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How To Eurovision: Albania

08 January 2021 at 17:00 CET
Lindita represented Albania at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2017 EBU / Thomas Hanses
Each participating country brings their own unique style to the competition. Follow us as we dive right into all the distinctive reasons we love to watch each country perform in the Contest in our new series 'How To Eurovision'. This time it's all eyes on Albania!

Albania is relatively new to the Eurovision stage. Its debut entry was only in 2004 but since then they've gifted us with great female vocalists and arguably some of the most memorable staging. The country creates a huge buzz each year with their national selection, Festivali i Këngës, which signals to us all that Eurovision is just around the corner. They're also usually one of the very first countries to choose their entry, although they often give it some major alterations along the way (but more on that later)! Let's take a closer look at what this southeastern European nation brings to Eurovision each year and what sets this country apart from the rest!

High and long

If there's something that Albanians don't run short of, its their vocal power. Their entries have an incredible gift of holding some of the longest and highest notes in Eurovision history. In fact, Albania has an impressive record for sustaining difficult vocals in Eurovision with two of their entrants holding on notes longer than 10 seconds.

Let’s be honest. We can't imagine many other participating countries would dare to send Suus to Eurovision. Luckily, Albania delivered us the unforgettable classic by Rona Nishliu in 2012 and with that their best result ever in the Contest so far.

And Lindita gave it a good go too back in 2017! She set what perhaps is the all-time record for the longest note at Eurovision by holding on for 20 seconds without even batting an eye lid. Seriously, those lungs could inflate a hot air balloon! Sadly though, they couldn't get the votes needed for a spot in the Grand Final.

Party of one (female)

The Albanians have done Eurovision solo. They've even done Eurovision in a duo (Adrian Lulgjuraj and Bledar Sejko with Identitet in 2015). But the land of the eagles has never delivered a group to the Contest in all its 17 attempts.

Albania's Eurovision 2020 participant Arilena Ara Ergys Zhabjaku

Only on 4 of those occasions they have selected a male singer to represent them. Who rules the Eurovision world? Girls. Well, in Albania, at least. And who can blame them when you have performances like Juliana Pasha's in 2010 with It's All About You.

The revamps

The quality-standards and investment that Albania put into their selection process is always tremendously high! The country is known for choosing their song and performance during Festivali i Këngës only to, quite frequently, completely restructure it by the time it hits the Eurovision stage. Some argue this is for the best. Some argue that it isn't. We'll let you decide that one.

Eugent Bushpepa came 11th at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2018 EBU / Andres Putting

Oh, the drama!

The country is also great at delivering a dramatic song with an equally eye-catching costume. Albania gave us Aurela Gaçe who's performance made us Feel The Passion.

As well as Jonida Maliqi who sang in a full-length black gown decorated in gold that delivered so much drama in fact, she didn't even have to leave centre stage.

However, despite her highly emotional and well-received song, Rona Nishliu won the fan-created Barbara Dex Award for her outfit, which is given by the public to the 'worst-dressed' artist that year. The audience sometimes won't let you have it all, we suppose.

Rona Nishliu reached the best ever result for Albania in 2012 EBU

A guitar moment

Then there are the guitar solos. Their national selection is often brimming with songs that feature the guitar and some of which make it to Eurovision, in this case, with a fiery twist:

Visuals and videos

Whether you like them or not, you can't forget the Albanian Eurovision official videos. Take a look at the visually and emotionally strong video of I'm Alive from their 2015 entry by Elhaida Dani:

And the beautiful black and white imagery from Eugent Bushpepa's 2018 song, Mall. We have spoken about Albania's female entries and their vocal talents, but can anyone challenge with the vocal display of this artist?

Speaking of unforgettable though, there's also Kejsi Tola who's entry gave a more eccentric visual performance of Carry Me In Your Dreams back in 2009. Albania decided to send the 16 year old on an other-worldly journey with twin elves and a man dressed up in all blue and glitter. Why, you ask? Why not, Albania said. To be fair, this was also the year Eurovision saw other interesting visuals like superhero-inspired costumes, so we guess it was a sign of the times!

And what about the swing, red cape, and dress with a face on it from Eneda's Fairytale video in 2016. Who could forget that?

So far, Albania's entries have been diverse and very strong, from the vocally enchanting hit Suus to the bops Carry Me In Your Dreams and I’m Alive. Every time, the country continues to celebrate their musical traditions, singing excellence and ability to deliver powerful performances. One could argue that all their entries have aged very well over the years and we can't wait to see what the future has in store for Albania in the Eurovision Song Contest.

What do you love about Albania's participation in Eurovision so far?