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Throwback Thursday: It’s all about Albania

In this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’re looking back through Albania’s history in the Eurovision Song Contest. There’s no difficulty for me to know which my favourite Eurovision entry from Albania is. There’s no doubt in my mind, the winner is clearly Juliana Pasha’s It’s All About You!

From bowl-cuts to glamorous dos

So, I originally got invested in Eurovision in 2008. Before then, I’d always watched Eurovision but never been a superfan. 2010 was the first year in which I began looking into the national finals. Festivali i Këngës wasn’t one that I paid particular attention to, but I remember first hearing Juliana’s Nuk mundem pa ty and really not thinking much of it. The thing I was actually most interested in whilst watching the performance was her bowl-cut hair.

Then, the Eurovision version was revealed and I was blown away. What an absolute glow up – still one of the best Eurovision revamps of all time, and thank GOD for that hairstyle change! This made me so glad that it was It’s All About You that made it to Eurovision rather than one of Juliana’s previous Festivali i Këngës entries; she’d previously tried to represent Albania in 2008 and 2009 but failed to win despite coming in the top 3 on both occasions.

After finishing in 16th place with 62 points in the Eurovision Song Contest 2010 final (even receiving a set of 12 points from F.Y.R. Macedonia), Juliana Pasha became Albania’s best placing entry in the contest since their debut in 2004 which came 7th. Obviously, it was so well-deserved and it’d be great to see Albania send something like this again.

Pasha after Eurovision

Soon after Juliana Pasha returned home in Albania after her result in Oslo, she won an Honorary Citizen of Burrel award from the mayor of Burrel (Juliana’s hometown). She was also involved in a project called Hanna (PH), which was about fighting against gang wars in Albania.

Around the same time, Juliana won Kënga Magjike, an Albanian musical competition which many Eurovision fans want to see become the new Eurovision selection show for Albania. Her winning song was called Sa e shite zemren and featured Luiz Ejlli, the Albanian representative at Eurovision 2006.

Since then, Juliana has taken part in Kënga Magjike two more times. On both of these occasions, she finished third and won the Best Vocal prize. Most recently, she participated in 2015 with Vullkan, which was also nominated for a Best Song of the Year Kult Award. She also talked about releasing a Christian CD in Albanian and English, since religion is very important to her and she says that she “is here because of God’s help”, but this unfortunately never happened.

Last year, Juliana released her most recent single, Në më je, which became a hit in Albania and got over a million hits on YouTube. It’s very different to It’s All About You and Juliana’s new style would be something fresh for Albania in Eurovision. I would love to see her back at Eurovision and I think that if she were to return, she could give Albania their first top 5 entry since 2012! Please, Juliana, if you’re reading this, consider coming back – we miss you!

What’s the team got to say?

Emanuel

“It’s all about you” was also for a long time my favourite Albanian entry. Actually I’m very divided between this song and “Mall” from Eurovison 2018. I only follow national finals since 2014 so I only discovered her performance at Festivali I Kënges recently and what an improvement. Quite a surprise as the Albanian revamps weren’t very successful this last years. I love everything about this song. Juliana is an amazing live singer and those backing vocals lift the song to a higher level. A performance full of charisma. There weren’t certainly 15 better songs in 2010 and I place her somewhere in my top 10.

Lisa

One of Albania’s best! Which isn’t saying much when I rarely like any. From the pants suit to the anthemic backing track, this is Juliana Pasha giving us Albania Schlager Disco. It would never have made it out of a Melodifestivalen semi-final. So it’s a small wonder that Albania of all countries sent it. But thank the music Gods they did! It’s like the Carly Simon hairbrush anthem prequel, before she got fed up with her man and released ‘You’re So Vain’.

Natalie

While I was not so secretly hoping for Mall, I can just about settle with reviewing this song. It’s a solid entry that actually sounds good in English in comparison to Albania’s poor excuse of a revamp in previous years (I’m looking at you Fairytale). “It’s All About You” definitely isn’t one of those songs that I go back to listening, but while revisiting it for the sole purpose of Throwback Thursday, I find that it’s enjoyable and has all the ingredients for a well respected Eurovision entry.

Nick

When I heard I had to write a paragraph on an Albanian song, I knew this would be hit or miss. Thankfully, this one is a bang on hit. 2010 was the first year I was really invested in the Eurovision Song Contest. Seeing Juliana Pasha on that stage in Oslo singing the most Eurovision written song on there made me hang on to the contest. Albania are one of those countries who either get it totally right or horribly wrong. They did everything right with this one. In terms of styling, vocals and performance. Take a bow!

What do you think of “It’s All About You”? Would you like to see Juliana return to Eurovision?

Let us know your opinions in the comments below and on social media @ESCXTRA. Do you agree with the team?

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