on the one hand of course they need to keep arilena for 2021, mikaela minga didn't ruin her whole credibility sandbagging elvana for nothing and it's the ethical thing to do (also they can give her an actual song with an actual personality this time and not Moldy Ballad From 1859 For Overly Sensitive Gays #458)
on the other hand imagine if they say they will just send the new FiK winner and then elvana goes to FiK again and this time she wins?????? rofl only acceptable artist exchange tbh
I thought I could quickly review the songs of this ghost edition to write my impressions once and for all while attempting to feel the passion (Aurela Gaçe-style) for the contest for a hot second this year. I haven't listened to the entries in ages, didn't follow any "side event" and still didn't bother working on a personal ranking, which says a lot about how I cared after the cancellation of the contest.
I'll start with Albania and then follow the order of the CD tracklist.
Arilena Ara - Fall From The Sky = "Oh, what have you done?..."
I won't digress too much, but I just want to say I enjoyed following FiK very much: it was my first time and - apart from the international jury that needs to disappear asap - the shows were right up my alley. Many songs I'll keep playing in the future (Malaseen, Eja Merre, Melodi...), many great performances and entertaining nights overall.
Arilena and "Shaj" weren't my faves - I won't lie - but given the vocal/visual package she brought on stage and considering who was her direct competitor, there was no doubt for me she had to win this. The song grew on me afterwards due to the live performance and now it made its way to my Ipod. The thing is a revamp wasn't really needed imo, if there were tweaks to be made, it shouldn't have changed the core of the composition. For some reason, I remained confident until the end despite the clues dropped because I thought Arilena and her team knew what they were doing... But sadly the final product disappointed me big time.
"Fall From The Sky" is not "Fairytale" levels of tragedy: actually this is a perfectly acceptable song for what it is, but knowing the base they worked on, listening to it leaves a bitter aftertaste imo. They literally stripped the composition from everything that made it interesting in the first place: the original orchestration, the bridge, the language... They even changed the melody of the verses, which was unnecessary imo. Basically, they turned "Shaj" into a random pop ballad in English with pretty uninspired and ugly lines ("I hold back my wings when I'm destined to fly" gets the prize for me), it lost a lot of its power due to the changes they made : the new bridge doesn't add anything contrary to the original one.
To sum up, I don't like "Fall From The Sky": it still has its moments but it is way inferior to "Shaj" on every level to me. And it reinforced the similarities with "Proud", and I'm not here for that. Albania have more to offer than mere inconspicuous songs to me. And wasting such a voice is a shame too.
With that being said, the live performance would have elevated it and I'm convinced it would have qualified in semi 2. But that's it, the only song I acknowledge is "Shaj" anyway. My expectations are too high to settle for something plain from Albanians. I hope whoever wins FiK in December won't do the same mistakes, keep it in Albanian and think twice before altering the winning composition.