Albania revamped its Eurovision selection process Festivali i Kenges for 2016. First, two semi-finals whittled the field of 24 songs down to a manageable1 14 finalists. Second, the viewing public got to vote along with 12 jurors on who would win a ticket to Kyiv. A nice idea, though the home vote had zero effect on how the jury ranked the 14 finalists.
Lindita Halimi’s “BOTË” had an insurmountable lead with top marks from five jurors and points from six more. She received points from the home vote, but ranked third in that category. Let’s take a listen to the selection:
I am always secretly rooting for Albania and have been frustrated with many of their entries in the last few years. This is far and away their best entry since “Suus” in 2012. Lindita’s reality competition experience — including American Idol and Ethet (Albanian Idol) — shines through this performance. She manages to avoid over-singing the song despite the orchestra behind her, which could have easily tripped up anyone.
We already know that this song will be reworked quite a bit between now and mid-March when final drafts of songs are due. Most likely “BOTË” will be translated into English. There will need to be some tightening up to get the song under three minutes. The power of the orchestration might need to be toned down a smidge, while avoiding sounding too similar to “Goodbye (Shelter)” from last year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
Also, without the orchestra on stage, there will need to be a more dynamic presentation. I would not be surprised if “BOTË” were placed at the start of whichever semi-final Albania gets allocated to, as this would be a fantastic track to open the show. This song could be the breakthrough Albania needs to get back to getting noticed at Eurovision.
- and not at all tedious ↵