Albania: this year's trend

It's the inevitable follow-up to any Eurovision winner: the products of the formula gurus. After Ruslana won in '04 a whole bunch of tracks the next year attempted to catch the winning formula and featured heavy percussion. Then Elena Paparizou won with a more conventional pop song with male dancers and rope on stage and the next contest was deluged with solo females. Of course, Lordi won and so last year it was an unusually heavy-rocking contest.

Expect a whole deal of Maria Sefirovic clones this year then. The first offering in the Molitva-styled grandoise ballad stakes is Albania.

What I like about this one is the obvious debt to American R&B which makes it a little bit fresher then most such attempts. The little "ah-ah-ah" backing vocals stand out too. Unfortunately, Olta's voice is not really up to par and I'm not too thrilled about the song structure which essentially consists of a twice-repeated parallel verse-bridge-chorus with a huge drop in intensity mid-way. It's also 23 seconds too long according to the rules, and risks being overcompressed come competition time.

Prediction? Won't reach the finals. Not that there's much wrong with it, but Albania lacks closely related countries that can pile up votes for them.

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