The Wiwi Jury: Albania’s Rona Nishliu with “Suus” (Personal)

The Wiwi Jury—our international panel of music unprofessionals—sharpened its claws and headed to Tirana this week to review Rona Nishliu’s Eurovision 2012 song “Suus.” That means “Personal” in Albanian. But what does it mean to the jury? Read on to find out.


Wiwi: She who shrieks does not win. But she who belts it out Rona Nishliu-style has a major chance of doing well. I was skeptical when I first heard this song and cracked more than a few jokes about dead cats (particularly in the final bars). I was thinking, “Get this woman a chai tea latte!” when I heard her belting out chaaiiiiiiiii over and over. After looking at the English translation of the lyrics, though, I now realize she’s saying “qaj” which means “cry.” It really drove home the point that “Suus” is a deeply emotional ballad in the style of 2007’s winning song “Molitva.” Given that the Albanians have a knack for re-mixing, cutting, and generally re-casting their Eurovision entries ahead of the contest, I have no doubt they will nip and tuck this song to perfection. And given the vocals on Rona—she serves it up like Mariah Carey, y’all!—I see this going down very well in Baku. I just hope she doesn’t shatter the ceiling of Baku’s Crystal Hall Arena!

Score: 8/10

Vebooboo: OK, she may look nothing like Chiara (she’s the size of the Maltese diva’s head), but girl can belt some powerful notes just like our favourite plus-size contestant. For anyone out there who thinks Eurovision is just for class-less songs sung by even more déclassé people, listen to this song.  I mean, at 1:45 I almost shat in my pants it was so amazing. Daaaaamn, girl needs to make the Final.

Score: 8/10

Meows Kitty: I think I want to go kill myself…. I don’t really know what the words are about but it is obviously very very depressing. She acts the pain out so well that it’s infectious, especially for the ears. Not saying that she’s a bad singer or anything: she’s got a great voice and holds the notes well. But all that wailing and screeching is just too much. This song would suit the opera or a theatre show a lot better—not Eurovision.

Score: 5/10

Deban: Absolute masterpiece! If you liked Russia’s 2009 homecoming entry “Mamo” by Anastasia Pridkhoko, you’d love this. ‘Suus’ grips you from the very first beat and releases you into the abyss on its last high note. Rona Nishliu is a native Albanian who sings with a lot of conviction. Even though this song has a Latin title, it’s entirely in Albanian. It’s also proof that songs don’t have to be sung in English to communicate a mood or emotion. Remember “Molitva”—the Serbian entry by Marija Serifovic that won in 2007?

However, the tricky factor deciding this song’s success is the staging. Live orchestras are no longer the norm in the contest because they often exceed the six persons on stage rule. Let’s just hope that the stage isn’t furnished with dancers in silly costumes. That would be a travesty! This song has the potential to literally move mountains, and I’m hoping that Rona will take creative control of how the song she wrote and produced is packaged and presented. All in all, this is by far my favourite entry so far, and I’m certain it’ll do well in Baku.

Score: 10/10

The Wiwi Jury Verdict: 7.75/10

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