All opinions expressed in this article are those of the editor quoted and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the other team members or the website as a whole.
Welcome to a new series from ESCUnited! While we head into a long Eurovision-less summer, we thought it best to take a look back over the decade that we have just left behind…
Over the next few weeks we will be going through all of the 46 countries that took part in Eurovision over the last decade and give our team’s personal rankings for them. We’ll also give #YOU a chance to vote for your favourite songs from each country, and we’ll see if your favourites match ours!
Today we will begin with Albania. Albania have competed in all 10 editions of the contest this decade and have offered up some memorable entries. Let’s take a quick look at their track record and then we’ll get down to ranking!
2010 – Juliana Pasha – It’s All About You
Performed 12th in the first semi final and qualified for the final in sixth place with 76 points. Juliana then performed 15th in the grand final and finished 16th with 62 points.
2011 – Aurela Gace – Feel the Passion
Performed third in the first semi final and failed to qualify for the final, coming 14th with 47 points.
2012 – Rona Nishliu – Suus
Performed fifth in the first semi final and qualified for the final in second place with 146 points. Rona then performed 3rd in the final where she finished 5th with 146 points, to date Albania’s best result in the contest.
2013 – Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko – Identitet
Performed 14th in the second semi final but failed to qualify for the final, finishing 15th with 31 points.
2014 – Hersi Matmuja – One Nights Anger
Performed sixth in the first semi final but failed to qualify for the final, finishing 15th with 22 points.
2015 – Elhaida Dani – I’m Alive
Performed 14th in the first semi final and qualified for the final in tenth place with 62 points. Elhaida then performed 26th in the grand final and finished in 17th place with 34 points.
2016 – Eneda Tarifa – Fairytale
Performed 17th in the second semi final and failed to qualify for the final finishing 16th with 45 points.
2017 – Lindita Halimi – World
Performed fourth in the first semi final and failed to qualify for the final finishing in 14th with 76 points.
2018 – Eugent Bushpepa – Mall
Performed third in the first semi final and qualified for the final in eighth place with 162 points. Eugent then performed 12th in the grand final and finished 11th with 184 points in total.
2019 – Jonida Maliqi – Ktheju Tokës
Performed 14th in the second semi final and qualified for the final in 9th place with 96 points. Jonida then performed second in the final where she finished 17th with 90 points.
All of our team members who ranked the entries also said a few words on their personal favourites, and why they are where they are.
Connor – 2018 – Eugent Bushpepa – Mall
In all honesty, this was never going to be anyone other than Eugent for me. Albania is one of my favourite Eurovision countries, but I have to admit that they have had a topsy-turvy Eurovsion experience. But when Eugent took the stage in Lisbon, I feel like the country really found its stride again and it really launched Albania into success, and eclipsed all the other entries from the 2010s. But there’s more to why I ranked this first. “Mall” is a song that is captivating, that makes me think I can sing in Albanian. It’s stuck in my head no matter what day or time it is, and that key change is EPIC. There was no other choice for me.
James – 2013 – Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko – Identitet
The Balkans have come out of nowhere in the 2010s in the metal and folk rock genres, with Greece’s Septic Flesh becoming genre titans in symphonic death metal, so it’s no surprise that Albania sends a folk rocker that slays in Adrian Lulgjuraj and Bledar Sejko’s “Identitet.” Extra points for a guitar solo with sparks shooting out the guitar neck. This song is how you seamlessly blend a country’s folk music tradition with hard rock. (P.S. “It sounds similar!” is not “plagiarism.”)
Jordan – 2015 – Elhaida Dani – I’m Alive
I’m Alive is a slick, well produced pop song from a really good singer. I feel it was a really smart decision to go with this rather than her song from Festivali i Kenges. This is one of Albania’s most contemporary entries and pulled them into the 21st century with a bang. I’m really pleased this qualified for the final as Albania really deserved it that year. Yes, her live vocals weren’t the strongest of the contest but the song on its own deserved to be in the final.
Roy – 2012 – Rona Nishliu – Suus
I absolutely love Rona’s voice. This song to me is an epic journey through emotion translated into sound and music. I still listen to this song fairly often and it still moves me.
Sean – 2013 – Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko – Identitet
Two of my top three for Albania stem from their two native language rock songs this decade and it’s this authentic approach that endears Albania’s Eurovision efforts to many. To me, Identitet had everything; passionate vocals, a soaring, majestic composition and a touch of mystery, and to me this criminally underrated gem stands clear as Albania’s best effort of the last ten years.
Zack – 2015 – Elhaida Dani – I’m Alive
Slickly polished pop tune. She gave it her all in Vienna and sadly, by the time the live shows hit, she slightly lost her voice. But I will never forget how incredible she sounded at rehearsals.
We as a team have ranked Albania’s entries from 1-10 and converted them into points in the classic Eurovision style. Here is how we here at ESC United rank Albania’s entries, but do #YOU agree with our ranking?
In the poll below #YOU can vote for your favourite Albanian entry from this decade. We’ll reveal your favourite of the ten options very shortly!
What do #YOU think of Albania’s entries this decade, and this series as a whole? Get in touch with us by commenting below, posting on our forum or visiting our social media pages @escunited!