Albania at Eurovision

Mall by Eugent Bushpepa

My fellow OnEuropeans may be well ahead of me in Counting Down this year, but here I am - the original version - kicking off 2018.

Just as Albania is traditionally the first to choose, so – by going alphabetically – is it traditionally the first of my annual Countdown reviews. Maybe I should shake it up a bit one year? Or maybe it’s best just to get it out of the way early? This year it’s nothing worth waiting for. I’ll start with the positives though. It’s a perfectly passable, even pleasantly melodic, slice of rock.

The pleasingly named Eugent Bushpepa is in fine voice, and a clearly more than competent performer, but not, based on the Festival I Kenges, a terribly engaging one. He’s better in an earlier, live-band version of the video, largely as his bare arms reveal his tattoos and show him off as a nice bit of beardy scruff, although the beard count in this new video is quite as pleasing as his name.

He’s also setting the tone by keeping the song in Albanian, the first of an impressive 13 (or over 30%) to not be sung in English this year; the Salvador Sobral effect in action. Beardy Bushpepa is going to have his work cut out though; he’ll sing in the first half of the first semi-final, which many commentators already think is a bit of a bloodbath. There’s probably not enough here to see him through.

My marks: 5 points

Will it qualify? No