In the grand scheme of things, Albania are relative newcomers to the Eurovision Song Contest, making their first appearance in 2004. They’ve never won – but in 2012 their entry, Rona Nishliu, did receive the unofficial fan-voted ‘Barbara Dex Award’, an honour given to the worst dressed performers…
Nevertheless, Albania wasted no time in their preparation for Eurovision this time around, becoming the first country to announce both their artist and song for the contest. Having won Festivali i Këngës – Albania’s selection song contest for Eurovision – Jonida Maliqi will be performing Ktheju tokës (Return to the Land) at Eurovision this year.
Jonida Maliqi is something of a Festivali i Këngës veteran. She first participated in her country’s contest in 1995, where she sang a duet at the age of 13. She has been involved ever since, placing second in 1999 and even hosting the contest in 2010. This year, her long awaited moment of glory finally came when she was picked from a pack of 13 Eurovision hopefuls.
With music and lyrics written by Eriona Rushiti, Albania’s entry for Eurovision this year is called Ktheju tokës. In English this is translated as ‘Return to the Land’, which is explained by the song’s central focus: emigration from Albania. The lyrics are expected to remain in Albanian for the competition itself.
What will Albania’s song look like on stage? Is there a video?
You can see a video of Maliqi’s performance at the Festivali i Këngës song contest. It’s a dramatic number – in typical Eurovision fashion – complete with mysteriously dark-clad backing dancers and thematic visuals.
You can expect this to be further exaggerated for Eurovision.
What are the odds of Albania winning Eurovision?
They’re an outsider at best. Albania are currently 200/1 to win, according to most bookies.