At the end of 2016, Festivali i Kënges kick-started the 2017 national final season, selecting Lindita Halimi with the song Botë (“World”) to represent Albania.
It’s a very typical FiK winner: female soloist, orchestra-friendly, a lot of belting, and at least one guitar getting 5 or more seconds of screen time. In other words, my coworkers will probably ask if I was listening to show tunes before coming to work at the Pharm. (It doesn’t help that the baseline in the verses remind me a tiny bit of “Hurricane” from Hamilton). Lyric-wise it’s going for the Finland 2005 “the world is suffering, why can’t we all come together and find a solution,” putting all the emotion in the belting.
Once the song and artist were announced, Lindita Halimi confirmed that she would revamp the instrumentation and perform the song in English at Eurovision. While I’m concerned about the revamp due to what happened to Albania’s entries in 2014 and 2016, I’m not worried about the lyrics. Like Macedonia (FYR)’s 2015 entry, the song lyrics were originally written in English and changed to the country’s native language to fit rules of the national selection. Also, Lindita previously took part as a lyricist for Elhaida Dani’s entry “I’m Alive,” showing that whatever lyrics originally written for “Botë” are pretty unlikely to sound like Google Translate.
Due to the confirmed revamp and language change, I’m not going to comment on whether the song is likely to qualify yet. I’d like to joke and say that the song will qualify and place 16th or 17th based on previous Albanian qualifiers, but we don’t know about the competition with only 3 songs so far. I will say that no matter how she does, as an American I feel obligated to support her because she lives the same time zone as I do (she in Georgia, I in Michigan). So I’ll be waving an Albanian flag in front of the TV during Eurovision Week.