Albanian broadcaster RTSH has reportedly announced some changes to the upcoming Festivali i Këngës song competition which will select Albania’s act for Eurovision 2017. Organisers have revealed that a smaller number acts will make it to the final, and the competition will now use a public jury.
Broadcaster RTSH reportedly outlined the new plans for FiK55, due to take place in December. The changes are aimed at continuing the tradition of Albanian music but to also restore public confidence in the competition.
The number of entries will be reduced from previous years. Where FiK54 had 30 songs in the competition, this year’s show will only have 24. From the two semi-finals, a total of 14 songs will qualify for the grand final, eight fewer than in 2015.
The other big change for 2016 is the introduction of a public vote to select the finalists and the winner — but this won’t involve a televote. While the usual FiK expert jury remains, there will now also be a public jury and a media jury. This is similar to the jury system used in Finland’s UMK national final.
After the two semi-finals, the professional jury will select eight songs for the final, the public jury will select three songs, and the media jury will select the final three. At the grand final, the winner will be decided by the professional jury and the public jury, given a 60%/40% split.
Also new for 2016 is the introduction of prizes for the artists in second and third place, and a five-person expert panel to select the semi-finalists.
In recent years, FiK has been criticised for not delivering suitable songs for Eurovision. Since 2013, the only song to qualify for the Eurovision final was Elhaida Dani’s “I’m Alive”, which was changed from her FiK entry “Diell”. In other years, the FiK winners have been revamped for Eurovision, without success.
Applications for Festivali i Këngës 55 close on 24 October. The broadcaster is urging potential entrants to focus on quality artistic entries and not just Eurovision pleasers. In other words: Albanian songwriters, don’t even think about removing that guitar solo!
What do you think of Albania’s plans for Festivali i Këngës 55? Can it get them into the grand final in Kyiv? Share your thoughts below!