From Tirana to Los Angeles. Festivali i Këngës 58 winner and Albania’s Eurovision 2020 representative Arilena Ara has headed over to the USA to work on her power-ballad “Shaj”.

According to a local showbiz website, she’s working on a radio-friendly pop ballad with two Grammy-winning producers.

Albania Eurovision 2020 revamp

A radio-friendly pop ballad

Albanian news site News 31 has given us some clues of what’s to come.

The ballad will be sung in English on the Eurovision stage. Two Grammy Award-winning producers are working on the song’s release at the festival. The English version of “Shaj” has been worked on and re-recorded at one of the world’s largest music studios, where artists such as Michael Jackson have given life to their projects.

At Eurovision, we will hear a more radio ballad with pop trends, normally staying true to Shaji’s Albanian identity. In short, Arilena is expected to surprise us at the giant festival scene.

English-language

There was already a hint that she was planning to take a English-language version to Rotterdam, as opposed to the Albanian one, when we spoke to her in December.

During the festival, she said that the song originally came to her in English. We asked her if she could remember the English lyrics that ultimately inspired the tune.

After a pause, she sang: “Broken, broken, broken with love…”

Back in January, she posted some captionless photos from her time in the studio in Los Angeles. These left us begging for details.

View this post on Instagram

?????

A post shared by Arilena Ara (@arilenaaraa) on

We possibly have much to look forward to. A poppier sound certainly makes a departure from consecutive qualifiers “Mall” by Eugent Bushpepa, and “Ktheju Tokës” by Jonida Maliqi.

Albania has a rich history of revamping its songs ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest. Sometimes it works, but sometimes it really doesn’t.

Nonetheless, this shows a risk by the broadcaster. This may also indicate a willingness to try to go for gold.

We can’t wait to see what’s in store.

Are you excited to hear the Albanian revamp? Do you predict success? Let us know in the comments.

Follow all of our Albania Eurovision 2020 news.

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Lori
Lori
4 months ago

Oh no. Please don’t translate to English. It’s currently in my top 3. Balkan languages are so beautiful to listen to. If it will be in English it will be just meh for me 🙁

Alllll
Alllll
4 months ago

Albania is the best but I don’t think that the winner will be Arilena Ara but also we hope that she is going to win.Elvana Gjata was more liked from the people and if she would be in Eurovision this year with the song ‘Me tana’,she would be definitely the winner of the Eurovision.

beccaboo1212
4 months ago

Meanwhile, when is Montaigne (Australia’s entrant) filming a music video for “Don’t Break Me”?

Ashton Schier
Ashton Schier
4 months ago
Reply to  beccaboo1212

she said on her podcast that they are thinking of ideas for the music video and will be filming soon 🙂

DALTH
DALTH
5 months ago

Gotta love a revamp it seems to be Albania’s thing, it is probably for the best. Personally I do like the song but I think it would struggle in the televote in it’s current form particularly in the west so why not spruce it up a bit.

ESCFan2009
ESCFan2009
5 months ago

Amazing! Can’t wait to hear the result <3

BleuKnaveXD236
BleuKnaveXD236
5 months ago

Hmmm… I’ll stay optimistic about the revamp to English since they’ve said it was originally in English. I’d prefer it stay in Albanian or at least maybe bilingual as I love the Albanian language. But this is one reason why I haven’t been listening to “Shaj” on a heavy rotation yet as I knew a revamp was incoming so no need to get used to the original version than compare it with the revamp. “Shaj” wasn’t my winner and I’m not a huge fan of ballads(they’re very hit and miss with me) but it’s not a bad song at all.… Read more »

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
5 months ago
Reply to  BleuKnaveXD236

Yeah, I also did the same thing not listening to Shaj a lot because I don’t want to get used to it and have a bias against the English language version. We’ll have to see if it’s a good revamp or another disaster.

Talentina Monetta
Talentina Monetta
5 months ago

I hope they keep the part following the bridge when the strings come in because it’s stunning

Yes
Yes
5 months ago

So i won’t get to sing “Pëshen që nuk ke mbaj döt” at the semi? 🙁
I strongly believe Arilena would qualify with the albanian version, lets see how they revamp ir

CookyMonzta
CookyMonzta
5 months ago

Here we go again! 🙁

Haven’t they learned their lesson yet? With the exception of 2015 (because it was a good song with a good music video, to replace a song many thought would fail), every time they went English, they flopped hard.

TheSneakyHider
TheSneakyHider
5 months ago
Reply to  CookyMonzta

I feel more confident about this one ’cause the lyrics were originally written in English.

CookyMonzta
CookyMonzta
5 months ago
Reply to  TheSneakyHider

I didn’t know that.
Let’s see if it works. If not, I probably won’t be surprised.

