Albania – Jonida Maliqi

The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — continues to rate and review the 41 competing entries of Eurovision 2019. Next we take a look at Albania, where Jonida Maliqi has the powerful ballad “Ktheju tokës”. Did we hear her message? Read on to find out!

Jonida Maliqi – “Ktheju tokës”

“Ktheju tokës” reviews

Antony: This would have to be one of the most authentic songs in the contest this year. So rich and organic, Jonida’s powerful vocals cut through with passion and emotion. It’s a meaningful song as an ode to the Albanian diaspora — but it can be appreciated by anyone. “Ktheju tokës” is song that would touch the hearts of many people and giving them hope and strength that they are not alone in this world.

Score: 6.5/10

Angus: “Ktheju tokës” is almost everything you want from a Balkan ballad: mysterious, alluring, enticingly ethnic and dripping with emotions. The caveat is there because there is one thing the song lacks: a memorable hook. For all the darkness, intensity and undeniable vocal firepower – due credit to Jonida here – the song fails to land the hook in your brain. The revamp has done the track the world of good, but the song feels in need of a hook to latch on in your mind. Performance carried Albania across the line last year and Tirana will need to turn to compelling staging, or more likely killer live vocal might carry this across the line.

Score: 6/10

Anthony: “Ktheju tokës” has been given an ethnic makeover and less of the power ballad we saw back in December. Only time will tell if Albania can build on the success of “Mall” or come crashing out with a reality check.

Score: 7.5/10

Deban: Jonida’s call to the motherland is a painful lamentation. Although its focus is on the exodus of the Albanian diaspora, the message here touches many Balkan immigrants in Europe and beyond. Although, the scope of her wailing stretches beyond three minutes, the revamp cleverly frames “Ktheju tokës” along folk-pop margins. This is an excellent entry with a major drawback — it is difficult to fully appreciate it on the first listen.

Score: 6.5/10

Florian: The strength of Jonida Maliqi comes with her live performance. While the studio version didn’t exactly catch me at first listen, the emotions come across much stronger with the live performance. I appreciate the fact that they’ve kept it in Albanian language, too. While some of Albania’s past ballads weren’t as memorable, this is a decent effort that includes traditional elements while still sounding somewhat contemporary.

Score: 5/10

Robyn: “Ktheju tokës” has a very specific audience, aimed at Albanian emigrants. It might seem like the song risks shutting off anyone outside that demographic, but the strength and emotion of the song is far reaching. The driving percussion (with echos of Phil Spector’s iconic “wall of sound” production style) and urgent horns transcend nationalities, and Jonida delivers the message with heart. There’s no doubt “Ktheju tokës” will make an impact.

Score: 7.5/10

In the Wiwi Jury we have 29 jurors but only have room for six reviews. The remaining scores are below:

Antranig: 9.5/10

Barnabas: 9.5/10

Bernardo: 6.5/10

Calvin: 8/10

Chris: 7.5/10

Essi: 5/10

Izhar: 8.5/10

Jack: 10/10

Jonathan: 7/10

Josh: 9/10

Julian: 8/10

Kristin: 5.5/10

Lucy: 3/10

Luis: 8.5/10

Lukas: 6/10

Mikhail: 7.5/10

Oliver: 9/10

Pablo: 6/10

Renske: 8/10

Ron: 7.5/10

Sebastian: 7/10

Tobias: 2/10

William: 8/10

We have removed the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. This is to remove outliers and potential bias. We have removed a low of 2 and a high of 10.

Wiwi Jury verdict: 7.17/10

What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!

See all our Eurovision 2019 reviews and rankings

61 Comments
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Anita
Anita
1 year ago

I am interested to know why Padraig isn’t participating in the scoring this year.

Anita
Anita
1 year ago

Thanks for your answer. A sabbatical 😉 ?
I was so used to listening to his experienced reviews in the videos and appreciated them.

Enal
Enal
1 year ago

The average is 7.08, not 7.06.
Fix the mistake!

