Albania national final preview – Festivali i Këngës 58

Albania’s national music festival, Festivali i Këngës, has been running almost as long as the Eurovision Song Contest, and is now the route by which Albania selects their contestant. FiK (as it’s usually abbreviated to) marks the start of the national selection season, taking place around Christmas. The final this year takes place on 22 December and there are a few songs to look out for in the final.

The (fan) favourite

The big favourite, at least among the fandom, is Elvana Gjata, a well-known singer and actress in the Albanian and regional music industry. Her entry, “Me Tana”, is in the ethnobanger category, and with huge numbers of views on YouTube both in Albania and in countries with a large Albanian diaspora, she is being seen as the hot favourite. Favourites often do win Fik and while public popularity would indicate success in a televote, the winner will be selected by a 5 person international jury. This style of song may lend itself to that group though (and of course includes Christer Bjorkman…). I think some people may be overhyping this already, declaring it could finish in the top 5 in Rotterdam etc. I think perhaps we should wait to see if it wins and then what happens at the contest! But ethnobangers are always welcome I admit!

My favourite

My personal pick of the 12 finalists is Valon, with his fusion of Albanian rock and 1980s electropop in his song “Kutia e Pandorës”. The writer of the song is none other than Eugent Bushpepa, Albania’s 2018 Eurovision artist whose entry was my favourite (to date) Albanian entry. I suspect this will not go down so well with the international jury but if it did succeed, it certainly would bring something different to the contest.

Other entries to note

Other contenders to watch out for are:

  • Albania’s 2008 Eurovision entry, Olta Boka with her song “Botë për dy
  • Albanian X-Factor winner Arilena Ara brings a traditional Albanian female big ballad, “Shaj
  • Gena is a curveball, a middle-aged man with a bit ethnobanger party song, “Shqiponja e lirë

It’s (allegedly) Elvana’s to lose, but will the first national selection for Eurovision bring us Eurodrama? Not long to find out so Happy Fikmas everyone!

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