Albania was second in line to select their entry, as usual the winner of Festivali i Këngës got a ticket to Eurovision. We kept half an eye on it for you when it all went down, but we suppose most people were too busy bingeing on unhealthy food and trying to cope with in-laws and long lost childhood friends to even notice. It doesn’t matter anyways because the Albanians are notoriously known for changing and revamping whatever entry they choose and what we got a preview of on Christmas Day in December can only be considered as a first draft of what we end up with in May.
We were not crazy about the entry pre revamping and we are not exactly bouncing off the walls over the final version either. But make no mistake, Albania has many loyal friends voting for them and with a strong and confident performance we think this belter of a song can make it quite far. The intro reminds us of France’s nifty entry from 1994, Je suis un vrai garçon, which raises our expectations a notch our two. Our initial concern was that the song was simply too shouty, and by all means, it still is. And we are not in favor of translating the lyrics into English, but in this case it kinda helps to understand what all the fuzz is about. Aurela Gaçe loves to sing and wants to share the passion with us. Fair enough. We are all for sharing both the moment and the passion. We are desperately trying to identify a touch of ethnic flare, as this is something we normally can rely on the Albanians to give us, but they let us down for the second year in a row. On a more general note we must say that this is something that is sorely missed altogether in the 2011 edition of ESC, probably due to the Lena effect, a winning song stripped for everything remotely resembling any kind of ethnic sound.
Apart from the song getting a makeover, Aurela herself has also dropped by the beauty parlor for a brush up. She has lost the outdated Liza Minnelli look and gone for a more modern Rihanna style. Far more zesty in our opinion and we bet she will look fierce up on that stage in Düsseldorf. And as usual for the Balkan countries, there’s a promo video probably partly sponsored by the national tourist authorities. We love this and think it’s delightfully retro, bringing back memories from the 80s, when we were kids and had never been south of Legoland. And for what it’s worth it’s actually working, it reminds us that we should visit Albania while it still is an undiscovered pearl. We would all get the perfect opportunity to go next year if Albania takes home the ESC trophy, but we can’t bring ourselves to see that happening with this song.
as for visiting Albania… please go and go fast, because when I was there in 2007, they were building hotels along the coast in preparation of making it probably THE.BEST.TOURIST.SPOT.EVAH. See, it did not happen and I cannot see it happening, and it is wrecking the beauty of the land… but you can still get a whole beach for yourself… or almost yourself (if you don’t mind having bunkers on your beach…). Albania is a beautiful country, although pretty poor… I often found myself guilt tripped into buying souvenirs and stuff… but the landscape is “wild”, the towns are deliciously old fashioned and bizzare. You will see plent of bizzare in Albania.
And as for the song, I love it for it’s shoutiness and I find Aurela Gace very intriguing singer… she has a scary edge to her… I mean just look at her (and check out her song Origjinale, where she has knives through on her (and wears terrible terrible blue eyeshadow). So I love her, for how she can pull of scary, for how her totally Albanian aura she carries… and for her shouty vocals…