a static stage performance. Even though Anxhela was alone on stage, you didn’t really feel like you were missing out on anything. Her movements alone and the backing screens carried the song. All in all, I think Albania reached the highest they could with this song.
A: It’s almost certain that Albania will keep with tradition and select through FIK, and for the most part, I think that’s the best choice. The only thing I would say is that FIK needs to be keeping up with the current trends. This seems to be the factor standing in the way of Albania’s success. We’ve seen glimpses of potential, for example, Elvana Gjata, but artists need the full support of the juries and public. A contemporary, ethnic pop number could achieve Albania’s best result at the contest, but those seem to be few and far between at FIK.
D: I agree that it is very likely that Albania will use their FiK around Christmas and then revamp or change the song of the winning artist. They have had good results with it, however, never an act that truly stood out with both jury and televote. After taking part for a long time now, it would be nice if Albania looked for an accomplished artist who wants to take a shot at bringing the country their first top 3 result.
Which was better, the live-on-tape performance or the actual performance?
D: I had to look up the back-up performance because to be honest, I couldn’t remember after seeing it just once a few months ago. The idea was already there, the idea of putting Anxhela alone on stage with just supporting visuals behind her. It was very visible that she and the Albanian team needed the time to finetune the performance even more. And they did so, because the whole performance in Rotterdam is just a class improvement.
A: The concepts were in place for the back-up tape, but Dennis is right in saying that the extra time gave the team time to improve. The camera work was a bit jumpy at times, and that was all smoothed out in the Rotterdam performance. The outfit in the Rotterdam performance also looked a bit more luxe, and even though they are small details, everything counts. In a nutshell, the Rotterdam performance was better.