2016 Review: Albania

Albania finally kick-started national final season on 25 December when RTSH hosted Festivali i Këngës and selected Eneda Tarifa to represent the country with the song “Përrallë” (“Fairytale”).

I’ve never watched FiK, but judging by people’s comments on Twitter, I probably won’t plan on watching it live, at least until I leave uni and/or move out. Even if it’s probably not 80% ads for Mediterranean Bank/Crosscraft/202 Jewelry (*cough Malta cough*), someone mentioned that someone gave a speaker a bouquet of flowers to get them to shut up and leave the stage. So there was probably a lot of filler between the 22 finalists, and I feel a little bad for the orchestra that had to sit for hours.

Compared to FiK 2014 and 2015, the entry sounds a lot more radio-friendly rather than “orchestra+ average-age-over-60” friendly: it’s kind of an electro-ethno-ballad that reminds me of someone crossing Macedonia’s 2002 entry and Norway’s 2013 entry, and some people are also saying it sounds Bond-theme-ish. The song also works well with or without the orchestra. IMO the extra strings in the live performance help fill the stage a little more, but the studio, more electronic version could work with tighter camera angles (which it appears Eneda and her team have already practiced for during her FiK performance). Either way, she’s already proved that she can pull off the song live.

It’s also great that there’s no random 30-second guitar solo in the middle of the song. That’s a good thing for the song right now, but the official ESC version still needs 25-30 seconds cut out. While Eneda has said in interviews that the song will be re-vamped, I’m a little worried that the lack of a removable/filler guitar solo means the song might be badly cut like Germany’s entry in 2013. I also hope that the re-vamp doesn’t turn into a de-vamped entry drowned out by other countries at Eurovision (*cough Albania 2014*).

Apart from the song, I’m a little curious about the backdrop of her performance. Partway through the song, there’s an Armenian eternity symbol in the background (which Aram MP3 also used in his performance in 2014). Is this supposed to be any significance to the symbol for Eneda’s performance, or is it just a geometric shape pattern that fills up space on the wall? And is the symbol used anywhere outside Armenian communities?

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