A few days ago, Albania confirmed they would take part in the 2017 Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Furthermore, RTSH has revealed that they will return to a selection format that is specifically for Eurovision. Indeed, Junior Fest Albania is to make a return in September. For the previous two years, RTSH used their traditional children’s music festival Festivali i Këngës për Femije to double up as a Junior Eurovision selection format.
Dimbi dimbi damba je!
In 2012, Albania used Junior Fest Albania to select their first ever Junior Eurovision Song Contest entry. Igzidora Gjeta won the show against 13 other young artists with Kam një këngë vetëm për ju. One of those other competitors was Mishela Rapo, who eventually went on to represent Albania on their next Junior Eurovision appearance in 2015. Mishela’s Dambaje won Festivali i Këngës për Femije in 2015 and scored a top 5 finish in Sofia. This remains Albania’s highest finish in the contest!
Klesta Qehaja wowed many with Besoj
Last year’s winner of Festivali i Këngës për Femije was Klesta Qehaja. Her powerful ballad Besoj went on to finish in 13th place in Valletta. Klesta’s performance reminded many of Rona Nishliu’s entry to the 2012 adult contest, Suus, as a result of its intense emotion and extraordinary vocal range.
RTSH ditch Festivali i Këngës in favour of Eurovision-focused format
Looking ahead to 2017, Junior Fest Albania is going to make a return. A professional jury will select 16 artists and songs to take part in the competition on September 23rd. Whether jury voting, televoting, or a mix of both will determine which of the 16 goes to Tbilisi is yet to be determined. Many fans have called for RTSH to use a national format other than Festivali i Këngës in the adult contest. Maybe this is a sign something may change for the adult contest as well?
Do you think RTSH returning to a contest that is specifically tasked to find a song for Eurovision is a good idea? Should they implement this for the adult contest instead of using the pre-existing traditional festival that is Festivali i Këngës? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below and via our social media pages @ESCXTRA!