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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jeff
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jeff
schillinggggg
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schillinggggg

what time is it?

Todd Baysinger
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Todd Baysinger

My vote goes to Inis Neziri. The best talent I’ve heard in a very long time. Powerful vocals, heartwarming personality, and a gorgeous smile make her a true winner.
Go Inis

Rita
Guest
Rita

I am albanian and we pretty much hate this show. It’s not the same as it used to be before. Last year was a disaster, everyone criticised it for being unprofessional. I hope one day we can change this outdated format.

CookyMonzta
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CookyMonzta

What will it take to make Kënga Magjike the national selection show, even for ONE year? Better yet, they should alternate, from year-to-year, between KM and FiK.

Coriolan
Guest
Coriolan

Albania should stop changing the song that wins (the same about France, and especially Italy, now that they have 4 minutes in Sanremo).

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

I wouldn’t say that about Sanremo. Indeed, “Occidentali’s Karma” was longer than 3 minutes (3:35). Where they went wrong was that they chose the wrong way to edit the song, and picked the wrong part of the song to edit; not to mention that they presented it in Kyiv at a lower key. Are they telling me that Francesco couldn’t sing it on stage in the same key that it was recorded? I found that hard to accept.

Celeste
Guest
Celeste

You say France as if we change our song every years, is happened only two time in more than 60 years. Alma last year and St Pier in 2001, both wanted to add english, and for next year one of the rules of our new national finale is no change for the winning song.

TJ
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TJ

Anything but another shrieking woman who just wants to show off with long, high notes would be great.

Coriolan
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Coriolan

Is true, screaming is not singing, tho I can understand you can’t help it once you noticed you can do it.
Just because you can scream, should not mean you must do it.

Jake
Guest
Jake

The problem is not FIK. The problem is Albania always wanting to change the essence of what made the song so appealing. They take a very nice composed sound and turn it in generic pop that feels like countless other songs at the contest.

Imagine if Rona switched her song into English and added synth base sound to it. It would lose all the magic. And would not be a top 10 song. Own your heritage and your sound Albania and repeat what Portugal did this year.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

Aye. It still irritates me how they turned what I thought was a shoo-in for top-10 (Hersi’s “Zemërimi I Një Natë”, 2014) into a non-qualifier by going English and taking the air and the bass out of that bumpin’ music and turning it into clichéd pop-rock. They did pretty much the same thing to Eneda’s “Përrallë” (2016).

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

And as always, we won’t know their real entry until mid-March.

CookyMonzta
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CookyMonzta

Are you expecting that they might once again go English and/or water down the music, thereby putting the song at risk of not qualifying? Or do you think they might be forced to enter a new song, like they did for Elhaida in 2015?

Jo
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Jo

I imagine a guy singing a rock entry, or maybe a Michael-Bublé-ish song, that would be great and for a change.

Polegend Godgarina
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Polegend Godgarina

Congratulations, you’ve just imagined their non-qualifier 2006 entry.

Jo
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Jo

Thank you.

James
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James

They did had “Identitet” back in 2013. It was great for what it was but unfortunately missed the cut that year.

Jo
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Jo

Well, they send ballad every year and still not working.
But I’m thinking on something classier, far from those entries from 2006 and 2013 (2006 wasn’t that bad, just tacky). You can do rock or soul without going nuts on the staging.

CookyMonzta
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CookyMonzta

I thought it was pretty damn good rock. Unfortunately it just wasn’t that kind of year for hard rock to get noticed. The following year would be different.

YoungsterJoey
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YoungsterJoey

Greeeeeeat, that time of the year where each song has an electric guitar solo.

EscAU
Guest
EscAU

They’ve sent the same screaming girl with the same song for 6 years in a row try something new this year or drop fik as preselection for esc? 😛

William Lee Adams
Admin

I don’t get the four-minute rule. There is a big difference between a three-minute Eurovision song and a four-minute song. Making composers come with a finished, Eurovision-ready product could improve their fortunes dramatically.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

As a songwriter, I generally don’t write to a time limit – I leave that to editors to sort out. I never liked Eurovision’s draconian 3-minute rule. Songs should have the option of running between 3-4 minutes, to fully explore the creativity of the music. In that way, FiK and San Remo have this absolutely right, in my opinion.
Eurovision loses some credibility as a true “song contest” with its 3-minute rule. But I still love it of course.

Colin
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Colin

I find that rule somewhat frustrating too. It is silly when 3.15 songs need to brush off 15 sec. to make it finished.

Then again, if there was no time limitation, we could end-up with songs like Nick Cave’s “Curse of Millhaven” or Within Temptation’s “The Truth Beneath the Rose”, which about 7 minutes. 42 songs like that could prolong the event even further.

I’d say, cut down on commercials, intermissions and interviews, but we all know how televisions earn their living. 😉

Jakub
Guest
Jakub

That’s true, but then I have a feeling that many people there might care about FiK more than they do about Eurovision (no source for this statement, though, just a thought!). The former is their tradition in some way, while the other was added much more recently, and that’s probably FiK rules aren’t being adjusted to fit those of ESC.

James
Guest
James

One way I can see potential ESC entries go around with this rule was insert a long instrumental solo that would be easy to remove when editing the winning song for Eurovision.

This was the case for 2009 when the FiK version of Carry Me In Your Dreams lasted a minute or so too long because of the long instrumental solo but it sounded great as a three-minuter when that part was taken out.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Yeah that was a dream song to edit. 🙂 Great anthem too.

beccaboo1212
Guest

I’ve got an idea. How about if FiK drops the live orchestra for a change, that way prerecorded instrumentation will be used from the speakers. Orchestras are too old-fashioned for ESC selections anyway.

Jakub
Guest
Jakub

I wouldn’t like to see Albania changing its 56-year old tradition for the sake of something they’re participating from 2004. I’d rather see them organising a completely different ESC-related event, but that could prove really costly, as I imagine.

sam
Guest
sam

i think the live orchestra is amazing, its a reason fik is one of my favorite selections

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Unfortunately, we are in polite disagreement, again. 😀
The orchestral backing is one of the main reasons FiK stands out and stands apart. The dynamic live sound suits a pre-festive music event very well, in my opinion.

Jo
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Jo

FiK isn’t just a selection for Eurovision. It’s like Sanremo.

Elmar
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Elmar

PLEASE, do not send another female ballad, Albania. I love ballads myself, but I do not like the ones you send (except 2012 and 2008), plus you have been sending female ballads since 2013. I mean that’s too much already!

UrbanSymphony
Guest
UrbanSymphony

Crossing my fingers for Enxhi Nasufi, I want Flaka to come back but she said she isn’t gonna participate anymore so :/