Ben R
Ben R
5 months ago
Reply to  CookyMonzta

Not true. On Albania’s first attempt (2004), Anjeza Shahini got a top 10 result (7th place) and she sang in English. Also, Kejsi Tola and Juliana Pasha (2009 and 2010, respectively) both sang in English and did pretty well.

Tommy
Tommy
5 months ago
Reply to  CookyMonzta

LISTEN! I’m tierd! Of hearing everyone have a problem with Albania sending songs in English, it’s not a big deal when other countries send English songs so why can’t Albania! There is always a first time for something.

Ashton Schier
Ashton Schier
5 months ago
Reply to  Tommy

because, Tommy, Albania has a horrible track record with changing Albanian entries to English. Fairytale, World, One Night’s Anger, et cetera.

IVANOV
IVANOV
5 months ago
Reply to  Tommy

All albanian singers have an awful english accent to hear

Typhlosion123
Typhlosion123
5 months ago
Reply to  IVANOV

Arilena lives in America tho

Alba
Alba
5 months ago

I still see Albania ending in the 15th -17th place in the final ,if placed,per usual. I hope to be proven wrong .

Jai
Jai
5 months ago
Reply to  Alba

I don’t think they will qualify with an English song

Apple
Apple
5 months ago
Reply to  Jai

Glad to know you forgot Elhaida Dani lmao delusional

Alba
Alba
5 months ago
Reply to  Apple

I was only referring to most common placement . Nothing delusional about that.

Sabrina
Sabrina
5 months ago

We can just hope for the English lyrics being at least as good as the Albanian. I also hope that shey share the same meaning. But as Colin pointed, what makes me more reticent is turning it into a “radiofriendly pop ballad”, since “Shaj” is a power ballad with traditional orchestration and by doing that the entry may lose a lot of character.

Kris
Kris
5 months ago
Reply to  Sabrina

Lol , writing a comment saying something is making you reticent is an oxymoron no ?

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
5 months ago

I figured that the song was going to be presented in English (Or rather, revert back to English— That was the original language of the song), So I really haven’t played Shaj Over and over because I didn’t want to get too used to it and compare it to the English version and think it’s inferior. We’ll have to see if this new version is any good, Or a possible qualifier (Good thing Albania is not in the bloodbath semifinal).

acp
acp
5 months ago

I liked the 2017 revamp. The English lyrics were great and the instrumental didn’t change much from the original. If they didn’t revamp it the result wouldn’t be much different. I have high hopes for ‘Shaj’, I don’t think is going to disappoint.

Nicolas
Nicolas
5 months ago

The best revamp would be called ‘Me Tana’

Ashton Schier
Ashton Schier
5 months ago
Reply to  Nicolas

boi u ain’t wrong

Jo.
Jo.
5 months ago

Oh boy it’s coming… 😀

Kredential
Kredential
5 months ago

Usually I would be somewhat skeptical about a revamp. However, they have said several times that the song was created in English so I don’t believe this will be a case of merely translating the song and trying to modernise it. I think they will build on the initial vision they created with the song and rework it and this gives me some hope.

Matthew ESC
Matthew ESC
5 months ago

Im a huge fan of “Shaj” it could possibly be my #1 song of 2020 if they kept it the same. I still have high hopes for the revamp, as for me the sound is usually what matters and not the lyrics/language (unless the english lyrics are very bad) . Ofc we are all a bit worried since Albania’s recent non qualifications were songs translated into english, but i have a feeling this revamp could actually improve the song and make it more accessible for europe. Aslong as Albania gets a good result in eurovision im happy #TeamArilena

Safiya
Safiya
5 months ago

I hate it when they try to brag about who they are working with. I don’t care who the producers are, I only care about the final outcome. I really like “Shaj” and I wish it could stay the way it is now.

Alex
Alex
5 months ago

Just gonna remind how well Albania did with televote in 2015 in the final (SF did so so). It made the Top 6 in Belgium, Sweden, Germany or Austria. Diaspora probably helped but still. Never underestime Albania

acp
acp
5 months ago
Reply to  Alex

I will never understand how the juries ranked Albania last place in 2015. Glad that the public responded to it though.

Timi
Timi
5 months ago

I trust her. I’m so in love with “Shaj”, I can’t describe it, and I think she knows what it’s best for her song. I hope this revamp don’t hurt the charm that the original has.

pp77
pp77
5 months ago

Albania many time ruined their good song with revamp and english lyricks.

Mr X
Mr X
5 months ago
Reply to  pp77

It seems that they didn´t learn and should better look at the two last years when Albania sang in native language.

Denis
Denis
5 months ago

Keeping the song in Albanian hasn’t always worked either though. Besides from what I get it was originally meant to be in English before she changed it.

