Back in December, Arilena Ara won the 58th edition of Festivali i Këngës. With this, she won the right to represent Albania in Rotterdam. Since then, Arilena has been working on the much-anticipated revamp for the song, and the infamous translation to English many former FiK winners have undergone over the years.
Our first national final winner has been hard at work since winning Festivali i Këngës, having flown to Los Angeles back in January to record the revamp. Interestingly, this trip was already planned for her to record her debut album in English, which since gained an additional purpose thanks to Eurovision. In her Instagram teaser, she cleverly blurred out the lyrics, but it has been confirmed that the Eurovision version will be sang in English. Note that the song was actually written in English to begin with.
Was this the correct decision? You can now hear for yourself…
Flying high for her performance?
When asked if she could reveal anything about her performance, Arilena replied, saying that:
I don’t want to talk too much but I’ll just say one thing, I’ll be in the air and on the ground!”– Arilena Ara, speaking to Vizion Plus (translated from Albanian)
Before the contest, Arilena will be heading out onto the pre-party circuit to promote her entry. She will first head to London to perform at the London Eurovision Party on Sunday 29th March. After that, Arilena will head off to Amsterdam on Saturday 4th April to perform at Eurovision in Concert. Finally, on Saturday 11th April, she will perform at the Eurovision Pre-Party in Madrid.
About Arilena Ara
Arilena was born in Shkodër, Albania in 1998. Despite only being 21, Arilena is already a huge star in her country. Having competing at various dancing and singing competitions as a child, she auditioned for the second series of X Factor Albania in 2012. She went on to win the competition, aged just 14! In a full-circle moment, Arilena was a coach on the 2019 season of The Voice Kids Albania. Replacing former Eurovision star Eneda Tarifa on the panel, she placed second with her act Anisa Shabani.
Although her debut album is due to be released this year, she has released a number of singles in her career. Her biggest hit to date was “Nëntori”, which placed third in the prestigious Kënga Magjike festival. The song scored Arilena her first international hit, reaching number one in Romania.
In July 2019, speculation began surrounding Arilena’s intention to participate in Fesitvali i Këngës 58. This proved to be true, with Arilena presenting “Shaj” as her FiK debut. She of course went on to win the festival, beating out stiff competition from Elvana Gjata. Winning by just a three-point margin, her win was met with controversy, with even the host Alketa Vejsiu and Elvana weighing in.
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.
What do you think about the revamp? Will Albania qualify for the third contest in a row this year? Let us know! 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!