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!

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slymn-Türkiye
Guest
slymn-Türkiye

English version please. Lindita is great.

slymn-Turkey
Guest
slymn-Turkey

English version please. Lindita is great.

Kris
Guest
Kris

@Purple Mask
No…..obviously not run inside a hamster wheel :p …..how about sing a better/more modern song??

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

I understand the skepticism about the song, given Albania’s recent history with changing just about everything between the Festival and the Contest. However…

I don’t understand why some commenters have stated that Lindita didn’t deserve to win. Of course she did! Her vocals were in tune, powerful and expressive, and her outfit was stunning. What more would you like her to do?! (Maybe she could run inside a hamster wheel for you? 😀 )

Dutcheurovision
Guest
Dutcheurovision

Either stay with this version or if you HAVE to go English write a completely new song, I don’t want this gem to be another ‘fairytale’

August
Guest
August

Ylli Limani was definetly snubbed… Linda didnt deserved to win but uh oh, Albania always chooses whoever the producer wants and not what the public wants. Its the most unfair festival and its been like that for years.

Sasha
Guest
Sasha

What a beautiful song. Too bad they’ll f it up when they switch to English

Bastian
Guest
Bastian

i dont like it, its more shouting than singing. Not my cup of tea. Ofcourse she cant win esc with a song like this. Its too dated and goes simply nowhere. She should find a better song.

cheesecake
Guest
cheesecake

Okay, this is quite good. At least the first two minutes, after that it’s too much drama and screaming for me.
But we might hear a very different version in Kiev anyway…

Still, I hope next year Albania will finally send something else, a guy maybe. The last FiK winners all sound a bit the same.

Nitzan
Guest
Nitzan

I don’t usually like Albania’s entries but this is good! I hope that during the revamp they will keep the orchestral arrangement and try to modernize it to the extent of losing character. This has old school charm and should remain this way.

Denis
Guest
Denis

Knowing Albania’s tradition to completely re-vamp a song I have high hopes for it. I like it the way it is now but it is a bit to dramatic. Could be taken down a notch or two.
Still decent choice though that could do well. Good luck Albania!

This is my opinion (TIMO)
Guest
This is my opinion (TIMO)

ANOTHER DISASTER FROM ALBANIA ..OVERSINGING NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING. EXTREMELY FOOLISH

Colin
Guest
Colin

@Robyn – Thanks. Oh, great, then she won’t sound like Hersi in 2014. B-) Still, the question of lyric quality remains if they decide to translate. Eneda had a killer vocals and bad lyrics and see what happened. For the sake of authenticity and diversity, I hope for either Albanian or even better, bilingual version. 🙂

Kris
Guest
Kris

@bulgariastan…….no I don’t believe in the absolute numbers….but change in odds are still good predictors of how some event is being perceived………..I dint mean to point to the fact that Albania is last now but it fell around 15 places is what’s more pertinent………..say San Marino releases a song and jumps up to number 4 now ; it wouldn’t mean San Marino will finish 4th but it sure would mean that the song they released is being perceived as being good by Europe and if it falls by 10 or 15 its not that good

Nickc
Guest
Nickc

I personally quite like the song! It gives Mr to nie ja/vuelve conmigo vibes.

bulgariastan
Guest
bulgariastan

@Kris, you really believe the odds in December? One agency has issued a full odds outlook, and that agency is known for being very erratic in the early months. They also have San Marino in 14th. No offense San Marino, but we all know there’s no at that will happen.

Héctor
Guest
Héctor

Don’t think this song will qualify for the final, it’s symply average and boring. Xhesica Polo placing last should be considered a crime! For now, enjoy your non-qualification Albania.

MirkoJoshua
Guest
MirkoJoshua

Keeping in made that they are going to revamp the song, this is a good first impression. Sure it has potential, the problem is: will Albania be able to take advantage of that potential? Because, last year, they didn’t manage to… Let’s wait some months…

Chicken Kyiv?
Guest
Chicken Kyiv?

Cure for insomnia found in downtown Tirana!

Unless it has a major revamp or they replace the song entirely as they’ve done before, we can safely say we won’t be seeing Albania in the final.

Leo M
Guest
Leo M

She is a decent singer but the song is boring Sounds like Perralle from last year However, knowing Albania, they will change the song anyway

Bis
Guest
Bis

Very boring and non-descript. A likely non-qualifier from Albania

Ol
Guest
Ol

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-rnM-MwRHY

Christian and Luis here is the last winner of Eurovision 2016

Cristian Scarpone
Editor

@Ol “1944”? A very beautiful song, thank you for reminding me 😀 Since I can get what you want to point out… I think you cannot compare “Botë” with a very dark ethnic song with shades of trip-hop in the arrangements and a tearful painful climax. There is a world of choices behind a ‘dramatic ballad’, we are talking about two completely different songs.

