After reviewing all 30 songs competing in the Festivali i Këngës 54 semi-finals, we’ve finally reached the end of our Wiwi Jury: Albania Edition. Today it’s time for our in-house panel of music unprofessionals to share their frank opinions on Klodian Kaçani & Rezarta Smaja, Eneda Tarifa, Enxhi Nasufi, Flaka Krelani and Besa Krasniqi. Is there a winner among them? Let’s find out!
Klodian Kaçani & Rezarta Smaja – “Dashuri në përjetësi”
Ramadan: Rezarta and Klodian are really good singers and they sound great together. There are two problems: It’s not a very memorable song and it’s hopelessly dated. Nevertheless, I enjoy “Dashuri në përjetësi” and I think the jury is going to love this. They could even win the whole competition.
William: I can feel the chemistry here. It sizzles, it pops, it cracks. It’s just a shame that Rezarta and Klodian have to do all of that with this production and that melody. Give them a more modern song and we’ll be good to go.
Robyn: A duet! Rezarta and Klodian sound good together, though the song does sound dated. Part of that is due to the production (that wine bar piano and — oh no — a guitar solo). The song could work with a remix, but is it really too late to be saying that?
Antranig: They both sound strong vocally but the song is not particularly memorable. I could see them getting a decent result with a strong live performance, but I can’t see them winning the festival.
Wiwi Jury Score: 6.88/10
Eneda Tarifa – “Përrallë”
Ramadan: It’s dark, dramatic, energetic and I’m loving it. Eneda is one beautiful lady and her voice is perfect for the song. However, I wish there was a better ending, as it just stops without notice. It sounds like it could be on the soundtrack to a James Bond movie.
William: Eneda knows how to do dark and dramatic. She sounds like a woman scorned — and one you do not want to mess with late at night in a dark alley. The song itself doesn’t appeal to me — I want something brighter and happier — but she’s got the voice and the look for Eurovision.
Robyn: “Përrallë” sounds like it belongs on the soundtrack of an action film. It’s bold and dramatic and Eneda brings a great feeling of drama to her performance. But interestingly, the full-on chorus ends up being the least interesting part of the song.
Antranig: This song takes a while to build, but when it does it is a powerhouse. It’s the closest thing to being the Albanian “Rise Like A Phoenix”. The “oh-oh-oh” bridge is a musical masterpiece and the song concludes in spectacular fashion. A genuine contender!
Wiwi Jury Score: 6.94/10
Enxhi Nasufi – “Infinit”
Ramadan: “Infinit” is one of the most modern songs in this year’s Festivali i Këngës, and one of my favourites. The song is catchy, full of energy and Enxhi sings it proudly. However, I don’t see the jury voting for this, which is a shame! With a revamp, this could do well in Eurovision.
William: Finally — a FiK singer with proper star quality! The song is a little cheesy, but it’s got decent production value and Enxhi sings it with attitude and conviction. There’s a slight disco feel to this — a bit too vintage for me — but I appreciate the energy and light.
Robyn: “Infinit” starts off sounding quite gentle and ballady, but suddenly the chorus kicks in and the songs gets an urgent madness. It doesn’t quite work, but Enxhi sounds like she’ll put on a good show.
Antranig: This is fun but it never hits top gear. It’s one of my favourite entries, but it’s missing that special something to put it in the running for the crown.
Wiwi Jury Score: 7.94/10
Flaka Krelani – “S’je për mua”
Ramadan: Flaka Krelani has entered Festivali i Këngës three times and I think this might be her year. The last minute is so amazing, it gives me the chills. I definitely do not need to worry about the performance. Miss Krelani is fantastic live and she will feed off the energy inside Pallati i Kongreseve. This is definitely going to be top 3. Go Flaka!
William: Flaka is 2016. Flaka is sultry. Flaka is seducing me with her sound, her voice and her lovely song. It starts to drag at around two minutes, and the current version is way over three minutes. But with some remastering I’m sure she can sort it out for Stockholm. Direct to the final, y’all!
Robyn: This is very promising. Flaka has a good, expressive voice, but sometimes she gets a bit overwrought with embellishments. The blend of modern electronica and orchestral sounds is sometimes an unusual match, but the overall song works.
Antranig: She looks like Elhaida Dani with Svetlana Loboda’s lips, so maybe she’ll do just as well. I enjoy this a lot and I would give her 10 points for her lips alone, but the song is more than worth it too!
Wiwi Jury Score: 8.25/10
Besa Krasniqi – “Liroje zemrën”
Ramadan: This is my number one in this year’s Festivali i Këngës. The song reminds me a lot of Emmelie de Forest — could it be the winning vibes? “Liroje zemrën” is radio-friendly and I see this hitting the charts all over Europe. Besa lights up my soul. To the jury members of Festivali i Këngës 54: you now know who to vote for! This is my pick for Albania!
William: Besa is giving me hope, life and light with her uplifting number “Release the heart.” So much so that I’m dying to know what she’s singing about. The enticing introduction is exactly the right length to get me hooked before she launches into her lovely chorus. The song is somewhat flat — I’d like a few more hills — but the live performance will no doubt add texture and shape. Bonus: The Caribbean rhythm and sounds of the bridge take me away!
Robyn: Hey, this is good! Besa is an endearing performer with an enjoyable modern pop song. This could do good things for Albania. It’s not perfect, but this is easily my favourite of the FiK candidates.
Antranig: Personally, it is my second or third favourite but I’m already expecting Besa to be crowned the winner of Festivali i Këngës. This has everything Albania needs to get to the Eurovision Grand Final.