The 21-years old singer Arilena is very popular in her home country Albania. She could win the prestigious Albanian song festival “Festivali i Këngës”, the winner will normally be the representative at the Eurovision Song Contest as well.
In that festival Arilena could beat her biggest competitor Elvana Gjata, who came second. The song “Shaj” has been composed by Darko Dimitrov, who is no stranger at the ESC. He wrote last year’s North Macedonian and Serbian entry.
Arilena was born in Shkodra (Northern Albania) in 1998. She could win several contests even as a child. In the age of 14 she won the X-Factor show and overnight she became very popular. Her first single was “Aeroplan” , but with her song “Nëntori” she could accomplish a mega hit. With over 36 million views, this ballad was even awarded as best ballad. This song was especially popular in Romania and Russia.
The song “Shaj” is a powerful and as well touching. The English translation is “Scream”, the original English title “Fall From The Sky”. It’s about a bitter loss of love and the disappointment from the inner guts, no way out, screaming inside and a little hope that the heart will survive.
The Albanian song has a strong melody, and a certain kind of bitterness and power is giving the song additional strength. Arilena’s voice is superb, she could even proof her live singing qualities in the national final already. Maybe this kind of screaming bitterness is not everybody’s cup of tea, but this would have been a qualifier for the Grand Final.
Top 10: 2
Chances for Top 10: 12%
Chances for Final: 53%
This year it has been the 58th time of the Festivali i Këngës - the Albanian music festival. Since 2004, this event is also taken as national final to determine the Albanian representative for the Eurovision Song Contest. Albania joined the ESC in 2004 with a respectable 7th place in Istanbul with “The image of you” by Anjeza Shahini. A very good start for a newcomer country.
Last year in Tel Aviv, Jonida Maliqi could reach the Grand Final, but only reached the 17th place with the song “Ktheju tokës”. So this year it would have been the 17th time for Albania in the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam. So far out of 16 participations for Albania, the Grand Final has been reached nine times and a Top10 placing for 2 times, the chance for a Top10 position is around 12%. The chances for reaching the Grand Final is about 53%.
Albanian music is not that well known across the European continent and beyond, therefore the Eurovision Song Contest is a great opportunity to get a worldwide audience. The songs from Albania in the ESC have mostly preserved the traditional roots with folkloristic elements, even in modern songs there is a traditional part that gives the special Albanian touch. The difficulty is to make popular Albanian music accessible for European ears. In the Albanian pre selection the songs are normally longer than three minutes, therefore the entries are shortened, revamped and translated into English to match the European taste even better.
1x 5th place “Suus” |Rona Nishliu (Baku 2012)
1x 7th place ”The Image Of You” | Anjeza Shahini (Istanbul 2004)