Prior to the tragic earthquake and humanitarian crisis struck Albania late last month, RTSH was gearing up for the 58th edition of Festivali i Këngës. Understandably, it was speculated that these events may affect the scheduling of the festival, with outlets suggesting that it could be delayed until January. However, the Albanian broadcaster has since announced that the festival will go ahead this month.
Originally, it was announced that Festivali i Këngës 58 would commence on the 19th, 20th and 22nd of December. In light of the crisis that has struck Albania, however, news outlets were beginning to suggest that the festival may be delayed to January instead. However, the broadcaster has now confirmed that the festival will be taking place later this month as originally planned. You can watch the trailer for the festival below:
This of course does not change the fact that thousands of people have been affected by the earthquake. Financial aid is crucial to Albania right now, which is why several celebrities of Albanian and Kosovar descent have made calls to contribute. Bebe Rexha has opened a GoFundMe account to raise money. So far, she has raised over $95,000. In addition, Eurovision 2017’s Lindita has called for contributions for a global crowdfunding effort, which has raised over $1.7 million.
Festivali i Këngës 58
This year will see twenty acts take part in Albania’s longest-running music festival. Whereafter the winner will be the selected representative for Albania in the Eurovision Song Contest 2020. Before the live reveal during the RTSH news, a jury headed by conductor Zani Ciko chose the competing artists. These are as follows:
- Albërie Hadërgjonaj
- Aldo Bardhi
- Arilena Ara
- Bojken Lako
- Devis Xherahu
- Eli Fara & Stresi
- Elvana Gjata
- Era Rusi
- Genc Tukiqi
- Kanita Suma
- Kamela Islamaj
- Kastro Zizo
- Olta Boka
- Renis Gjoka
- Robert Berisha
- Sara Bajraktari
- Tiri Gjoci
- Valon Shehu
- Wendi Mancaku
The format is expected to follow that of last year’s festival – two nights of performances (with and without orchestra), an elimination-by-jury, and then the Grand Final, where the winner will be crowned. A jury will decide the winner, and therefore, Albania’s representative for Eurovision 2020.
Albania in the Eurovision Song Contest
Albania debuted at the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2004 and has participated every year since. Anjeza Shahini was the first to fly the country’s flag at the contest with her song ‘The Image of You‘. She finished in a very respectable 7th place with 106 points.
Over the years, Albania qualified for the final on 8 occasions. So far, their best result is Rona Nishliu’s 5th place achieved in Baku in 2012 with her iconic ballad ‘Suus‘. Last year, Albania found success with Eugent Bushpepa and his song ‘Mall‘. He ended the night on 11th place with 184 points, giving Albania their third best result at the contest.
In Tel Aviv, Jonida Maliqi brought Albania its second consecutive qualification with ‘Ktheju Tökes’. Jonida qualified from the second semi-final in 9th place, and finished 17th overall in the Grand Final with 90 points.
Are you happy to see FiK going ahead as planned? Which acts are you most excited about participating? Let us know in the comments and on social media @ESCXTRA. Be sure to stay updated by following @ESCXTRA on Twitter, @escxtra on Instagram and liking our Facebook page for the latest updates. Also be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to see our reactions to the news in the run up to Rotterdam!