Monty’s Eurovision Countdown Part 1 – Albania

First up in my 2022 Countdown is Albania, with a banger that pleases on every aspect. It’s brimming with Balkan sounds and rhythms and the video sizzles with sex appeal. Ronela is pootling around in her motor on a hillside road when she happens upon a swarthy hitchhiker. A dream like sequence ensues – is it a distant memory or an instant fantasy? – where Ronela is roughly handled by this bearded brute into all manner of secret trysts. But this is no assault – except on my senses – as Ronela acquiesces to the steamy passion of it all willingly. All too quickly her secret paramour is rent from her clasp into the custody of some ne’er-do-well pursuers.

Ronela, bereft, and now sporting an astonishing Barnet resembling a yoke of hair extensions, tosses herself off the mountainside in a fit of heartbroken despair. (A making-of clip of this reveals her rather hilariously to be bellyflopping onto a mattress, somewhat stripping the moment from an otherwise impassioned cri de coeur.)

Suddenly Ronela is back on the mountain road where she beckons the hitchhiker to hop in and drives off into a metaphorical ellipsis. Good on you, girl; he could thumb down my Volvo any day too.

The performance in the Albanian final benefitted from a cast of seeming thousands of backing dancers. Though she clearly knows how to put on a show, in Turin she’ll be limited to a maximum of just 5. I hope the swarthy walloper she’s picked up is among them.