The day is finally upon us. The first national final of Eurovision 2019 season begins tonight with 22 acts set to compete in Festivali i Këngës 57.

We won’t know the final outcome until Saturday’s third show. But in the meantime we do have one result for you.

After all the competing songs were released ten days ago we asked you to vote for your favourite. After counting a total of 7,959 votes we can reveal that you chose Lorela Sejdini and her song “Vetmi” (“Loneliness”) as your winner. She earned an impressive 2,533 votes, or 31.83% of all those cast.

After failing to make it through the semi-finals of last year’s contest, Lorela will be hoping to go all the way this year and take home the crown.

In his review of all the song clips our William wasn’t initially feeling the guitar-driven track, saying: “This falls into the bland category if I’m totally honest”.

However, his opinion quickly changed once Lorela ramped things up a notch:

Oh, she picked it up! Oh, and then she brought it. That is going to be an amazing transition from verse to chorus. Yas, take me higher! From 0 to 60, our girl is slaying. Woo, yeah. You better wait for it, but when it comes it comes real good. Wow, that was a surprise!

Y’all are obviously loving the change of pace in the song as well. Will the FiK jury agree, or will they have written the song off in its first two minutes? We won’t have long to find out.

Just behind Lorela in the poll and finishing in second place is a big fan favourite. Mirud was the only other act to receive over 2,000 (or even 1,000) votes. He picked up 2,059 (25.87%) for his entry “Nënë” (“Mother”).

Rounding out the top three is Jonida Maliqi and her powerful traditional ballad “Ktheju tokës” (“Return to the land”). She earned 913 votes, which is 11.47% of the total.

The other two acts reaching the top five of the poll were also the only other two to receive over 5% of the vote. Soni Maliqi finished in fourth, picking up 640 votes (8.04%) for “Më e fortë” (“Louder”). Fifth place went to Klodiana Vata and “Mbrëmje e pafund”; she earned 486 votes (6.11%).

Full Poll Results

The first show of FiK57 starts at 20:45 CET tonight. You can watch it live on the RTSH website here.

Owing to the changes made to the festival’s format this year, this evening we’ll see each of the 22 songs performed live with the RTSH Symphonic Orchestra.

Tomorrow’s second show will see all the songs performed with a backing track and in a Eurovision-style arrangement that will make use of staging techniques.

In the final on December 22, we can expect a more traditional FiK experience as a professional jury will finally select Albania’s entry for Eurovision 2019.

Are you excited for FiK57 to start tonight? Do you think the results of our poll will in fact become reality? Who are you supporting in this year’s festival? Let us know all your thoughts in the comments sections below!

Read more Albania news here

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Lourdes
Guest
Lourdes

Miruuuud!!! Goosebumps!

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

The lies, the delusion! It’s known that she shared the poll on her social media for her followers to vote, when in reality nobody’s rooting for that noisy screamfest.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

LOL. She actually did very well live. 😀

Julius Caesar
Guest
Julius Caesar

Does she even have that number of followers? I strongly believe the poll is hacked.

M_K
Guest
M_K

22 – Orgesa Zaimi – “Hije”

I loved her entry last year and this one is also good, even though she tried a bit too hard to re-create what she had done last year (something which wouldn’t matter in the actual ESC, of course). Very charismatic and very ambitious.

8.5/10

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

Orgesa is super interesting. I love the contrast between her entries and FiK’s environment. I have this feeling that if Albania selects her someday, she can create some real impact in Eurovision.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

It’s the “wildcard” of the night. It will probably split the Jury down the middle.
So, any favourites from tonight?

M_K
Guest
M_K

21 – Aurel Thëllimi – “Të dua ty”

Some vintage drama going on here. Call me crazy, but if this is staged properly (maybe with some kind of cinematic approach) it might actually work in Eurovision. Aurel Thëllimi’s a pro and although his performance is far from “fresh”, it’s flawless. Overall still not my favourite entry.

5.5/10

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

This is a contender, for sure. Not my favourite either, but I would understand if it won.

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

Oldschool for sure, but great use of the choir and the orchestra. Aurel gave an emotional performance. The biggest grower of the night for me.

M_K
Guest
M_K

That left mannequin leaves little to the imagination.

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

I hope nobody from RTVE is watching this performance! Beautiful performance by the host, but also a great example of how terrible staging can ruin an experience.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

It’s also that moment when the Presenter is singing better than most of the contestants. Hmmm.

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

One of the best of the night, for sure!

M_K
Guest
M_K

Are there only grannies allowed on the Albanian edition of Master Chef?

Albanian
Guest
Albanian

It’s a cooking competition just for grandmas actually

M_K
Guest
M_K

20 – Eranda Libohova – “100 pyetje”

I would like it if it didn’t sound like a copy of some other song I can’t put my finger on.