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago
Reply to  Enal

Say “please”.

Enal
Enal
1 year ago
Reply to  Purple Mask

Yea I forgot that part, thnx.
But in the end, it’s not my mistake. It is theirs. With or without “please” they should fix it.

Enal
Enal
1 year ago

And mistakes are unacceptable and make things worse and slower!

Jo.
Jo.
1 year ago

just saw the video of her performance in Madrid.
pure slayage, no surprises.

Rimig
Rimig
1 year ago

I believe you could use your right hand for something more useful than for writing bad-taste comments

BROBBZ
BROBBZ
1 year ago

I’ve really been trying to like it, and I’ve listened to it many times, but I can’t seem to like it.

allex
allex
1 year ago

I’m wheezing, what the hell?

Alessio
Alessio
1 year ago

Lucy: 3/10
Tobias: 2/10

hahahahahah vfc from italy

Colin
Colin
1 year ago
Reply to  Alessio

Tobias rated most songs quite low this year.

ESC Tan
ESC Tan
1 year ago

I think the accurate average score is 7.16, not a big deal though. This song deserves a place in the final and I hope in a good staging.

ESC Tan
ESC Tan
1 year ago

Thank you for having time and updating it. You’re doing a great job with all the posts Robyn. Keep on going!

Enal
Enal
1 year ago

Albania together with the Netherlands are the only ones who I see winning this competition!
Wait and you’ll see!
Only time will tell!

Ioa Ioa
Ioa Ioa
1 year ago
Reply to  Enal

Albania deserves a good result, but they will barely qualify (or not). Winning? Not even a chance.

Enal
Enal
1 year ago
Reply to  Ioa Ioa

I think after the first rehearsal she’s gonna blow up on the bookies!
The song has it all!
It’s a rare epic track which you can’t find easily nowadays.
And Jonida MALIQI slaying those vocals. Huneyyy you better prepare yourself for a big surprise!

cheska
cheska
1 year ago

i really do hope albania will go all out on staging. this is the best chance they’ve ever had in actually winning the whole damn thing.

go jonida!

Héctor
Héctor
1 year ago

Arguably one the best female power ballads this year after Greece. Dated FiK has managed to pick two good song two years in a row. “Kthej Tokes” is a bit of a vocal show off, which I don’t usually like, but the dark feeling and the ethnic sound adds some flavour and interest to it. During the last third of the song, it gets a bit repetitive, but I wouldn’t worry about that if the live performance is able to grab the viewers’ attention. They have the vocals, they need the staging (hopefully it will be very different to FiK… Read more »

Maruv
1 year ago

Jonida deserves more.

Kredential
Kredential
1 year ago

This will surprise. Albania is often overlooked by the fandom so you know when they are in the mix it’s not for no reason. The staging needs to bring this to light however to assist with conveying the message.

alex
alex
1 year ago

If she nails the staging AND doesn’t wear something hideous she has a chance for final. My fear is the staging will be soo boring and she will wear something ridiculous like a poorly executed gold eagle dress . No more crappy Albanian designers worn by like Aurela, kejsi, Rona, lindita. Those were horrible and not tasteful. Praying she just picks some beautiful couture Gown from the runway. Looking forward to see the staging, hopefully it has a WOW factor.

Jo.
Jo.
1 year ago
Reply to  alex

From what I’ve seen, the staging will get references from the music video .

Jo.
Jo.
1 year ago

Class and beauty.
8/10
One of the best songs of the year.

ESC LOU
ESC LOU
1 year ago

Love this entry, it was my favourite in the Albanian NF. I have nothing bad at all to say about this entry and I think it has a very good chance of qualifying! 7.5/10

oli
oli
1 year ago

Great song and singer. I don’t always like Albanian entries, but I do apreciate that they always bring something unique and very charasteristic of their culture. Albania is always quality

Alican
Alican
1 year ago

I’m happy with this score.
Ktheju tokes is my number 6 this year.
My score – 9/10. Would be voting for it this year.

