Festivali i Këngës 56 is a couple of months away but already the potential artist rumours have started. Albanian media has started buzzing with the suggestion that The X Factor winner Arilena Ara will take part in upcoming Albanian national selection. Let’s take a look at her music career.
In 2012, at the age of 14, Arilena competed on the second season of The X Factor Albania. She survived 16 weeks of live shows and showed off her vocal skills with a wide range of songs.
This included performances of Eurovision winners “Satellite” and “Wild Dances”, as well as Sia’s talent show staple “Titanium” and a grand-final duet with Albania’s 2010 Eurovision singer, Juliana Pasha. It was all enough to secure the win, but that was just the beginning of her music career.
Last year Arilena competed in another Albanian song contest, Kenga Magjike — like a hipper version of Festivali i Këngës. She competed with the song “Nëntori” (November).
While it placed third in the festival, the song went on to be a major hit, not just in Albania but in other European countries as “I’m Sorry”. It’s led to Arilena touring Romania, Greece, and Russia and building her international fanbase.
Arilena Ara clearly has the voice, the performance experience and the international exposure to make a great Eurovision candidate for Albania, so it’s been no surprise that she’s strongly rumoured to be on the list for Festivali i Këngës 56.
According to the rumours, Arilena has decided to work with the same producers behind “Nentori” to find the perfect song for Festivali i Kenges. But her creative team includes Macedonian producer Darko Dimitrov alongside Albanian lyricist Lindon Berisha. RTSH doesn’t allow foreign creatives to take part in the festival so this may mean that Dimitrov will have to sit this one out.
But if Arilena does make it to Festivali i Këngës, to get the ticket to Lisbon she will first need to win FiK.
In recent years, the Albanian national final has selected songs that are substantially revamped before Eurovision — and have resulted in much less successful results. But the crossover success of “Nëntori”/”I’m Sorry” has demonstrated, Arilena is able to release an English version of a song without losing the magic of the original.
This year Festivali i Kenges will take part on 21,22 and 23 December, where the show will be hosted by Adi Krasta. The confirmed acts for FiK56 are expected to be confirmed in coming weeks.
What do you think? Would you like to see Arilena Ara at Eurovision? Can she break Albanian’s non-qualification streak? Sound off below!