#ALBANIA: Live blog of Festivali i Këngës Final from 20.45 CET

ALBANIA: Live blog of Festivali i Këngës Final from 20.45 CET

We’ve been through two nights of quality song from Tirana. Tonight is the Grand Final of Festivali i Këngës 57, and the winner will carry the double-headed eagle to Tel Aviv next May.

Fourteen songs have made it this far, and we’ll hear them all tonight. It’s a 3½ hour show, so make yourself comfortable and we’ll blog it for you here.

You know what to do: Just hit refresh and see our thoughts.

Yeah, I know, it should have started 20 minutes ago. But in the meantime you’ve been treated to local adverts and trailers.

And we’re off. Our hostess is in another very fetching frock.

After a bit of chat, it’s straight onto the songs

Marko Strazmiri & Imbro – Leyla

M and I open the show and there seem to be microphone problems. The mix is all wrong. Hmmm. When we eventually hear them we get a semi-decent song. There’s much flute filling the instrumental bits. And it’s operatic in a slightly warbling fashion. However it ends with a bit of a whimper and not a bang.

Gjergj Leka – Një ditë tjetër

We open with an introduction that’s heavy on the electric guitar. Gjergj then fives us his talk-singing which is almost whisper-singing. I can imagine this in an Albanian restaurant. It’s not really my thing and moves along quite slowly. Even with the key change and his attempts at more power may not save this song.

Elton Deda – Qetësisht

Elton has seen a few summers and sings this pleasant little song in slightly understated stylee. It’s maybe a bit dated and I’ve heard stuff like this from the 1990s. With a nice orchestration that’s very heavy on strings and electric guitar I think it’s the best so far. Still not a winner methinks though.

Eranda Liboheva – 100 Pyetje

More microphone issues here. Eranda is trying her best but we can’t really here her singing. I don’t think she knows. From what we can hear, this is a jaunty little number and you can hear the crowd clapping. This has the potential to be a decent song, but we can only hear the backing singers. It’s maybe lost its chance now. Should they give her another go?

It’s ad time. Don’t go away. Back from the ads and it’s only tradition that chatter of an interesting nature follows from the Green Room. Oh joy!

Jonida Maliqi – Ktheju tokës

It’s dram time at FiK, with Jonida in a nice quilted-curtain type frock. The TV sound is better for this. She’s giving this everything. Lots of big notes, emoting and even a wind machine. That can’t be cheap. It’s a song that might go down well with Balkan audiences, but maybe not those further north and west. She gets a decent reaction from the crowd though.

By the way, we probably won’t get Eranda’s song again. The judges are in the hall and they can apparently hear everything OK. So she’s not been disadvantaged.

Eliza Hoxha – Peng

Eliza’s song has lots of words that don’t seem to rhyme. That’s not a problem with me. Her song is more dramatic stuff and a tad more pleasing on the ear for those who like something and almost operetta-atic. And once it gets going could drag in a few more votes too. I guess it needs the strong live orchestra to really make it work. This is one of the best so far.

Ad time again. I did warn you it would be a long evening.

Orgesa Zaimi – Hije

Orgesa has another interesting outfit tonight. And who can say no to a big bow tie? Her song intersperses Shqiptar with English. It’s a novel idea at FiK. I’ll give her her due. She has stage presence and her song is memorable. It’s also quite wordy and even attempts a little rap. It’s a lot to take in in the time she has on stage.

Bojken Lako – Jeto jetën

Another aging rocker? You wait for years then several come along in the same FiK. He obscures his face with his hand on the microphone. Maybe not the best look. The song doesn’t really anywhere and he doesn’t project his voice as well as I’m sure he could. This doesn’t seem like a winner to me.

Soni Malaj – Më e fortë

An attacking song. You’re at the right one. Soni is taking this by the scruff of the neck and means business. She gyrates, she stares at the camera – when it keeps still. And generally makes a very good attempt at an half-decent song. She gets much applause and says her piece when ti’s over too!

Artemisa Mithi & Febi Shkurti – Dua ta besoj

Duet time again and this is an interesting mix of good voice – and Shqiprap. It could work but seems a tad incongruous. Naturally the bloke Febi is responsible for the rapping. In fact, the incongruousness could help it. Or it could be another ‘Narodnozabevni rok’. How will it do? I have absolutely no idea.

Dilan Reka – Karma

It’s George Michael as I live and breathe. Except with orange glasses. And singing in Albanian. This I think could be a good song to send to Tel Aviv. It’s upbeat, with a decent hook, and would go well in a Eurodisco. Maybe formulaic, but that could work in Dilan’s favour. He’s popular with the crowd too.

Alar Band – Dashuria nuk mjafton

Ooh. More upbeat stuff with the smartly-dressed band and their schtick that relies on a lot of brass instrumentation. This is also very catchy, if slightly familiar. Familiarity is no bad thing. Go on, RTSH, send this. It’ll have them in raptures in Tel Aviv!

Lidia Lufi – Rrëfehem

Lidia is smouldering. It’s official. She’s maybe not starting this song with a strong vocal, but she’s drawing you in. But once the vocal happens it grabs you by the throat. If Albania want another Suus then this could be for them. Even the 1980s style saxophone solo doesn’t detract from a very interesting song.

Klint Çollaku – Me jetë

Finally it’s heartfelt ballad from our Klint. A nicely pleasant song sung very well. It’s almost an ‘end of the disco’ boyband song sung by a soloist who, to be fair, can carry a tune. Maybe this could be a competition after all.

But what’s this? Marko and Imbro (song one) are performing again. The microphones have been an issue after all. It’s still a pleasant song.

And because M&I perform again, so does Eranda. Her song comes across much better this time. And she seems very smiley. Perhaps because she’s past caring and is just enjoying getting another go in the stage.

Songs over – for definite this time. It’s time for words from sponsors. Stay tuned.

We’re back. And we have Eugent Bushpepa. You must remember him from Lisbon. He’s still popular. Of course, one of his songs is Mall. Good for him that he still likes singing it.

We appear to have some jury results now. Marko Strazmiri & Imbro have won a prize.

Scores are steadily coming in. There’s a winner there somewhere.

Now, after more ads, we’ve got dancing. Modern dancing. Think Nuša Derenda’s dancers from 2001. Perhaps.

Eranda Libohova has won something now. Is it the biiig prize? Or the spot prize for four corners in the Green Room bingo?

More scores appear to show Jonisa Maliqi (Ktheju tokës) with the win at the moment. But maybe it’s not all over. No, because Lidia Lufi (Rrëfehem) has gone first. Who knows? Maybe our sponsors do.

Back from adverts, it’s time for Hallelujah to be sung. No, not Milk & Honey’s masterpiece. This is the Leonard Cohen masterpiece instead.

More results and it’s anyone’s guess who’s winning.

It’s Jonida Maliqi!!

So with a song title that might trouble some Anglophone commentators, Ktheju tokës will be going to Israel.

That’s all from the blog. Thanks for staying with us. And good night.

Author: John Stanton

Source: Eurovision Ireland

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