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!

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Rashida
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KennyESC
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KennyESC

We have a lot of good artists here that will never do FiK like Elvana Gjata. Why don’t do an internal selection..?

Polegend Godgarina
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Polegend Godgarina

I feel like they should totally change their selection method. Actually, they should go for an internal selection. They have so many hot artists that will never in their lifetimes consider FiK, which is more like, the equivalent of any melodic music festival in the south of Italy. Also, still no televote? Psh.

(J)ESC Fanatic
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(J)ESC Fanatic

This is a great step forward. I guess they want to do well.

(J)ESC Fanatic
Guest
(J)ESC Fanatic

“This is similar to the jury system used in Finland’s UMK national final.”

Yes, but there is a major difference: In Finland, there is no professional jury so the whole voting system doesn’t really work…

mocosuburbian
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mocosuburbian

“this is similar to the jury system used in Finland’s UMK national final” that’s probably not a good thing
but overall these changes look really positive and hopefully they don’t butcher the english translation 🙂

Xepher
Guest
Xepher

Problem with Albania sometimes is how the revamp is done, sometimes it will make or break the song

Remember how in 2014 it was really strong, had that James Bond like feeling, then the revamp came and lost all of that, same goes with 2016

Colin
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Colin

One big change they should have done is let the songs be in English as well. Or, if the Albanian is still a must, keep it that way. Probably the reason why so many Albanian entries are bottom of the list is their bad translation. Just pick a song and keep it in a language it was written on.

Ps. Yeah – public jury and You-Tubers, we all know what good it has brought to UMK16, picking a crappy song over few good ones.

Alex
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Alex

This is definitely a step in the right direction. One of the issues in the past was the apparent homogeneity of the jury, as Wiwi pointed out back in 2015. With public and media juries involved, at least there is more hope for a diverse array of perspectives. I do wonder whether one of these years they will try to use Kenga Magjike to select the Eurovision entry instead. Also, for the last couple of years folks have been calling to keep the song in Albanian – this wasn’t done in 2009 or 2010 but Albania still qualified. Nonetheless it… Read more »