Albania: Lindita Halimi wins Festivali i Këngës 55 with “Botë”

Albania’s Festivali i Këngës is the first national final of the Eurovision 2017 season and tonight it reached its glorious climax. After two semi-finals and hours of intervals, American Idol alum Lindita Halimi emerged victorious with her song “Botë” (World).

“It means the world to me, and I truly appreciate all the wiwibloggs fans for supporting me, and for always writing to me and always letting me know how much they love Botë,” she told our colleagues from Eurovision Kosovo moments after her win. “I truly love that song and I’m so glad they felt the same emotions that I did.”

And what about singing for Albania at Eurovision 2017?

“It’s a big honour, just the fact that we get to be in an audience such as Eurovision, that’s so big, and the fans are amazing — they’re on fire all the time. And I feel like Albania’s always brought it…I will have to try to keep the same high standards that we always had.”

Kosovo-born Lindita found fame after winning the Albanian song contest Top Fest in 2009. And she gave her career another boost by taking part in Festival i Kenges in 2014, where she gave a jaw-dropping performance of her entry “Ste fal”, conferring her the status of fan favourite alongside eventual winner Elhaida Dani.

Earlier this year, she participated in the last series of American Idol. There, Lindita made it to the final 51, but missed out on a place in the final 24.

Her FiK-winning song “Botë” is a dramatic and mysterious ballad that shows off Lindita’s bold vocal style. As is tradition for winners of Festivali i Këngës, it is very likely that “Botë” will be revamped ahead of Eurovision.

With a new voting format this year, we saw five Albanian artists living outside Albania voting as part of the jury. These were ESC 2004 representative Anjeza Shahini, Elsa Lila, Nertila Koka, Fatrin Krajka and Adelina Ismajli. They, along with the seven main jurors in the hall, awarded, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 10 points. The public acted as a 13th juror.

If FiK55 used the 50/50 voting system, Yll Limani would have won.

Festivali i Këngës 55 – full results

  1. Lindita Halimi – “Botë” (85 points)
  2. Genc Salihu – “Këtu” (54 points)
  3. Dilan Reka – “Mos harro” (50 points)
  4. Yll Limani – “Shiu” (50 points)
  5. XUXI – “Metropol” (30 points)
  6. Flaka Krelani – “Osiris” (30 points)
  7. Rezarta Smaja – “Pse prite gjatë” (24 points)
  8. Orges Toçe – “Shi diamantësh” (24 points)
  9. Edea Demaliaj – “Besoj në ëndrra” (23 points)
  10. LYNX – “Sot” (14 points)
  11. Franc Koruni – “Macka” (12 points)
  12. Lorela – “Me ty” (8 points)
  13. Fabiola Agalliu & Agnesa Çavolli – “Shkon e vjen” (7 points)
  14. Xhesika Polo – “Eva jam unë” (5 points)

“Botë” already clocks in under three minutes, so it it won’t need to be edited down for Eurovision. However, we can expect the ESC version to have English lyrics. In previous years, we have also seen songs given a new sound entirely, though not always with successful results at Eurovision.

Lindita Halimi performs “Botë” at FiK 55

What do you think? Can Lindita take Albania into the Eurovision final? Share your thoughts below!