After being revived after an eight-year hiatus, Romania’s Cerbul de Aur (Golden Stag) Festival has just celebrated its newest winner. Albanian singer and Festival i Këngës 56 finalist Inis Neziri has won the grand prize in the 2018 edition of the international music festival.
Last year, Inis competed in Albania’s long-running music competition Festival i Këngës with the song “Piedestal” (Pedestal). The song was a favourite going into the Albanian competition and eventually placed third in the grand final.
But the 17-year-old songstress wasn’t done with “Piedestal”. She performed it as part of her Golden Stag entry, showing that the song could connect with an international audience outside Albania.
Inis’ powerful vocals and expressive performance style won her the coveted Golden Stag trophy, along with a €25,000 euro cash prize.
The competition was judged by a jury made up of people involved in the music industry, from both Romania and abroad. This included the Eurovision 2018 star Eleni Fouriera, who may have recognised a spark of fuego in Inis.
Inis also performed “Dau viaţa mea pentru o iubire” (Give my life for love). It was the song that won Romanian singer Monica Anghel the Golden Stag victory back in 1996. Monica went on to represent Romania at Eurovision 2002 with “Tell Me Why”. Fans are now wondering if history will repeat and Inis will one day represent her country at Eurovision.
Other Eurovision stars also did well in the contest. The first runner-up was The Voice Belgique finalist and 1 In 360 entrant Olivier Kaye of Belgium. He also picked up the Audience Award.
Next placed was Antonia Gigovska of FYR Macedonia, who made an appearance in Lisbon as a backing vocalist for Eye Cue. The third runner-up was Kelly Joyce of France.
Ryan O’Shaughnessy — who represented Ireland at Eurovision 2018 with “Together” — made an impression in the host city, winning the Brașov City Prize.
The Festival Press Award went to Romanian rock singer Ovidiu Anton, who was to have represented Romania at Eurovision 2016 before the country was forced to withdraw. Another Eurovision 2016 alum also picked up an award. Lidia Isac, from neighbouring Moldova, picked up the Public Radio and Television Societies Prize.
What do you think? Should Inis Neziri enter Festival i Këngës 57 this year? Share your thoughts below!
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