In just two weeks from now, the second national selection of this Eurovision season will take place. As usual, Festivali i Këngës, will serve as the selection method for the Albanian act in Eurovision 2024, for the 20th edition in a row. While the preparations for the big, for the Albanian music and culture scene, festival are on fire, we had some quite interesting news regarding the withdrawals from the festival that we saw last month, which also indicate Albania’s direction for Eurovision 2024.
As we have previously informed you, following the announcement of the participants of the 62nd edition of Festivali i Këngës and during a press conference where the regulations were announced, two artists decided to withdraw. These two artists were Samanta Karavella, a five times participant in FiK, and Kejsi Tola, the winner of FiK 47 and the Albanian representative in Eurovision 2009.
The reasons behind Samanta’s withdrawal
During a interview on the Albanian TV show “Më lër të flas“, Samanta broke her silence about her decision to withdraw from this year’s FiK where she was due to participate with her song “N’majē“.
To begin with, Samanta mentions that even though she does not wish to elaborate more about FiK, she sees it as a duty to explain herself to her fans. Hence, she just gave a small explanation. According to Samanta, the reason behind her withdrawal was the organisers’ disapproval of her stage performance. The song with which she was to participate was supposed to be upbeat and rhythmical, necessitating a spectacular stage show. However, this did not meet FiK’s conservative standards.
There was also a mystery behind the withdrawal of the former Eurovision participant, Kejsi Tola, bearing in mind the excitement of the Eurovision fandom on a possible return of hers.
Although Samanta speculated that the reasons behind Tola’s withdrawal might were the same as hers, it is now confirmed by the artist herself that “personal reasons” led her to this decision, reasons that remain unspecified.
Albania’s direction for Eurovision 2024
“My stage performance was disapproved by FiK’s organisers as it did not meet the festival’s criteria” mentions Samanta. The festival’s criteria need to be elaborated more.
As Samanta mentions, the organizing committee of FiK 62 orientates to a Sanremo-type of contest, which is more musical and lyrical and less a spectacular TV show with impressive stage shows, pyros etc.
The aforementioned indicate that Albania aims to return to its Eurovision “basics”, selecting a ballad with impressive vocals, following their two past entries which were more rhythmical and upbeat.
Unfortunately, this strategy has already begun and will continue to cause controversy inside Albania, while successful artists decide to step back from a musical competition and from the country’s representation at a worldwide event, such as Eurovision. As long as the Albanina delegation does get more modernized, more and more famous and beloved around Europe artists will continue not giving a shot for the Albanian representation. Moreover, bearing in mind the return of the three-times FiK winner, Elsa Lila, which has never stepped at the Eurovision stage regardless winning last year’s edition, may cause troubles to RTSH, as she has been the broadcaster’s favorite three times already.
Festivali i Këngës 62
A total of 31 artists were shortlisted for FiK 62. Samanta’s and Kejsi Tola’s acts were replaced by the newcomers Irma Lepuri and PeterPan Quartet, while there was no announcement made regarding a possible replacement of another artist that withdrew, namely Sardi Strugaj.
Excluding Sardi Strugaj, the following thirty artists will compete:
- Stivi Ushe – Askush si ty
- Besa Kokëdhima – Zemën n’Dorë
- Mal Retkoceri – Çmendur
- Eldis Arrnjeti – Një kujtim
- Shpat Deda – S’mund t’jetoj pa ty
- Jehona Ponari – Evol
- PeterPan Quartet
- Festina Mejzini – Melos
- Kastro Zizo – 2073
- Luan Durmishi – Përsëritja
- Melodajn Mancaku – Nuk jemi ne
- Olsi Ballta – Unë
- Andi Tanko – Herë pas herë
- Sergio Hajdini – Uragan
- Santino De Bartolo – Dua të rri me ty
- Olimpia Smajlaj – Asaj
- Big Basta and Vesa Luma – Mbinatyrale
- Elsa Lila – Mars
- Jasmina Hako – Ti
- Michela Paluca – Për veten
- Anduel Kovaçi – Nan’
- Irma Lepori
- Erina and the Elementals – Jetën n’skaj
- Kleansa Susaj – Pikturë
- Arsi Bako – Zgjohu
- Tiri Gjoci – Në ëndërr
- Besa Krasniqi – Esenciale
- Bledi Kaso – Çdo gjë mbaroi
- Troy – Horizonti i ëndrrave
- Martina Serreqi – Vetëm ty
Just like last year, FiK 62 will have two separate winners. The winner of the jury voting will be crowned as the winner of the festival and the winner of the public vote will be the chosen one for the Albanian representation in the Eurovision Song Contest.
The 62nd edition of FiK will take place from December 19 to December 22, 2023 at Pallati i Kongresseve in Tirana. Last year’s winners of the public vote were Albina & Familja Kelmendi with their song “Duje”, gaining the right to represent Albania at the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 in Liverpool. Albina & Familja Kelmendi brought their country back to the Grand Final, finishing tenth in the public vote and twenty-second overall.
Stay tuned to EurovisionFun for all news!