Eurovision 2019 Review: Albania – Jonida Maliqi – Ktheju Tokës

jonida maliqi

Jonida Maliqi brings bombastic song in Albanian language
Albania is one of the first countries to choose their Eurovision representative every single year, but often the chosen track has to be revamped to meet the Eurovision regulations. At the end of last year, Jonida Maliqi won the festival that is used as a national final with her song ‘Ktheju Tokës’. Only minor changes were necessary for Jonida to be ready for the big Eurovision stage. She follows up Eugent Bushpepa, who surprised last year with a respectable 11th place for his rock song ‘Mall’. Will Maliqi be able to reach top 10 in the final?

Jonida Maliqi brings a bombastic song with a lot of drama, big vocals and strings. The track could best be described as a midtempo pop song with some native folk influences. In the emotional lyrics, she describes what life can be like as an immigrant. The track serves soaring melodies and a proper build up, but the question remains if she can convince people all around Europe to vote as the message of the track will be mostly lost on people who don’t speak the Albanian language.

Judging by her performances in the national final and the promo concerts, her vocals are undeniable. She sounds powerful and hits all the big notes live, which should help her chances to qualify for the final in Tel Aviv. If she delivers the live vocals like we expect her to, the juries should value her entry enough to bring her at least some success. Bookmakers are currently in doubt, placing her 11th out of 18 in the second semi final. A result like last year’s seems far away, but then again virtually nobody expected Bushpepa to almost reach top 10 in the final either. I sure would not mind hearing this again on Saturday as it is a beautiful song which truly represents Albania.

Review on semi-final performance:
Albania brought more drama to the Eurovision stage with a song about life as an immigrant with lyrics in Albanian. She was actually the only performer not singing most of her song in English this semi-final. The song serves hooks, big vocals and Jonida Maliqi actually sells it well. Her vocals were not as flawless as I hoped for towards the end, but the way she performs it with prominent roles for her backing vocals as well, is mostly very effective. Visually there is not an awful lot going on, but Jonida is captivating enough. I was slightly surprised that she found her way into the final, but I am not mad one bit. The song and her performance deserve it.

Review on final performance and result:
Jonida Maliqi from Albania was one of the few performers singing a song in her own language, which is worth some praise to start with. She delivered a vocally slightly stronger performance than in the semi-final. The track is suspenseful and dramatic and Jonida is a captivating performer. She scored on a similar level with both juries and televoting which gave her the 17th position overall. Well done!


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