Editorials & Opinion

Withdrawal skandal – Ten Eurovision gems that never happened

9. Elhaida Dani – Diell

The selection
Back at the start of the season, Albania was going with their standard procedure. Festivali i Këngës was going to take place and the local stars were lining up for tickets. There was however one name which stood out from the pack: The winner of The Voice of Italy, Elhaida Dani. She entered her passionate ballad, Diell, and without hearing a single second, people knew it: That was the favourite to take Albania to Vienna. And so it went: Elhaida lined up 12s from every juror but one (who gave her 10 points). Diell was heading to Vienna.
What was the skandal?
God knows. All we know is that Elhaida announced she’d go into the studio to rework the entry: She had to, it was way too long for Eurovision standards and she wanted to turn it English. And as the Eurofan community was waiting to see what she’d come up with, she suddenly dropped the bomb: The composer had revoked permission to let this go to Eurovision. No one quite knew why and no one quite knew what would happen. Elhaida soon announced that RTSH would let her come up with a new song. Two weeks before the deadline. And that’s how I’m Alive was created.
How would this have done?
In a ballad year, Elhaida made a smart move going away from a ballad. The thing I still don’t get is how she could be pitch perfect vocally in this giant ballad and then completely collapse with her new song. I know, some people still think she sang on key, but she really didn’t. Would Diell have done better than I’m Alive? In its original, yet shortened version, yes. In a reworked, English version: Possibly not. I somehow think the English was the worst move Elhaida could’ve made.

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