5/10

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Yeah, it sounds like a French song. But that’s why I like it. 🙂

M_K
Guest
M_K

19 – Eliza Hoxha – “Pengu”

Great power-ballad. The chorus might come a little too late for Eurovision.

8.5/10

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Wow Lorela! A fierce and engaging performance. She is 100 times better than the song she is singing. Watch out for her; a definite star.
So does this mean the poll-riggers were actually right? 😀

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

Same thoughts. Beautiful woman, promising singer, but her song is not enough.

M_K
Guest
M_K

18 – Lorela Sejdini – “Vetmi”

This song is an example of what Albania in Eurovision is mainly about, but with a more contemporary feel to it. It’s very explosive, dramatic and captivating, but not too emotional in a sappy kind of way. Not bad.

7.5/10

M_K
Guest
M_K

17 – Marko Strazimiri & Imbro – “Leyla”

Their two voices don’t seem to do a lot for each other. The song leaves me stone-cold.

2/10

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

I enjoyed it, but one of the guys was feeling it much more than the other. They haven’t interacted much also. It’s still time to show them some Meta & Moro.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

I liked the song, but not the singers. Sorry.

M_K
Guest
M_K

16 – Bruno Pollogati – “Nuk ka stop”

Do you remember when in the Harry Potter books Voldemort was barely alive after the first book but somehow managed to escape to Albania where he survived until someone put new life into him? The same seems to have happened to funk music. Retro stuff is always debatable (and if you go down that road, you really have to stand by your decision), but I must say that I find this entry very, very likeable. The performance was great – very smooth and charismatic.

8.5/10

M_K
Guest
M_K

15 – Kelly – “A më ndjen”

There is much drama and Kelly seems to be into this song but I don’t find the melody quite exciting. The blues guitar in the second part of the song does not really seem to blend with the orchestra. A weak melody and a messy arrangement are usually staples for disaster. It’s not THAT terrible, but overall, I don’t really like it.

4.5/10

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Hilarious electric guitar solo for Kelli!
He did well, but I was amused by that silly electric guitar. 😀

M_K
Guest
M_K

14 – Artemisa Mithi & Febi Shkurti – “Dua ta besoj”

I don’t really know what to say about this. The two performers themselves seem a little bored. The prom outfits, the rap parts, the “oh-oh-oh” chorus… I just don’t buy it, sorry.

2/10

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

@ M_K: Haha! Ouch. That’s funny because I wrote down that it was one of the more contemporary songs of the selection and that it might get some support from the jury! 😀

M_K
Guest
M_K

Well, this is still Eurovision, so anything is possible. Anything. 😀

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

Really liked her, but the whole thing hasn’t worked for me either.

M_K
Guest
M_K

13 – Klint Çollaku – “Me jetë”

And yet another good ballad. I like the first verse, but somehow the atmosphere that has been created seems to sort of dissolve during the chorus. The singer’s vocal delivery is very focused on being “clean”, it’s very perfection-driven which does not work too well with the R&B elements in the second half of the song. He doesn’t really sing from his soul, it seems.

6/10

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Klint had an amazing vocal. I’m quite taken with him. The song suits the orchestra well.

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

Loved his vocals, but I think Mirud’s song is more effective and it’s tough not to compare them.

M_K
Guest
M_K

12 – Klodiana Vata – “Mbrëmje e pafund”

I get the idea, but it’s a bit messy, isn’t it? Both the song (FiK ten years ago) and the performance (pre-2002 Schlager MF) are a bit vintage. Overall ok, but there seem to be better options this year.

6.5/10

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Klodiana is great on camera, and her live vocals were strong if a little screechy at times. She might qualify. Let’s see.

M_K
Guest
M_K

I don’t think there will be semi final eliminations this year since all songs are performed tonight and one more time tomorrow (without an orchestra).

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

If I haven’t read it wrong, all acts perform today with an orchestra and tomorrow in a “Eurovision style presentation”. I don’t know if all of them come back to the final though.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Thanks Sabrina. I didn’t know that.
I have edited my message above, to correct myself.

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

You’re welcome! By the way, I like the idea. I’m curious to see how it will affect our impression on some acts.

M_K
Guest
M_K

11 – Elona Islamaj – “Në këtë botë kalimtare”

Another good ballad with just the right amount of drama. Sadly, the singer seems a bit lost on stage and doesn’t seem to get 100% into it. The background vocals could be used more effectively to give the chorus a little more depth.

7/10

M_K
Guest
M_K

10 – Elton Deda – “Qetësisht”

It’s a decent (albeit a bit boring) mid-tempo pop rock song that doesn’t really stay with you once it’s over. Not really a contender for victory imo.