Shanfa Chai
Shanfa Chai
1 year ago

My second favorite entry of this year’s Eurovision!

Polegend Godgarina
1 year ago

an amazing song that creates a peculiar atmosphere, by a capable performer. surefire finalisté.

Kris
Kris
1 year ago

This is definitely amongst the best ethno entries this year. Though i don’t understand the language I can tell that she has a deep personal message in the song and not just vocal theatrics. I can definitely see jurijus appreciate this , not sure about the televote yet.
A 6.5/10. The bad running order reduces a point , but the fact that this does stand out being the only native language song would help it . Half a point added. A 60% chance to qualify I’d reckon .

Rimig
Rimig
1 year ago
Reply to  Kris

Not sure how much Jurijus will appreciate it, actually. Lol

Kris
Kris
1 year ago
Reply to  Rimig

Lol , I meant juries .

Rimig
Rimig
1 year ago

.

Colin
Colin
1 year ago

ALBANIA – Haunting and mysterious, Ktheju tokes is pulling me in with it’s message and strength. It’s a song about immigrants, but could apply to anyone whose path has derailed them from their home. It’s dark and unnerving, while remaining calming and inviting. Jonida is a powerhouse vocalist and she seemingly effortlessly blends all those sentiments in. It’s so authentically Albanian, yet it also has a Mid Eastern vibe in it. I can sense desert sands and winds in the atmosphere. This is a really powerful song with a strong identity. One of my absolute favorites this year. – 9.5/10… Read more »

Rimig
Rimig
1 year ago

This song is captivating, and Jonida is a great part of it. She sings passionately and transmits that passion to the listeners. The music also helps creating a sort of dark but epic atmosphere. The main problem is that, when listening to it a few times, it becomes a bit monotone as the song relies mainly on that. However, since most ESC viewers will hear/see it for the first time in May, I am expecting this to qualify.
In my personal list, Albania reached my top 20, standing at spot number 18, with a score of 6.0/10

Ton
Ton
1 year ago

She has gone from 42nd in the bookies to 24th. Only growing and highly likely she will pull a suprise

Roelof Meesters
Roelof Meesters
1 year ago

Yeah this is the best Albanian entry after Suus and Mall. And that is quite something because I also love their entries from 2008, 09, 10 and 2015. 9/10 and I love Jonida’s personality.

Sabrina
Sabrina
1 year ago

My comment got filtered (so far it only happened with entries that I love, the others being Portugal and Poland). So I’m here asking one more time for the help of the moderation team! Spoiler: 9/10.

Sabrina
Sabrina
1 year ago

This song was my first crush on this Eurovision season and I’m still very much into it. The instrumental is wonderful and has the power to instantly transport me to a different place and age. After the revamp, it got cleaner and even better. The message may be dedicated to Albanians, but the sentiment behind the lyrics is universal and Jonida already proved she can perfectly convey them with her great vocals. If well staged (in FiK, the costume and the background were very distractive) , this can become everything “Oniro mou” could have been last year. 9/10

Alex
Alex
1 year ago

For me this is definitely my favourite non-english song from 2019 and I hope it will end up on the left side of the scoreboard.

Tibor
Tibor
1 year ago

I like Jonida Maliqi’s singing, I like the instrumentation of the verses with their accentuated, rough percussion-oriented structure, they are among my favourites this year. What lets this song down for me is the chorus with the long notes, the flutes and the overall rather flat instrumentation. The build-up made me hope for something much edgier with more texture. But Eurovision isn’t here to grant me wishes. The other problem I have with “Ktheju tokës” are the lyrics keeping in mind, that I have to rely on the accuracy of the translation. There’s this rather disturbing line that states that… Read more »

