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Albania: Jonida Maliqi – Ktheju tokës

Albania become the first nation to select their song for Eurovision 2019 following the 57th edition of Festivali i Këngës. The night was riddled with sound issues, but Jonida Maliqi won with the song, Ktheju tokës, and will represent the nation in Tel Aviv in May. It's worth remembering that Eugent Bushpepa qualified in 8th place in Lisbon: the juries ranked Albania an impressive 3rd in semi-final 1, whereas the televote only placed them 11th. That tells us that Albania has to send something quite exceptional to make the final (Suus 2012, Mall 2018) or needs a decent running order slot…
Song Appeal
Vocal Strength
Staging Potential
Likely Televote Appeal
Likely Jury Appeal

Oh Fik!

If the semi-final consisted of just 11-nations, I'd still put money on this just missing out. 

User Rating: 3.35 ( 14 votes)

Albania become the first nation to select their song for Eurovision 2019 following the 57th edition of Festivali i Këngës.

The night was riddled with sound issues, but Jonida Maliqi won with the song, Ktheju tokës, and will represent the nation in Tel Aviv in May.

It’s worth remembering that Eugent Bushpepa qualified in 8th place in Lisbon: the juries ranked Albania an impressive 3rd in semi-final 1, whereas the televote only placed them 11th. That tells us that Albania has to send something quite exceptional to make the final (Suus 2012, Mall 2018) or needs a decent running order slot to creep over the line (I’m Alive 2015).

Both Rona and Eugent boasted an astounding vocal range and deservedly earned recognition from the juries. Elhaida qualified on the back of a beneficial running order slot in a reduced lineup of just 16 entries and English lyrics. It was genuinely a shock to see Albania make the final in 2015!

Without wanting to sound too negative, I am a fan of the enthic sounding Ktheju tokës, but unfortunately it doesn’t do much during the 3-minutes. The average Eurovision viewer will be eager for the next song after just 1-minute! To offer some credit, there is some nice folk instrumentation and percussive elements that should feature in the staging – this would certainly be more visually effective than the current contemporary dance concept. Nevertheless, that doesn’t change what is a paper-thin song with lots of wailing. 

In current form, Ktheju tokës would be used as a filler song in the semi-final running order. Obviously much of this is subject to the quality of the other songs selected for Tel Aviv, as well as the infamous Albanian revamp! Having said that, experience tells us that good Albanian revamps are few and far between. So good I can’t remember one. If the semi-final consisted of just 11-nations, I’d still put money on this just missing out. 

Can Albania make it two successive qualifications?

About Gavster

ESCtips Owner   I’m a qualified designer and dedicate a lot of my free time to keeping the ESCtips show on the road. My family routes allow me to support the UK, Ireland and Italy.

8 comments

  1. Best entry they could have picked. Off to a strong start. Will this qualify? Impossible to tell at this stage. Needs moderate revamp and something resembling the stage show. But the building blocks to a good result are there, depending if next year is as bad as this one for song quality.

    I’d give it 3.75 stars at the moment.

  2. Absolutely love this song, it’s like 1944 mixed with the wailing from Bones. Needs some work on staging or otherwise it will do a greece 2018

  3. First of as a fan i love Fik.However this year promised much in the songs,but they failed to deliver live.This winner is a classic example of why huge important national shows are not always the best way to select an ESC entry.This song is a perfect design and delivery for its target audience,ie the Albanian public.Its deep meaning will of touched many an Albanian family,whos sons,daughters etc have left home to earn a living in other countries,only for their families and towns to miss them and lament their loss.Jonida is an expert at this and delivered it bang on for the the audience.How do you take this to ESC though?.As Gav eluded to Albania have a terrible record of revamps,even destroying decent entries and singers.The best chance is to aim for the Balkan vote,and for that its best to keep the song mostly as it is,but really ramp up the ethnic elements.Ukraine staging might get this to qualify,in 10th.Without that its going to take a very weak semi to have any chance.

    • We need that though. We need countries that send something that represents them. If everyone did a Sweden or Russia, Eurovision would be dull, generic and really not worth watching. Obviously we are discussing it’s chances of making it through (which are literally impossible to predict at this stage), but I think we need to take a moment to applaud Albania for doing things their way. Songs like this are most welcome at the contest. The fact that I really do love it is just the icing on the cake.

      • They are welcome and i agree the contest hasnt been helped the last few years by the jury rewarding generic rubbish.Look at Sweden this year,terrible.Iv followed Jonida for many years and loved her Magjike song from 2011 for example.She is a very worthy artist.Like i said its best chance is to ramp up the ethnic side.As punters we need to look at the contest as it is,not as we would want it to be though.I like her and the song,my family all fell asleep on the sofa watching it though.

  4. Mixed feelings on this, nice enough and decent ethnic elements but even for someone who goes in for this kind of fare, it definitely is a long three minutes. Will really struggle to pick up much love away from the Albanian diaspora and some of the balkans, whilst jurors are incredibly inconsistent in rewarding vocals.
    I expect this to miss out on qualification too, it needs a fair few things to fall well for it.

  5. Ok… just give this music a second or a minute. Look at the deliberate haircut of the singer. All of the sudden, she is selling a little bit of Cleopatra look. Or is it just me reading too much into her sudden image change?

    Granted, nobody knows how the ancients sounded – we can only pretend they looked and sounded liked this. But guess what, coupled with drums and percussions, this creates a right type of atmosphere. Ptolemaic Kingdom kind of atmosphere. Translated into punsters language: she is interesting, she is intriguing, she is targeting a certain niche. Dont be surprised of her pushing Egyptian themes thereafter though.

  6. Reminds me a bit of Bote by Lindita a couple of years ago. I expect there will be some regional televote support, but most of Europe will only hear a ‘dirge’. At the moment I don’t see this qualifying for the Grand Final.

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