Over the past week the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals — has been reviewing all thirty semi finalists competing in Festivali i Këngës 54 — Albania’s national selection for Eurovision 2016. We may not have an Albanian passport, but we certainly had strong opinions. Below you can see our top 10 and their average score out of 10. Click on the song title to read our reviews in full. Do you agree with us that Besa Krasniqi or Flaka Krelani should win? Let us know in the comments box below!

You can watch the Festivali i Këngës 54 semi-finals live on RTSH on December 25 and 26 and the grand final on eurovision.tv from 20:45 CET December 27.

1. Besa Krasniqi with “Liroje zemrën” (8.94)

The Positive: Liroje zemrën is radio-friendly and I see this hitting the charts all over Europe. Besa is giving me hope, life and light with her uplifting number…so much so that I’m dying to know what she’s singing about. The enticing introduction is exactly the right length to get me hooked before she launches into her lovely chorus.”

The Negative: “The song is somewhat flat — I’d like a few more hills.”

2. Flaka Krelani with “S’je për mua” (8.25)

The Positive: “This is very promising. Flaka has a good, expressive voice….Flaka is 2016. Flaka is sultry. Flaka is seducing me with her sound, her voice and her lovely song. The last minute is so amazing, it gives me the chills”

The Negative: “It starts to drag at around two minutes, and the current version is way over three minutes.”

3. Sigi Bastri with “Ëngjëll i lirë” (8.13)

The Positive: “Finally — someone who is bringing well-measured drama! The chorus hits you like a bat out of hell and the wall of sound gives me major feels….A modern song with decent, passionate vocals from Sigi. This is one of the best entries in the field. The choruses fire up spectacularly and if Sigi performs it well live, it should have a chance at victory.”

The Negative: “The musical accompaniment sounds a bit cheap in places, but that can easily be fixed. I think it loses steam in the final minute, but perhaps she’ll be magical live.”

4. Enxhi Nasufi with “Infinit” (7.94)

The Positive: “Finally — a FiK singer with proper star quality! Infinit is one of the most modern songs in this year’s Festivali i Këngës, and one of my favourites. The song is catchy, full of energy and Enxhi sings it proudly.”

The Negative: “There’s a slight disco feel to this — a bit too vintage for me — but I appreciate the energy and light.”

5. Nilsa Hysi with “Asaj” (7.63)

The Positive: “This song has been on repeat ever since the FiK 54 songs were released. Something about this compels me to play it again and again. Nilsa’s lovely voice amazes me — and this song is the perfect platform to show it off. Once I realised the chorus was not Nilsa calling out desperately for Essaï, I realised this is my personal favourite. This is absolutely flawless and I would be overjoyed if Albania sent Nilsa to Stockholm.”

The Negative: “Sadly it’s a bit repetitive and lacks the emotional oomph needed to elevate it beyond disposable pop.”

6. Teuta Kurti with “Në sytë e mi” (7.19)

The Positive: “This is a song with plenty of potential. With the right staging, it could be a contender to win the festival. She has some of the best vocals in the competition — no doubt! I can’t wait to see this live, because Teuta sounds like she’s a very physical, very emotional singer, using everything she has to get those notes out.”

The Negative: “This goes on a bit, and not even all the squealing and oooing and assorted vocal flourishes can save it.”

7. Jozefina Simoni with “Një det me ty” (7.13)

The Positive: “This is a powerful song and another one of my big favourites. Jozefina connects with the music and the change of pace after the first chorus takes this to another level. There are some interesting things happening with the melody in the verses and the chorus ends up being big and dramatic in a good way.”

The Negative: “That guitar solo really doesn’t fit. There’s something missing and I don’t know what it is. Hopefully Jozefina does and will bring it to the live shows.”

8. Erga Halilaj with “Monolog” (7.13)

The Positive: “Erga oozes soul and, in the rare moments the song lets her showcase her vocals, as from 1:46 to 2:02, she’s a woman in control and I’m happy to follow. Erga has the powerful vocals to carry this song and I think she could be a dark horse to win it all.”

The Negative: “I’m sure Erga Halilaj will give us an outstanding performance, but the song drags too much to be considered a contender. Unfortunately the iconic FiK guitar doesn’t fit.”

9. Aslaidon Zaimaj with “Merrmë që sot” (7)

The Positive: “Easily one of the most modern songs in this year’s Festivali i Këngës — and one of my favourites. You’d think a song with so many different styles wouldn’t work. But for me ‘Merrmë që sot’ works perfectly. It’s easily one of the catchiest songs in this year’s semi-finals. It could be really thrilling live.”

The Negative: “There’s no cohesion and I think they’d struggle to choose a 15-second clip for the video recap as they journey from clangs to bangs and beyond.”

10. Eneda Tarifa with “Përrallë” (6.94)

The Positive: “It’s dark, dramatic, energetic and I’m loving it. Eneda is one beautiful lady and her voice is perfect for the song. It’s the closest thing to being the Albanian ‘Rise Like A Phoenix’. The ‘oh-oh-oh’ bridge is a musical masterpiece and the song concludes in spectacular fashion. A genuine contender!”

The Negative: “The song itself doesn’t appeal to me — I want something brighter and happier.”

Who is YOUR favourite? Let us know in the comments box below!

Semi-final 1 recap

Semi-final 2 recap

READ ALL OF OUR FIK 54 REVIEWS AND RANKINGS

FOLLOW ALL OF OUR ALBANIA EUROVISION NEWS

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Kjetil H
Guest
Kjetil H

Based on the live performances from the 1st semi and this list, I’d make the top 2 (and only songs that caught my interest):

1. Enxhi Nasufi – “Infinit”
2. Besa Krasniqi – “Liroje zemrën”

I thought Enxhi’s song had a lot of energy and think it will be even better live. Only negatives I can point out is a couple of awkward transitions, but otherwise quite enjoyed it

Steven
Guest
Steven

ENEDA <33333333

DenizNL
Guest
DenizNL

She already lives in Stockholm, I heard. And her song is just perfect. She has gotta win.

mocosuburbian
Guest
mocosuburbian

the only song I would vote for is Asaj
which is good because it seems to be right up there in the top 5 unlike Marsela from last year

D
Guest
D

My favourites are Besa, Revolt Klan, Eneda, Nilsa, Sigi, and Jozefina, in that order. If any one of those win Albania will be on the fast track to my Top 10 in 2016. However, Albania never ends up choosing my favourite songs and I’m expecting one of the shouty songs by one of the 30 year old females or the duet to win.

Sparrow
Guest
Sparrow

Besa probably has the freshest song, Flaka sounds too 90’s.
None of the other songs grab you like Liroje Zemrën does.

Paul D
Guest
Paul D

Klodian and Rezarta FTW honestly, they have the best song and the voices work very well

EF0912
Guest
EF0912

Eneda is too underrated and is my pick for Albania but I think it’s going to be Klodian and Rezarta that are going to take the crown because of the 100% Jury Vote.
I really like Flaka, Nilsa and Besa a lot too.