It might only be June 2019, but when it comes to Eurovision the decade has already ended. What a glorious ten years it’s been! And Albania has been there for every single one of them.
With a 50% qualification rate, it’s safe to say that the country has had its fair share of highs and lows. But which of its entries did best and which did worst? Wonder no more as we’ve compiled a definitive ranking of Albania’s Eurovision entries in the 2010s.
For the purposes of this ranking, we’re going off the percentage of maximum possible points which each entry received at Eurovision.
For example, a finalist in 2019 could only receive a maximum of 960 points i.e. 24 points from each of the other 40 countries voting. If an act finished with 200 points, they would have received 20.83% of the points available to them.
This is not to be confused with the percentage of all votes cast.
10. Eneda Tarifa “Fairytale” (2016)
Result: 16th in semi-final with 45 points — 9.38% of maximum possible points
Eneda Terifa won the 30-song Festivali i Këngës 54 with the dramatic ballad “Përrallë”. But by the time the contest rolled around, the song had been switched into the English-language “Fairytale”. Alas, Eneda’s golden statuette aesthetic failed to stand out in a semi that included iconic performances from Ukraine’s Jamala and Australia’s Dami Im. The entry missed the final, with only Denmark’s Lighthouse X and Switzerland’s Rykka finishing lower.
9. Hersi “One Night’s Anger” (2014)
Result: 15th in semi-final with 22 points — 10.19% of maximum possible points
Festivali i Këngës 52 was a relatively slimmed down affair with just 16 competing entries. From this, Hersi Matmuja emerged victorious with “Zemërimi i një nate”. For the first time since 2011, Albania revamped the entry into English. The end product — “One Night’s Anger” — differed significantly from the original, sparking many fan complaints. In Copenhagen, the entry finished second-to-last in its semi, just ahead of Moldova’s Cristina Scarlat.
8. Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko “Identitet” (2013)
Result: 15th in semi-final with 31 points — 13.60% of maximum possible points
Hersi also competed in FiK one year previously, finishing third ahead of 2009’s Kejsi Tola in fourth and behind 2004’s Anjeza Shahini in second. However, the victors were rockers Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko — the first and, to date, only duo to represent Albania at Eurovision. Despite boasting a guitar that shot pyro, “Identitet” came 15th in its semi. This was the only entirely Albanian-language song which failed to qualify this decade.
7. Lindita “World” (2017)
Result: 14th in semi-final with 76 points — 15.83% of maximum possible points
She won FiK with “Botë” but, like so many before her, Lindita Halimi also switched to English for Eurovision. “World” gave the former American Idol contestant ample opportunity to showboat — she held one note for close to 20 seconds. But the steampunk staging and the futuristic bridal outfit were not enough to take the entry to the final. This would be the last time Albania sent an English-language song in the 2010s.
6. Aurela Gaçe “Feel The Passion” (2011)
Result: 14th in semi-final with 47 points — 19.58% of maximum possible points
Unlike most of her fellow FiK winners, Aurela Gaçe didn’t completely abandon her native tongue when she translated “Kënga ime” to English. “Feel The Passion” kept a few lines in Albanian. Sadly, Europe didn’t latch onto the bilingual rock number, leaving it to linger at 14th in its semi.
5. Elhaida Dani “I’m Alive” (2015)
Result: 17th in the grand final with 34 points — 7.26% of maximum possible points
The hype was real in late 2014 when it transpired that the Voice of Italy winner Elhaida Dani was to compete in FiK. And sure enough, she went and won the festival with “Diell”. However, the winning song never made it to Eurovision. After a dispute between the songwriter and the broadcaster, a new track was sourced for Elhaida — “I’m Alive”. The local buzz didn’t quite transfer to the international audience and Elhaida placed 17th in Vienna. But, “I’m Alive” would have finished eighth in the final had it been down to televoters.
4. Jonida Maliqi “Ktheju tokës” (2019)
Result: 17th in the grand final with 90 points — 9.38% of maximum possible points
Jonida Maliqi had entered FiK on multiple occasions from the 1990s onwards, including five times since the festival became Albania’s national selection — 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. And after multiple near misses, Jonida finally got the opportunity to represent her country in 2019. “Ktheju tokës” dealt with the topic of Albanian emigration and called out to the country’s diaspora across the world. Jonida was rewarded for her perseverance with a place in the final, ensuring Albania ended the decade on a high.
3. Juliana Pasha “It’s All About You” (2010)
Result: 16th in the grand final with 62 points — 13.60% of maximum possible points
The country welcomed the new decade with a bang too. Fresh off two consecutive grand final outings in 2008 and 2009, Juliana Pasha kept Albania’s qualification streak going in 2010. Of course, “It’s All About You” was originally in Albanian when it won FiK as “Nuk mundem pa ty”. Interestingly, no other translated FiK winners made the grand final in the 2010s.
2. Eugent Bushpepa “Mall” (2018)
Result: 11th in the grand final with 184 points — 18.25% of maximum possible points
For just the second time in the decade, Albania opted to send a male act in 2018. And the break from the norm proved to be a canny move. Eugent Bushpepa secured the nation its best result for years. “Mall” just missed out on the top ten in the grand final, although it came seventh with the juries.
1. Rona Nishliu “Suus” (2012)
Result: 5th in the grand final with 146 points — 29.67% of maximum possible points
Rona Nishliu is the undisputed Albanian queen of Eurovision. “Suus” is the only one of the country’s entries to achieve a podium finish in a semi-final — coming second behind Russia’s Buranovskiye Babushki. The entry continued to scale dizzy heights in the grand final, ultimately reaching fifth place — Albania’s best ever result.
Do you agree with the list? What are your rankings? Which is your favourite Albanian entry of the 2010s? Let us know in the comments.