One of the most exciting events ever, for me personally at least, was the debut of Albania in the Eurovision Song Contest.
When I went to school, we didn't learn much about Albania since not even our teachers knew a lot about the country in question. Financially poor and with closed borders. Introvert and almost impossible to approach, that is how we percieved them.
Even when Albania opened up, they never really entered the news sphere over here and our knowledge of who they were and what they looked like was pretty close to zero.
If people had a not too flattering idea about Albania in the first place, then it really didn't help when this preview clip appeared on our tv screens.
Anjeza Shahini - The Image Of You (Albania 2004 preview)
It doesn't look pretty, does it? The poorly lit studio looks like a wrestling hall, the choreography is wild beyond belief and with absolutely no styling or makeup the whole team look more like they are on their way to the shower rather than to Eurovision.
From what I heard, it wasn't even the fault of Albania's tv.
Every country should produce two clips: one preview and one simple clip showing how the song will be performed on stage. At some point, these two clips were mixed up and this one was seemingly never intended for public use.
Most people who saw this clip laughed at it and deemed the entry chanceless in Istanbul, but in the end Albania had the last laugh.
They also realised this stage show wasn't particularly suitable, and changed the whole package in good time. Stylish and polished, the Albanian debut impressed most people in the end.
Anjeza Shahini - The Image Of You (Albania 2004)
Anjeza managed an elegant and well deserved 7th place, still Albania's best showing in the contest.