Like I mentioned in a previous post (Random Thoughts Thursday: Eurovision), I’m going to start reviewing and making my predictions for ESC as countries begin to name their artists and release their songs. While these songs will be performed at Eurovision, countries have some time to revamp the song (mainly to fit it into the 3-minute window) and staging.
In addition to making comments about the current entry, I’ll provide information about the country’s entry from last year’s Eurovision just as a comparison.
FIRST UP: Ronela Hajati – “Sekret”
I will say that I love her voice because I have a preference for female singers that sing in a lower register. Although she seemed a bit nervous at the beginning, I was loving the sass and the attitude with the vocal. Ok, Ronela. I see you with the vocal run at 2:57 – 3:05 (even if it was a bit strained).
I’m kind of on the fence, I love the musical variety (especially with the percussion and ethnic vibes), but I feel like there is TOO much going on in the song. Also, there seems to be a nearly 60-second intro, which is a bit long (IMO) for a 3-minute song. Since so much is going on with the musical arrangement, it was a bit difficult for me to get into on the first listen. I was like ok we’re doing a ballad; oh, now it’s more ethno Albanian; oh, now we’re doing hip hop/dancehall rhythms.
While I do not know any Albanian, I think the song needs more lyrics for the revamp. Maybe after the revamp, there will be a better balance of lyrics and the instrumental. Since the song is about 3:45 right now, they’ll have to shave off about 45 seconds for compliance with the 3-minute rule.
While I liked the troupe of dancers, the orchestra, and backup singers, I doubt we’ll see this many people on the stage. For Eurovision, I think performers can have 4-6 folks on the stage. I do not know if the performance will have the same effect with only Ronela and four to five people on the stage, but I guess that we’ll see.
I’ll give it 3 stars, which means (IMO) that it will qualify to the final round. Actually, I’m on the fence between 3 or 4 stars. After a few listens, I would give it 4 stars, but I’m basing this review on my first viewing.
Albania in last year’s Eurovision:
Anxhela Peristeri – Karma
Unfortunately, YouTube only has the video of her 2nd rehearsal. From watching the semi and the final on TV, the visual and lighting were on point, which are not really seen in this video clip.
Semi-final results: 10th place out of 17 performances (112 total points – 74 jury and 38 public votes), which means she barely qualified for the final. The top ten from each semi qualify to the next round. Also, you do not know the placement in the semifinal until after the contest.
Final results: 21st place out of 26 performances (57 total points – 22 jury and 35 public votes)
While the song did not perform that well in the final, it was one of my favorite ESC 2021 performances. This song has been on a few of my running playlists since May. I wish that she had something else going on (eg a dancer or two) to supplement the performance because it seemed very basic with only Anxhela and random smoke effects. Oh, I loved whatever she did with her voice at 2:13 and 2:33 AND the hair flip at 1:17 because it was right on the beat.
Random Trivia: Some say that her placement in the final was due to the contest’s running order (she was the 2nd performer of the night). People believe that the 2nd and 16th performances are cursed. The 2nd performer because that’s when folks take their bathroom breaks. Pretty much most folks are going to preparty a bit before the show starts, then you have the opening ceremonies, followed by the flag “march”/performer introductions, then the first performer. By the time you get the second performer, you might have been putting off the call of nature for some time. For the past 10+ years, the second performer has never finished within the top 1/3 of the final. Not sure why the 16th place running order is bad luck – maybe another bathroom break.
Question of the Day:
What do you think about the performances of Ronela Hajati and/or Anxhela Peristeri?