UPDATED 24 FEBRUARY 2015: Elhaida Dani announced that “Diell” has been withdrawn as Albania’s Eurovision entry by its songwriters, Viola Trebicka and Sokol Marsi. She didn’t give an explanation of why the song was withdrawn, but Albania has recruited Kosovo Albanian songwriters Zzap & Chriss to write a new song, “I’m Alive.” To be honest, we’re pretty happy to hear this because, as you can read below, we thought “Diell” was pretty dreadful.
Elhaida Dani won the 53rd annual Festivali i Këngës and will represent Albania at Eurovision in May with “Diell.” Short review: pageant ballad.
Longer review: “Diell” is a Celine Dion-type ballad being sung by someone who is not Celine Dion. I don’t want to judge it too harshly, since Albania often re-stages its entries between selection and presentation at the Grand Prix. But I really hope they rethink the arrangement, which just clings to “Diell” like cobwebs on Miss Havisham’s wedding cake. Also, I’m kind of bored with the guitar solos. Four of the last five Albanian entries had guitar solos, and only “Identitet” really called for one. You got three minutes to make an impression, so don’t waste precious seconds noodling on the guitar. Unless it shoots sparks. Obviously. I wasn’t particularly impressed with Dani’s performance at the time of Festivali i Këngës and the more I listen to it, the less impressed I am. There is a difference between singing a big note and shouting a big note, and Dani errs on the side of shouting. (Granted, she won’t have to sing over a live string section in Vienna.) “Diell” is a safe choice for Albania. Maybe it will get them into the Final, but it’s a mid-table entry at best.