Albania: Lindita Halimi to Kyiv!

On December 23rd, we finally received the first song to the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv, Ukraine. Lindita Halimi will represent Albania in the International Exhibition Centre in May with the song “Botë”. Lindita was selected through the 55th edition of the four hour marathon spectacle that is Festivali i Këngës, held in the Palace of Congresses with a 31 point margin against second placed Genc Salihu. You can watch her semi-final performance below:

So, what do we think of the song? Well for starters, it’s definitely a strong song to kick off the 2017 national final season, that’s for sure! “Botë” is definitely FiK winner by numbers – a strong vocalist, effective use of the backing singers, a meaningful message and a grand use of the resident orchestra (who seemed to recruit IVAN from Belarus this year?). There’s no question that Lindita has the vocals to highlight the deep and powerful moral of the story – after trying in 2014 with that absolute tune “S’të fal”, it was obvious that she would make a comeback and go for the FiK crown. Lyrically, “Botë” concerns peace in the world and how hard it is to live in a world without love and compassion. Fortunately, there’s not even a mention of the word ‘dashuri’ in the song, so reluctant fans can calm themselves and enjoy this anthemic ballad in peace. The harmonies between Lindita and the backing singers are phenomenally precise and slick, which add another layer of quality and simplicity to the flow of the song. The melody of the chorus also is a great hook that is easy to remember and easily becomes an earworm that sticks with you long after the song finishes. In addition to this, the electronic instruments add a sense of modernity to “Botë”, which all lead to a great crescendo in the final 30 seconds of the song. There’s no doubt that Lindita will deliver with all her vocal ability in Kyiv in May; be prepared people, Albania are bringing the guns!

In a four-hour spectacle that was the 55th edition of Festivali i Këngës, it was quite obvious from the get go it was not going to be a smooth ride. If you were on Twitter that, you were more than able to join us as we commented on the evening’s proceedings.

  • The show was hosted by Kasem Hoxha and Ledina Çelo, the latter of which represented Albania herself the last time Eurovision was hosted in Kyiv twelve years ago. It was pretty obvious that neither had a lot of experience when it came to hosting such a glitzy and glamorous show, as the two had little on-stage chemistry and looked rigid .
  • Things weren’t helped at the start of the show, when technical difficulties in setting up a hologram version of Vaçe Zela forced RTSH to go to an advertising a mere three minutes after starting the show.
  • However, when we were back on track, the opening act really proved to be an emotional show and it clearly moved people with Ledina shedding a tear at the late, great Vaçe – an 11-time winner of FiK and an Albanian musical icon.
  • Once the songs got underway, we didn’t really see much of the presenters as Andri Xhahu (many will know him as the current Albanian spokesperson in the actual Eurovision) essentially hogged the camera interviewing people in the green room. Like, Andri – I know you’re pretty theatrical and all that, but leave the presenting to the presenters?
  • What even was Genc Salihu’s song? Like, LEGITIMATELY, what was it cause I have no idea how that got second place.
  • For the interval act, it was fair to say it was a pretty diabolical one – it essentially featured Albanian stand up comedy. It was so niche that none of us got it into it and just led to dissatisfaction from the whole fan community.
  • Finally, that debacle of an interval was over and it was time to gather the results. Lindita took an early lead and never really lost sight of the title, with the exception of a couple of switches in the first stages of jury points. Other fan favourite Dilan Reka didn’t fare as well with the juries and finished in a respectable third place. However, Lindita soon regained the top spot and never let go and as a result, the Kosovar diva will represent Albania in Kyiv next May!

So, how is the song going to do in Ukraine in a mere eighteen weeks time? As the song is currently the only song in the mix at present, it’s too hard to judge whether the song will qualify from a strong or weak semi-final. However, it has been revealed that Lindita is going to sing the song in English under the title “World”. As well we know with Albania and revamps, it can go one of two ways; it turns out to be an amazing revamp that brings Albania to the final and a high placing à la “Suus”, or it gets revamped and bombs pathetically à la  “Fairytale”. As fellow Eurovision commentator Tessellating Hexagons says, it could work out fantastically well or it could ruin the potential of an otherwise stunning song. Only time will tell how it works out, but for the meantime, I’m declaring that I’m cautiously optimistic for how the song will do in May!

In any event, that’s what we think; what do you think? Are you happy Lindita Halimi will fly the Albanian flag in Ukraine in May? Do you wish Dilan or Genc should have won FiK instead? Do you think the revamp will help or hinder Lindita’s chances and do you think Lindita has a shot at the trophy? Be sure to let us know what you think, by commenting below!

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