On Sunday afternoon, Albania’s Eurovision 2020 singer Arilena Ara didn’t exactly “Fall from the Sky”. But she did rise above Tirana inside a giant white birdcage.
Arilena, who won the most recent edition of Festivali i Këngës, did so as part of E diela shqiptare (Albanian Sunday) — a weekly six-hour talk show hosted by Albanian music legend and former FiK winner Ardit Gjebrea. You can watch the performance from 5:57 — yes, five hours and fifty-seven minutes — in the video below.
Arilena, who never misses a chance to create a fashion moment, makes the most of her cage — slipping into a black leather body suit with floor-sweeping cape. Her spaghetti strap top shows off her stunning décolletage, while her strong, feathered shoulders convey 80s businesswoman realness, crossed with the theatrics of Cersei Lannister.
The fabric of her cape billows in the wind to convey something ethereal and light. But the colour black and her pained tones convey the unsettled nature of a song about a woman gripped in battle. Fashion really can tell a story.
Arilena Ara: Birdcage performance on E diela shqiptare
As we all know, Albanian broadcaster RTSH recently confirmed its Eurovision 2021 participation and said that Festivali i Këngës would once again serve as the national final as long as the festival can go ahead in these difficult times defined by coronavirus.
But what if the festival can’t happen? It’s not yet clear how the artist will be chosen. Is it possible that Arilena might get her chance at ESC if FiK doesn’t happen?
Prior to the performance, host Ardit — who famously wrote Juliana Pasha’s “It’s All About You” — asked Arilena if she’d be participating in Eurovision. Her response was somewhat beguiling: “Eurovision 2021 will happen with me or without me.”
While this is definitely a statement of fact, it raises more questions than it answers.
Arilena’s birdcage will be familiar to anyone who watched her official music video for her Eurovision entry.
In the song, she sings as a woman that’s trapped in a seemingly abusive relationship — at least emotionally. The other party — it could be a lover, maybe a relative or even a supposed friend — has planted seeds of doubt in her mind. And instead of being her true self, she’s being held back. Her wings are clipped.
“Fall from the sky / Always making me hold back my wings / When I’m destined to fly” she sings. In this section of the music video, Arilena is found in the same human-size birdcage, imprisoning her.
In these scenes Arilena brings a strong, wild anger. She’s wearing a white moto jacket and her hair is big and curly — and there’s a sense that she’s fed up and ain’t gonna take it much longer. While she is imprisoned in a cage, her emotions can’t be contained.
Did you enjoy Arilena’s journey in the sky? Do you think she could be the FiK back-up artist? Let us know down below!