It’s still way too early for countries to be deciding their Eurovision entries for next year, but at least the latest addition to the entry pool is a country that typically selects its entrants at the end of the year: Albania. I like the idea behind the way Albania picks their entries (a national song festival that really stresses that all involved in the creation of the entry are from their country), although I wish there was more of a televote element that made sure the entry selected matched the desire of the people. Currently, all decisions are made by an internal jury, which means that while a technically beautiful song may win, I’m not sure it always means a more populist entry gets selected. That may also explain why I tend to not entirely love what they usually send. See 2012’s “Suus”, which still confuses me as to how it placed 5th overall, and last year’s “One Night’s Anger”, which was far too wordy for its own good1. With a spotty track record as far as personal preference goes, how does this year’s entrant, Elhaida Dani’s “Diell”, rank:
Well, it’s better than last year’s entry, but that’s faint praise. I’ve listened to the above performance about 5 times in the process of writing this post, and while it’s certainly expressive and lovely, it feels like the type of ballad that about 8 other countries will send to Vienna before we get to May. Dani’s background as a former Voice contestant is fully seen in her performing style – it’s very diva-in-training and also feels like it’s not going to be particularly stand-out on the international stage. If the song is one of only a few ballads this year, it may stick out, but this feels firmly middle-of-the-pack to me as it is.
That “as it is” is certainly in Albania’s favor. Of all the countries that have submitted entries so far, Albania has a long history of modifying their entries before the final submission date. During the song festival, all entries must be in Albanian, but by the time May rolls around, I’m sure we’ll be seeing an English analogue. There’s also the fact that this song is currently 90 seconds too long – I figure we’ll see a chorus reprise get cut in order to make this fit the 3 minute limit, which may work in its favor. As it is, I only see this getting to the finals via inertia2, but with a little work, this could be fighting fit come springtime.