Albania: Festivali i Këngës 56 confirmed for 21, 22, 23 December

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It’s the first national final off the starting blocks each year. Now the dates for Albania’s Festivali i Këngës 56 have been confirmed for 2017. The show will take place on 21, 22 and 23 December.

The show will again use two semi-finals, followed by a grand final. The semis will be held on 21 and 22 December, with the grand final naturally taking place on the 23rd.

Albanian media is also reporting the confirmation of the host for the 56th edition. It will be presented by acclaimed Albanian journalist and television host, Adi Krasta.

He’s no stranger to Festivali i Këngës, having hosted it five times before. He previously hosted the show in 1997, 1999, 2002, 2003 and 2006.

The show will be directed by Pali Kukes, while the show script will be written by Albi Cifligut.

Festivali i Këngës and Eurovision

The long-running song contest has been held every year since 1962. In 2003, ahead of Albania’s debut at Eurovision 2004, FiK took on the dual role of Albania’s national final.

However, FiK has been criticised for its unsuitability to select songs that make good Eurovision entries for Albania.

Song entered in FiK can be up to four minutes long, a full minute longer than Eurovision’s maximum. FiK also requires that songs be performed in Albanian.

The festival also has a particular music style. The shows involve a lavish live orchestra, which favours songs that make the most of an orchestral sound. Dramatic ’80s-style guitar solos are also popular in FiK entries but can sound dated to non-Albanian ears.

As a result, winning FiK songs usually undergo a substantial revamp before Eurovision. This usually involves cutting the song down, changing the lyrics to English and remixing the song with a more generic pop sound.

This doesn’t always go down well with fans, who have criticised such revamps as removing the appeal of the song.

Albania’s best results in recent years came from two songs that were not substantially revamped after FiK. Rona Nishliu‘s emotional 2012 entry “Suus” kept the Albanian lyrics and avant-garde orchestral sound. It was a hit with Eurovision audiences and resulted in a fifth-place finish — Albania’s best ever result.

In 2015, FiK winner Elhaida Dani was unable to perform her festival entry “Diell” at Eurovision. Instead, she went with the entirely new composition “I’m Alive”. It became a fan favourite and gave Albania a 17th-place finish in the grand final.

What do you think? Who would you like to see enter FiK 56? Who can take Albania to the grand final in Lisbon? Tell us what you think!

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