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago
Reply to  Tibor

Thanks Tibor. That’s a very interesting take on this song. I know what you mean about the Chorus instrumentation being flute-heavy, but personally I really like that – it gives the song a strong and unique musical identity.
About the lyrics debate, I should point out that this is one of the few entries this year for which there has been an interview with the songwriter about the meaning of the song. See here: http://opusalb.com/exclusive-interview-with-eriona-rushiti-for-albanias-song-at-eurovision-song-contest/

Tibor
Tibor
1 year ago
Reply to  Purple Mask

Haha, at least it’s not pan flutes, right? But seriously, I’m not so much minding the flutes per se, but the combination with the other things I mentioned. The verses are so gritty and textured and then the chorus in comparison is so … I wanna say common, it feels anticlimactic to me. As for he lyrics: Thanks for the link, but she doesn’t really adress my concerns in the interview. I get the overall gist of the lyrics, but “identity” is just such a strong concept used so thoughtlessly these days that this line really bothers me. Vanilla Bean… Read more »

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago
Reply to  Tibor

Note: I replied to this, but my comment is “awaiting moderation”.

Elsa
Elsa
1 year ago
Reply to  Tibor

Excellent review!

Tibor
Tibor
1 year ago
Reply to  Tibor

PM, I’ll look out for it.
Elsa, thank you.
Bean, I wouldn’t go as far as to call it a dog whistle, referencing identity like this is more like a thoughtless cliché. 🙂

Tibor
Tibor
1 year ago
Reply to  Tibor

Hey, Enal, thank you for liking my review. I’m not 100% sure if get what you’re trying to tell me, but I can assure you, I’m not trying to judge anybody. I just think that identity is referenced in a problematic way in these lyrics – if the English translation is correct. If it isn’t, I’d be sincerely interested in what I misunderstood.
And since I’m already here: I’m also still interested in PM’s reply and Sabrina’s review. 🙂

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago

This song is an outpouring of musical tears that very slowly gets more dramatic and powerful as it goes on. But, because it is only one idea, it’s easy to understand why some listeners might get bored very quickly. The strongest elements of this entry are in its execution. Jonida probably has the most reliable live vocal of the season, and 100% believes in every word of this song. Add to that: The orchestral backing track, with its vocal effects and driving drum beats, is probably my favourite of this year. Overall, this entry might do very well if it… Read more »

Vrede
Vrede
1 year ago

I love Albania in Eurovision and this year, they don’t disappoint. The song is mysterious, alluring and dramatic. Jonida really adds to the song, with her conviction and personality she surely will attract more votes.
We will hear this song on Saturday. And it might just end up at the left side of the scoring board. I certainly hope so.

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
1 year ago

I didn’t think this was the right choice in a strong FiK this year. Jonida, despite not doing the best of jobs in the pre-parties, is better than the song itself. For me, there is no apparent build in the song. It reveals its full hand at about the one minute mark and just repeats this. When she’s performing it, Jonida does seem to get a little bored of the song herself.
I know fans want this to qualify but honestly, Albania have recently missed out on the final with much better songs than this.

Anna
Anna
1 year ago
Reply to  Briekimchi

How exactly is she not doing the best of jobs in the pre-parties? I think all her performances have been vocally on point, despite the ongoing technical issues of the pre-parties. And I respectfully disagree with you regarding Fik. The only alternative to Jonida, would have been Mirud, but Jonida’s song is more accessible, so it was the obvious choice.

NickC
NickC
1 year ago

fanwank of the year.

Loin dici
Loin dici
1 year ago
Reply to  NickC

There are several other countries deserving to be called fanwank. Albania is not one of them.

NickC
NickC
1 year ago
Reply to  Loin dici

We will see. I predict this will certainly stay in the semi.

Jo.
Jo.
1 year ago
Reply to  NickC

That’s Malta.

NickC
NickC
1 year ago
Reply to  NickC

Great to see so much respect for diverse opinions! This is exactly what I encountered with Greece last year. You guys were so sure about it.

Dario
Dario
1 year ago

She is the best