Esc1234
Esc1234
5 months ago

Ain’t no revamp can do justice for what happened in that national final. So sorry that Albanians that seemed for the first time excited about an entry, won’t have the chance to cheer their biggest pop star because Vera had others plans.

James
James
5 months ago

Well there goes “Shaj”. Hopefully the actual final version can at least sound as good lyrically by than last year’s “Scream” which ironically was co-written by a native English speaker.

Veta
Veta
5 months ago

I just hope she will keep the violin (or even makes it appear more times during the song) – the best part about the song. I don’t mind at all changing whatever she wants in the rest of the song, but that’s the only thing I hope for.

Frisian esc
Frisian esc
5 months ago

People acting all surprised but she has stated that she wants to sing in English from the beginning. The English version is even the original version and the albanian lyrics were written for festival i kenges. Can’t compare it to some of the more recent disasters like fairytale.

Polegend Godgarina
5 months ago

i have to laugh. go english if your song has commercial appeal. this ain’t the case for “shaj”… so keep it in albanian for the charm.

NickC
NickC
5 months ago

I am scared, just like many others, but also try to focus on the words grammy winning to remain optimistic.

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
5 months ago

I want to remain positive but literally, how has Albania come to the conclusion that this is a good idea? They don’t remember 2016 and 2017? This is LITERALLY what they did to kill both of those really good FiK songs.

Berk
Berk
5 months ago

i dont care english or albanian. And I guess the revamp will be better for sure. I dont understand why everyone thinks its bad idea… the song is nothing special right now. And I’m sure it will surprise us and will be something great. And Arilena deserves it regardless of corrupted national final.

Alex
Alex
5 months ago
Reply to  Berk

Tbh Arilena deserves another song. Shaj is above their level and the last two albanian entries

Guilbert
Guilbert
5 months ago

I don’t know with her & her managers but for me I always love Albanian songs sang in their own tongue. When I heard Eugent sang & won, I did not understand a single word at first but I knew it spoke to my heart. Same thing with Jonida. Arilena’s song is beautiful and doesn’t need revamping. People heard it and it won in the original language, Why the need to sing it in English? Just polish it if there’s such a need. Staging matters a lot of course. My two cents.

Paul
Paul
5 months ago

You can’t polish a turd

beccaboo1212
5 months ago

Although I love the Albanian language, an English revamp appeared to be a brave choice. #ArilenaForSaturday

Joe
Joe
5 months ago

Look…I can think of at least three times where translating the song into English didn’t screw Albania up. Here’s hoping this is number four. I’m optimistic.

Skiwalko
Skiwalko
5 months ago
Reply to  Joe

The other question is whether the revamps or the songs themselves were the issue. Lindita and Eneda got pipes, but let’s be fair, their songs weren’t that memorable even before the revamp, not to mention “Feel The Passion” or “One Night’s Anger”. “Mall” and “Ktheju tokes” are excellent tracks, and there’s a good chance they’d have qualified even if they had been translated to English. Keeping the song in Albanian is not a guarantee of success either (I’m looking at you, “Identitet”).

James
James
5 months ago
Reply to  Skiwalko

In this case, Shaj was allegedly first conceived in English, which was the case for Böte/World.

Kredential
Kredential
5 months ago
Reply to  James

World wasn’t even a bad song. What it did have was terrible staging and a terrible position in the running order as it was too close to Georgia, which ended up outshining it.

Joe
Joe
5 months ago
Reply to  Joe

The fact that it was initially in English also gives me hope.

Héctor
Héctor
5 months ago

This has never worked for Albania but who knows. I didn’t like the song itself so making it more poppier could make it more appealing though also more generic. They should have sticked with what has been working for them the last couple of years.

I hate to say this but… I told you that in a couple of weeks Spain will be ahead of Albania amid all of the hate. This is the first step.

Mert
Mert
5 months ago
Reply to  Héctor

anjeza &kejsi& juliana says hello

Lulu
5 months ago

They will go all that way to USA for what .just to ruin the whole feel of the song .should have just left it as it was in Albanian final
I just don’t understand them probably will make the final in Rotterdam but will end up below 10 th in final

Skiwalko
Skiwalko
5 months ago

If it ain’t broke… make it “broken, broken with love”.
I know that “Shaj” was originally in English, but I have a bad feeling about this ’cause it just seems like they want to make the song more generic and uninteresting. Take the strings and Albanian language away and you wind up with a song like any other.

Mr Vanilla Bean
Mr Vanilla Bean
5 months ago
Reply to  Skiwalko

I still hope they thought of something better than ‘broken, broken with love’.

Fefe
Fefe
5 months ago

Best case scenario is something like in 2015 when the English revamp (actually a whole new song) was many times better than the original. Worse case scenario is something like 2016 when the English revamp destroyed the song completely. I really hope this time the revamp goes well.

