While most of us are recovering from Christmas, Eurovision fans will be celebrating what has come to be referred to as FiKmas! Yes, it’s time for Festivali i Këngës 60, the 60th edition of Albania’s singing competition which has been used to select their entrant for the Eurovision Song Contest since 2004. From 27-29 December, 20 artists will compete for the chance to represent Albania at Turin 2022. Here’s everything you need to know about the hosts, the jury, the artists and their songs, and of course where you can watch it:
Tonight’s show will be hosted by Ardit Gjebrea, a prolific singer-songwriter, producer and TV presenter in Albania. He has won Festivali i Këngës twice as a performer and twice as a producer/songwriter. His first victory came in 1991 with the song ‘Jon’.
Joining Gjebrea as presenters will be Isli Islami, Kelvi Kadilli, Xhemi Shehu and Jonida Maliqi, who will be a familiar face to Eurovision fans. She represented Albania in ESC 2019 with her song ‘Ktheju tokës’.
This year’s seven jurors consist of a range of ages and backgrounds. They are producer Osman Mula, composers Agim Doçi and Olsa Toqi, blogger Anxhela Faber, songwriter Olti Curri and singer-songwriters Rozana Radi and Anxhela Peristeri. Recognise that last juror? That’s because she won last year’s contest and represented Albania at Rotterdam 2021 with the song ‘Karma’.
The first night of Festivali i Këngës is Contestants Night, a chance for viewers to meet the artists and be introduced to their songs. You can listen to all of the songs before tonight here. However, some clear frontrunners have already emerged.
Alban Ramosaj – Theje
Having already won Kënga Magjike this year, could Alban Ramosaj win another singing competition in 2021? His Festivali i Këngës entry, ‘Theje’, is currently leading the My Eurovision Scoreboard vote amongst Eurovision fans.
Ronela Hajati – Sekret
Hot on Ramosaj’s heels is Ronela Hajati with her song ‘Sekret’, which is already proving to be an early favourite. Hajati has already enjoyed a successful singing career in Albania. Will she achieve international success and hit the stage in Turin next year?
Mirud – Për Dreq
This will be Mirud’s third appearance in Festivali i Këngës, having already competed in 2018 and 2020. Will his song ‘Për Dreq’ prove that the third time really is a charm?
Where can I watch it?
If this taster of the competition has left you hungry for more, you can watch Festivali i Këngës 60 on the Albanian broadcaster RSTH’s website here. It starts at 21:00 CET, which will also be when you can watch the contest’s following two nights: Nostalgia Night on Tuesday 28th December and Eurovision Night on Wednesday 29th December.
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