In her Junior Eurovision 2016 track she asks us to believe.
And on Monday Albania’s Klesta Qehaja gave us plenty of reason to believe in her, as she unveiled a lighter, more ethereal version of her JESC track “Besoj”.
The song, which now features English lyrics in the first verse, seems less shrill than the original version. And while it may be quieter and smoother, it still offers plenty of drama and is big enough to let young Klesta stretch our her enormous voice. This, children, is how you do a revamp.
When the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — reviewed the first version of the song, our jurors could not stop applauding young Klesta. As one juror wrote:
Klesta is in charge of her voice and “Besoj” lets her show off her talents to maximum effect. She starts with a gentle, in-control introduction, before erupting like a Junior Rona Nishliu (though with better hair). “Besoj” is full of emotion, melancholic but with strength at its heart.
Out main concern, voiced in our written and video review, was that Klesta’s performance and song just seemed a tad too grown up — and the screecher of a chorus a tad repetitive.
It seems that Albania’s JESC team agreed, as they have altered the instrumentation and production, making this much more kid-friendly. There’s more finesse and a softer finish.
That transforms Klesta from a preternatural (and somewhat intimidating) talent into an adorable songstress with an important message. It also helps the song move from dramatic power ballad that might be played at a gothic cathedral ahead of the Apocalypse to an inspiring and relatable song that wouldn’t sound out of place in an animated fairy tale.
The staging of the video is absolutely magical, showing a red-clad Klesta walking through a city made of cardboard. The sound of the xylophone and bells smack of the nursery, while her voice remains heroic with shades of Rona Nishliu.
If they can recreate this wonder on stage in Malta, Klesta stands a very good chance of improving on Albania’s fifth place finish from last year.
Read more Junior Eurovision 2016 news