I am not Jamala
Guest
I am not Jamala

DON’T MAKE IT ENGLISH PLEASE REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR!

Roelof Meesters
Guest
Roelof Meesters

They need to keep it in Albanian, and have an interesting erformance, than she might qualify. This is not a winner, but i like it a LOT

(J)ESC Fanatic
Guest
(J)ESC Fanatic

I’m starting to appreciate this song, it’s definitely a grower! Good luck, Lindita! 🙂

Kris
Guest
Kris

And the bookies agree with me…….Albania plunged to the bottom after the FiK final……first time that Portugal hasn’t occupied the bottom spot

ben005
Guest
ben005

Not happy with this song, they need to revamped it and put English lyrics in some part of the song.

Armenian
Guest
Armenian

I liked it! It’s a very strong and powerful song! I hope Albania will qualify to Final and will win! She has an AMAZING VOICE!

Mr. Nutella
Guest
Mr. Nutella

This is not my number one favorite from the contest, but I think it’ll qualify even if they change the language, as long as they keep the music.

Kris
Guest
Kris

Also can someone explain how Eva jam une ended up being last?? And that horrid song which I skipped each time in the playlist second!! Sorry don’t remember its name.

Kris
Guest
Kris

A song which hasn’t won its own NF televote rarely does well with the European voters…… So its not getting any non-balkan televotes……..maybe juries can make it like 10th in its semi and push it through……not a good start for NF season for me……but many readers here wanted her to win……and congrats to them. 0-1 for me though 🙁

Kris
Guest
Kris

As of right now Albania is not qualifying with this song in this version……’Shiu’ had a more pan-european appeal……but its not a horrendous song…….a little tweaking might help it qualify but it won’t be a top 15 unlike ‘Shiu’ could have been……..maybe they can have lindita sing ‘shiu’??

an esc fan
Guest
an esc fan

This is a song about her voice, and maybe she is able to finance herself, it seems that Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, and recently Bulgaria (who wants famous labels to contribuite with money) are not the only ones that have problems.
It is sad because if you have a good song, how hard can it be to just go to Kyev, even with that mandatory fee.

v_aus
Guest
v_aus

Great song, Albania. Love the way it builds and expands and sounds superb with the live orchestra. Let’s see what the final competition version will be like.

Greeks
Guest
Greeks

Racer is amazing!

Paloma_in_Swaziland
Guest
Paloma_in_Swaziland

This is a very crap song. I do not like one bit. My Polish associate and I had the conversation about it and we hate a lot!

PS: Iveta is a goddess!

mocosuburbian
Guest
mocosuburbian

also i love how the song slowly expands
and those soaring long notes yessssss what a bond song

mocosuburbian
Guest
mocosuburbian

i think i have a v strong top 1 🙂

F*CM IVETA
Guest
F*CM IVETA

This is amazing, fanatatic song and she deserred the victory 😉

Hugh
Guest
Hugh

Distinct vibes of the “Sherlock” theme, but still, a solid entry.

Racal
Guest
Racal

The beginning of the song is quite boring, they need to change that. It builds on to be very strong though! I like it, and I like that it’s 100% in Albanian (but they’ll probably change that).

Mark
Guest
Mark

I would hope she goes with a different, more of a pop song

Paul D.
Guest
Paul D.

I’m pretty sure she will sing at least half of the song in english in Kiev since she lives in the US and her english is very good

D
Guest
D

Best Albanian entry since “Suus”. Unless there’s a terrible revamp I think they can do well with this.

Griffin
Guest
Griffin

Finally! After four attempts Lindita finally made it! So happy for her tho

Amor Amankwah
Guest
Amor Amankwah

I’m not really impressed with this. She has a nice voice but the song is a bit bland.

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

Albania, do not mess this up!
Just send it…as it is….send it now.

irish esc
Guest
irish esc

omg omg she is making me emotinal
wow plz don’t ruin it albania like last year

bulgariastan
Guest
bulgariastan

I expect a revamp into English as usual. We know that Lindita can sing in English, so unless the lyrics are butchered, there shouldn’t be a problem. I also expect either more electronic elements to be added, or for the song to be stripped back, such as Fairytale last year.