Mr Vanilla Bean
Mr Vanilla Bean
5 months ago
Reply to  Fefe

There wasn’t much to destroy in 2016, though. The English version just made it even more obvious.

KESC
KESC
5 months ago

Not really. Përrallë was a very good entry, but lost all its power with Fairytale.

Colin
Colin
5 months ago
Reply to  KESC

Sorry, but Përrallë’s lyrics are just as basic as they are in Fairytale. English literally made it only more accessible to most listeners. The orchestration, though, was indeed better in the Albanian version. Had more power.

first row at ESC and JESC
first row at ESC and JESC
5 months ago

we have to wait and watch / listen to the new english version before we dislike something. I will always give Albania a chance. The problem with Albania often was not the song ….it was the staging (same situation in Junior Eurovision)..

poe-tay-toe chips
poe-tay-toe chips
5 months ago

They should go bilingual. Don’t bilingual songs tend to have more success lately?

Ben R
Ben R
5 months ago

Not necessarily. I mean you have bilingual songs that did well, like 1944, J’ai Cherché, Requiem, My Friend, and Love is Forever. But, you also have ones like Utopian Land, Do It For Your Lover, The Dream, and Pali Sie that did poorly.

Ashton Schier
Ashton Schier
5 months ago
Reply to  Ben R

pali sie was robbed tho, while my friend and love is forever didn’t deserve the final

Alex
Alex
5 months ago

Don’t want to sound pessimistic but what is the last time Albania has qualified when the song was translated in English? 2010?

Wayne
Wayne
5 months ago
Reply to  Alex

2015 Elhaida Dani – I’m Alive

Skiwalko
Skiwalko
5 months ago
Reply to  Wayne

“I’m Alive” was in English from the get-go. Elhaida Dani won FIK with “Diell”, but that song was later withdrawn because of “personal reasons”.
(Fun fact: “I’m Alive” and “Shaj” share the same composer, Darko Dimitrov)

euroshqip
euroshqip
5 months ago
Reply to  Skiwalko

Your FACTS are wrong, “I’m Alive’ was written by Albanian composers from Kosovo ZZAP&CHRISS / Lyrics by Lindita. The composer of “Diell” withdraw from participation in ESC thats’ why another song was created.

Skiwalko
Skiwalko
5 months ago
Reply to  euroshqip

From Dimitrov’s Wikipedia page: “In 2015, Dimitrov arranged and produced the entry for Albania in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015, “I’m Alive”, performed by Elhaida Dani.”
You might argue he was a producer and not a composer, but either way he was involved.
From the Wikipedia page on Albania in ESC 2015: “On 23 February 2015, Elhaida Dani issued a statement on social media that “Diell” had been withdrawn by the songwriters due to “personal and irrevocable reasons””.
The songwriter reportedly didn’t want to take responsibility for “something he was not professionally engaged in”.
Lyrics were written by Sokol Marsi.

euroshqip
euroshqip
5 months ago
Reply to  Alex

“I’m alive” was the opposite, was created in English and after they made an Albanian version 😀

Lucky Rotterdam
Lucky Rotterdam
5 months ago

Some songs need translation in English, otherwise she sounds like she screams for 3 minutes because she saw a spider.

Ben R
Ben R
5 months ago

That sometimes works (Crno i Belo)

Ashton Schier
Ashton Schier
5 months ago
Reply to  Ben R

kaliopi = iconic

Nicky91
Nicky91
5 months ago

it was meant for english language first of all, but because of FiK a rule all songs need to be in albanian

euroshqip
euroshqip
5 months ago
Reply to  Nicky91

The DEMO was in English, there’s a big difference of DEMO and a whole song in English, same with “World” of 2017.

Mr Vanilla Bean
Mr Vanilla Bean
5 months ago

Looks like they have some money to spend. But if the English lyrics are bad, l’ll downgrade it.

beccaboo1212
5 months ago

#ArilenaForSaturday

Tomas Davitt
Tomas Davitt
5 months ago

Good call – this needs a revamp to increase its chances of qualifying. I like that they are being proactive about improving their chances

Colin
Colin
5 months ago

Radio friendly pop ballad in English… Unfortunately I’m not optimistic that my NF rating of 8/10 for Shaj will remain after this. There is still a chance it can turn out well, especially since English is apparently it’s original form, but come on – radio friendly song about despair and anger? I have a feeling that the sentiments of hate and despair will be toned down, with only typical sadness remaining. Please Albania, prove me wrong!

beccaboo1212
5 months ago
Reply to  Colin

#ArilenaForSaturday

Ashton Schier
Ashton Schier
5 months ago

oh no no no

beccaboo1212
5 months ago
Reply to  Ashton Schier

#ArilenaForSaturday

Ashton Schier
Ashton Schier
5 months ago
Reply to  beccaboo1212

stop