Last month Eugent Bushpepa delivered an emotional performance which saw him win Festivali i Këngës 56. But this isn’t the first time the “Mall” singer has had experience with a Eurovision song. Earlier in 2017, Eugent performed Rona Nishliu’s 2012 Eurovision song “Suus”. And he nailed it.
The performance was part of the popular Albanian talk show Top Show. Eugent is one of the in-house singers, and regularly delivers covers of well-known songs.
In a January 2017 episode, he was challenged to perform Rona Nishliu’s Eurovision 2012 song “Suus”. He took the challenge, but the question was — could this rock performer deliver the soaring and emotional notes of “Suus”?
He could and he did. Bushpepa showed there’s more to his vocal talents than just rock. Much to the delight of the audience, he delivered clear and expressive vocals that did justice to Rona Nishliu’s dramatic song.
There were a few laughs to be had as he channelled some of Nishliu’s mannerisms, but he stayed true to the song.
And when it came to the chorus, with the iconic line “Më ler ni të qaj” (Let me cry), Bushpepa delivered it loud and proud and pitch perfect.
It’s perhaps a good omen for Bushpepa. “Suus” placed fifth at Eurovision 2012 — Albania’s best ever result. It was also one of Albania’s few entries to be sung entirely in Albanian. Bushpepa has said in interviews that it is unlikely his FiK winning song “Mall” will be translated into English for Eurovision, so history could repeat itself.
Albania hasn’t had the best luck at Eurovision in recent years. It has made the grand final only once in the past five years, and songs tend to languish in the semi-finals. Fans have complained of the Festivali i Këngës winning songs being given a lacklustre revamp for Eurovision, killing the original appeal of the song and turning the strong Albanian lyrics into dull English.
But it seems that Eugent Bushpepa’s emotional folk-rock ballad “Mall” will have its FiK spirit left intact when it makes it to Lisbon. It could be just what Albania needs.
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