It’s game on in Albania! The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals — has already reviewed the Festivali i Këngës 54 songs from Simbol, Genci Tukçi, Klajdi Musabelliu, Niku & Entela Zhula and Evans Rama. Today we turn our eyes and ears to five more acts competing in the semi-finals: Andi Tanko, Kristi Popa, Voltan Prodani, Renis Gjoka and Egert Pano. Who will soar and who will flop? Read on to find out…
Andi Tanko – “Dielli vazhdon të më ngrohë”
Ramadan: “Dielli vazhdon të më ngrohë” is a typical Festivali i Këngës song. It’s pleasant enough to listen to, but sadly that’s all. Like so many FiK artists, Andi Tanko is better than his dated entry.
William: The “sun continues to warm him,” but his song leaves me rather cold. It has flashes of being OK — as with the anthemic chorus. But two minutes in it morphs from dated rock to Spanish-sounding guitar song to directionless mess. This needs a good edit.
Robyn: This song rapidly ages Andi. It puts him into place as a veteran performer dragging out the same old routine that he’s been doing for decades — even if this isn’t necessarily the case. The result is a tiresome experience for the listener.
Antranig: The verses do sound a little dated — thankfully the choruses are a lot more enjoyable. I love Andi’s voice and I enjoy this, but I don’t think this will be the song to get him to Eurovision.
Wiwi Jury Score: 3.69/10
Kristi Popa – “Ajo ç’farë ndjej”
Ramadan: The melody is BEAUTIFUL. Then he starts to sing, turning this into a complete mess. He has no hope in Festivali i Këngës, nor would he at Eurovision.
William: Albania’s answer to Enya? Traditional crooner? Aspiring rocker with a penchant for spoken word? I have no idea what is going on and I’m not sure Kristi Popa does either. Hence the five-minute hot mess above. Choose a genre, develop an idea, come back next year. Or, actually…
Robyn: This starts out sounding like someone mucking around with a sound effects iPad app, but it slowly picks up. The song is still a bit of a mess and it would need to have well over two minutes removed to qualify for Eurovision.
Antranig: This song is physically painful to listen to… and it drags on for almost six minutes. It’s practically the music equivalent of torture. It feels never-ending and I applaud anyone who can actually get through the full 5 minutes and 41 seconds.
Wiwi Jury Score: 1.44/10
Voltan Prodani – “Dëgjoje këngën o atë”
Ramadan: “Dëgjoje këngën o atë” is way too old fashioned for me. I reckon he’ll make the audience fall asleep. Not for me, sorry.
William: I find the melancholy stirring and I want to know what Voltan’s pain is all about. If he removes the electric guitar and trims a minute and a bit, this could have real staying power.
Robyn: This is so old fashioned, with a strong 1980s ballad feeling. The sort of music that plays in a wine bar for lonely divorcees to drown their sorrows to. And no one asked for that guitar solo.
Antranig: After the previous song, almost anything would make for better listening. Unfortunately this barely makes the cut. It’s very dated and I don’t like it at all.
Wiwi Jury Score: 2.81/10
Renis Gjoka – “Ato që s’ti them dotë”
Ramadan: I have never been a fan of Renis Gjoka’s songs and I’m not a fan of this either. It’s an average rock song with the iconic FiK electric guitar solo. Gjoka’s voice totally destroys this and it’s too late for a rework.
William: His voice reminds me of Tom Waits and he’s serving up soul, emotion and a bit of sex to boot. The vocal smokes and the tingles follow. As with the majority of FiK songs, there’s an irrelevant and distracting electric guitar solo. But if he cuts that — along with the extraneous 26 seconds at the end — he could be on to a good thing.
Robyn: The song is well over three minutes, but if they cut the massive, attention-seeking guitar solo, it would actually come in on time. A song like this, with its gritty dad-rock styles, has limited appeal.
Antranig: The song is decent but Renis Gjoka’s vocals don’t help the cause. The “ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh” parts sound like something you would hear at a haunted house on Halloween. Unfortunately, Eurovision is in May and not October.
Wiwi Jury Score: 3.5/10
Egert Pano – “Mos ik”
Ramadan: “Mos ik” is such a forgettable, dated and cheesy song. Perhaps he knows someone on the jury — I have no idea how this has made it to Festivali i Këngës. I don’t even think the pensioners will like this!
William: An elevator vibe, a lounge-y feel, cheesy vocals and a dated sound — pretty much everything I hate wrapped up in one song. Further evidence FiK should consist of 10 songs, max.
Robyn: This is very pleasant music, but it’s background music, the sort of thing that plays in a posh homeware store on a quiet Thursday afternoon. If this was performed at Eurovision, the entire Globe Arena would empty out to take a toilet break, not even realising the show was still on.
Antranig: I have to agree with Robyn — the music sounds exactly like homeware store music. The song is completely mediocre and the vocals are not particularly impressive. This is extremely forgettable.