In the coming weeks, we will review the history of each country in the Eurovision Song Contest. The first country is no other than Albania. Albania normally chooses their entries through their very popular show Festivali I Kenges which has been ongoing since 1962. Since 2004, their debut, the winner of this festival also wins the golden ticket for the Eurovision Song Contest. Albania’s Broadcaster in this contest is RTSH.
As indicated in this article’s title, their first debut was in 2004 with the singer Anjeza Shahini singing “The Image of you”. The original song was called “Imazhi yt”. Albania participated with their first entry in the very first televised Eurovision Song Contest semifinals and qualified 4th place receiving 106 points and ended up 7th place in the Grand Final.
According to the rules in 2004, the first top 12 in the Grand Final get an automatic ticket in the following year. And so in 2005, Albania was automatically in the final held in Ukraine. Ledina Celo was the 2nd representative for this country. With a red and white setting, she sang Tomorrow I Go, originally translated from “Nesër shkoj”. Unfortunately the song only ended up 16th with a total of 53 points.
In 2006, Albania was back for their second semi final battle. This time, Luiz Ejlli won the golden ticket in the 44th Festivali i Kenges with the song “Zjarr e ftohtë” meaning Fire and Cold. For this entry it had been decided to keep it in the original Albanian language instead of the usual translation of songs to English. The song placed 14th out of 23 songs with 58 points, thus not qualifying for the final. In 2007, Albania had to compete again in the semifinals but this time Frederik Ndoci had the opportunity to represent his home country with the song “Hear My Plea”. Once again, it was decided to translate the original albanian song “Balada e gurit” to english. In the Eurovision Song Contest, the song was sung both in english and in albanian. Again the song didn’t appeal to the european viewers since it ended up 17th place in the semifinals.
After a couple of years of bad results, in 2008 Albania managed to qualify for the finals. Olta Boka won the 46th Albanian national final with the song “Zemrën e lamë peng”. In this year, controversy struck!. It was rumored that two judges intentionally gave high points to Olta Boka to avoid sending two other singers that ended up top 3. The Albanian press was very upset with this and the national broadcaster had investigated this situation. Despite rumors and investigations, Olta flew the albanian flag in Serbia from the semifinals to the finals. It was the first time since 2005 that albania was back in the finals. The song qualified 9th place and finished 17th place with a total of 55 points.
In 2009, Albania opened the national final season with the winner Kejsi Tola. She originally won with her song “Më merr në ëndërr” which later was translated to “Carry Me in Your Dreams” for the Eurovision. Albania once again managed to impress the europeans, ending up 7th in the 2nd semi final. In the Grand Final, Kejsi ended up only 17th place with a total of 48th points. That same year, in the Eurovision Song Contest, there was the re-introduction of the national jury along with the televoting. Keji would have placed 11th place if it was up to the juries only.
27th December 2010 was the night that Albania chose their 7th eurovision entry. It’s interesting to note that Juliana Pasha, the winner for 2010, managed to take victory over a former Festivali i Kenges winner, Anjeza Shanini. The original song was called “Nuk mundem pa ty” but for the Eurovision Song Contest, the song was translated to english holding the title of “Its All About You”. Juliana managed to get 6th place in the semifinal, giving her the right to participate in the final. Juliana gave a very strong performance and ended up 16th on the night, scoring a total of 62 points.
Unfortunately in 2011 it was another disappointing year for Albania. Aurela Gaçe won the ticket to represent her home country with the song “Kënga ime”. Aurela won had already won this festival twice before their debut in this contest. Later this song was translated to “Feel the Passion”. Singing in the first semi final, Aurela only managed to score 47 points, leaving her 14th place thus missing the opportunity to represent Albania in the final that year.
In 2012, the tables turned completely for this country. Their 9th entry was sung by Rona Nishliu. Her song called “Suus” was translated in english but not for the Eurovision Song Contest. In the semifinals Rona placed 2nd with a total of 146 points, the best result to date in the semifinals, thus qualifying for the final night in Baku. Singing 3rd position, Rona gave an impeccable performance. Rona, alone on stage with dry ice sang the song from her heart gaining an outstanding 146 points and placing Albania 5th place. The best result Albania has achieved since their debut. According to the jury votes, Albania would have been placed 3rd that would have ended up with a higher better result for Albania to date.
One must note the following statistics when it comes to points:
- Albania has received the most points from F.Y.R. Macedonia with a total of 125 points (semifinals and finals included)
- Albania has given the most points to Greece with a total of 149 points (semifinals and finals included)
Will Albania go back to their streak of bad results or will they once again be successful in this contest? One must wait until 2013 to see their next result.
Next time we will review the history of Andorra in the Eurovision Song Contest!! Stay tuned…