ESC 2017 Review: Albania – Revamps Can Be Okay

Another song whose revamp took it up in to my Top 10!? Is this even reality? Also ALBANIA, more of this please!

These are my own PERSONAL rankings of what I think of 2017’s Eurovision songs but I’m also going to make some bold predictions about the eventual fate of the song. These will probably be very wrong for a variety of reasons including I have no idea what almost half the artists sound like live or what type of staging and song changes could be made. There’s plenty of songs that have been let down by their staging (2016 Spain for example) so in the end they’re just guesses in the dark.

Country: Albania
Artist: Lindita
Song Title: World
My Ranking: 5th (out of 43)
Semi Final: 1st Semi Final
Final placement prediction: 15 of 26

Albania crashed the party in 2004 and has been doing just okay since then. With 13 entries so far, only 7 of them had qualified and 2 of those managed to crack the top 10. Albania is one of those countries I have a love-hate relationship with their entries personally. Their national final comes first of everyone’s every year and by the time others start entering they get left behind. Also their national final has a live orchestra which gives the songs richness and depth but then once they get to Eurovision and can only use 5 background singers at most, a lot of the songs fail to live up to the hype. They also have been translating songs from Albanian in to English for the past few years and it has really hurt them overall. The translations are often confusing lyrically, they lose the power, and the singers don’t connect as well with that. I’m happy to say I feel this year broke that streak.

Lindita Halimi is 28 and originally from Kosovo. She won Festivali i Këngës 55 and will be singing “World” for Albania. Lindita has been a singer for 11 years, her first single came out in 2007 and she’s released more than a dozen since and is fairly well known in Albania having won several awards and placing third in Festivali i Këngës in 2014. Last year she was also on American Idol Season 15 in America. Lindita has been living in America and perusing her dream of a music career there.

Though originally in Albanian, the revamp of the song for once is actually stronger than the original. This is very likely because Lindita has been living in America and speaks nearly perfect English where it’s possible that past entrants didn’t speak as much English and the lyrics often ended up stilted and strange and the emotion would drop out of the song. “World” is an intriguing song that almost sounds like a James Bond 007 theme song but it’s deep and dark lyrics ask questions about how the world can be so horrible and cruel and invites us all to let love unite us at the same time. The lyrics are quite powerful and interesting but the main feature of the song is Lindita’s nearly effortless delivery of it.

Like Dami Im last year, Lindita is kind of a show-boater in terms of vocals. The song boasts the longest note this year without a breath (a whooping 27 seconds) and Lindita delivers it with all the ease of a person speaking instead of struggling through any of the notes she often, in performances, manages to smile and wink at the camera or play up the audience, occasionally crouching down or fixing her hair. The orchestra in the background is so perfectly done and gives this song the feel of just enveloping you inside of itself and I am captivated every single time watching Lindita belt.

One of the downside of this song will be that Albania is not a particularly liked country so scoring points may be a political game. Also it’s possible that Lindita will come off as showy, I’ve seen several people saying that think that she is obnoxious or loud and it’s hard to figure out if this is people from nearby countries who do not like Albania or if her persona just rubs people the wrong way. The staging will probably continue to be a challenge for Albania as well though I’m slightly more optimistic about this year. Usually Albania sends an over the top costume and then kind of forgets about the rest of the staging but with a ballad like this where you want all the focus on the singer that may actually be okay by accident. All in all I think this is a great song and I hope Albania can achieve a fantastic result.

*holds note for way too long*

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