This year’s first entry might need some help to remain standing through the last day.
Song Title: “World”
First Semi-Final: Position #4
Last year’s entry: “Fairytale” — Eneda Tarifa (DNQ – 16th Place, SF2)
Albania has had an up-and-down1 time in their thirteen Eurovision appearances. Almost half of their attempts have ended in the semi-final, with only two of the remaining qualifiers going on to finish in the top ten. The most recent of those successes was 2012’s “Suus,” notable for being Albania’s highest-ever finish at the Contest, and for earning Rona Nishliu the Barbara Dex [Worst-Dressed] Award.2 As the first entry announced for 2017, can Lindita take Albania back to the Grand Final, and look good doing it?
Let’s start with the positives. Lindita has a great voice, strong and clear, and holds her own above an intense and dramatic rock orchestra. The song is structured well, and builds effectively towards the climax, a series of long notes that could be awesome if Lindita nails them. They’ve also translated the song into English, which is personally disappointing, but understandable given the desire to connect with as much of the televoting audience as possible. The new lyrics are a wee bit clunky, but that won’t matter since they’re about love, war, and unity — three of the universal Eurovision themes. I also love the costuming of this music video, which fits better with the song’s theme than the bedazzled catsuit from the national selection process.
Unfortunately, Albania also has a couple of strong disadvantages working against them. As the first entrant out of the gate, this song has been kicking around since late December, and the listening audience will be past their peak with this song by the time mid-May rolls around. They also have a great displeasure of performing in the first semi-final, which is ridiculously stacked this year. Lindita is one of eleven3 female soloists that will take the stage Tuesday during Eurovision week, and while I think “World” is a good song, it’s not doing anything particularly interesting or innovative like others performing that day. Armenia has some interesting/ethnic-sounding instrumentation, Latvia and Belgium have the dance angle covered, and Finland‘s bringing the weird. Meanwhile, heavyweights Australia and Azerbaijan look like they may suck all of the oxygen out of the room.
Good luck to Albania in advancing to the Grand Final — they’re going to need it.