4.5/10

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Really strong live voice. It was like listening to a recording. The song belonged in the previous century though, sorry.

M_K
Guest
M_K

I agree. Elton Deda always delivers like a pro but his songs are always a bit… yeah…

M_K
Guest
M_K

09 – Jonida Maliqi – “Ktheju tokës”

A typical FiK ballad with a slightly mystical, dramatic feel to it and a great composition. It build up very, very nicely but sadly the singer’s voice got a bit lost in the second half (due to amateurish sound engineering). This could be a “moment” at Eurovision if staged nicely.

8.5/10

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

This is my favorite song in the studio version, but I also thought her voice was a little lost in the background. By the way, I felt the same about Mirud (also a strong contender for me) when he was singing with his lower register. And I believe in both cases, the singers paid for technical mistakes. Both songs can have a much bigger impact.

M_K
Guest
M_K

🙁 I really don’t get it. They do invest in a full orchestra but the sound engineering is obviously done by an untrained intern.

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

It’s also weird that apparently they don’t have a mic in the audience. So the hosts keep joking and laughing as they were in an empty room.

M_K
Guest
M_K

I don’t speak Albanian so I thought chances are that their jokes are just not funny.

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

Hahaha, same here. But if they were that bad, I guess we would be able to listen to at least some negative reactions 😀

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Live orchestras are expensive; I know this from experience. The organisers could probably only afford a few sound techs in the budget after that. 😀
Maybe Deban can ask the organisers? Might be fun.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Same feeling here. A lot of potential. 🙂

M_K
Guest
M_K

08 – Soni Malaj – “Më e fortë”

Great energy (even though I think the energy put into this needs to be a bit more focused). It’s a decent catchy (but not really sticky) tune that might work ok in Eurovision with a bit more variation and precision.

6.5/10

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

This was better than I had expected. She had a confident performance after Mirud’s issues, and I enjoyed the song. Pleasantly surprising for me. 🙂

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

I agree with both of you. It was better than I was expecting, but I also thought she needs to focus all the energy she put in the performance. It has potential.

M_K
Guest
M_K

I must admit I didn’t really mind the flaws in Mirud’s performance that much. Sure, he can take it up a notch, but I got the idea of how it will be if well done.

Anna
Guest
Anna

So far Mirud and Lidia had the best performances.

M_K
Guest
M_K

07 – Mirud – “Nënë”

I like this song a lot. It’s a very emotional and heartfelt ballad that builds up nicely and never gets boring over three minutes. It could pull a “Kuula” in Tel Aviv it were chosen for Eurovision. I think it needs great lighting and camera work to create a more intimate atmosphere.

9/10

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Agreed that the song is 9/10, but the performance was… not alright on the night.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Owh dear! Poor Mirud – That really did go badly for him. I hope that’s enough to make it to the final. #MicShock

M_K
Guest
M_K

06 – Dilan Reka – “Karma”

Now that’s classic FiK “I wrote this song with Eurovision in mind” stuff. Definitely a bit cheap (in a good way) and a bit too disco for 2019 but I enjoy it. Very confident performance.

8/10

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

Maybe a little too confident? It hurt my ears a little bit. And yes, very much a “made for Eurovision song”. So far, I’m still with Lidia.

M_K
Guest
M_K

I see what you mean, yes. Obviously still needs some work.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Crazy vocals from Dilan Reka. 🙂
Even crazier yellow sunglasses! I feel a William GIF coming on Twitter. 😛

M_K
Guest
M_K

05 – Gjergj Leka – “Një ditë tjetër”

It falls in a similar category as the previous song, it was simply a bit more dramatic and a bit less sappy. Ok, but not a winner.

5/10

M_K
Guest
M_K

04 – Kujtim Prodani – “Babela”

Every year, FiK has one or two songs in that style (blues guitar, mid-tempo, spoken bits…). I guess it’s based on a strong narrative that I simply cannot connect to because I don’t speak the language. I can tell that there is something sentimental (borderline cheesy) about it. Not really taken by this one, sorry.

4/10

Fiore
Guest
Fiore

Could Lidia actually win? Honestly that performance was perfect.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Lidia has been my favourite so far tonight. Surprising, but true. 🙂

M_K
Guest
M_K

03 – Lidia Lufi – “Rrëfehem”

There is something fascinating about this song. It does have quite a few odd elements (such as the weird transition from the first verse to the first chorus), the second half is a bit lengthy and the presentation a tad too stagy to be taken seriously – but this could be great with some extra work.

7.5/10

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Third song had a great live vocal. Well done. 🙂

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

It sounded much better live than in the studio version.

M_K
Guest
M_K

Agreed.

M_K
Guest
M_K

02 – Alar Band – “Dashuria nuk mjafton”

It’s like a pastiche of previous Moldovan entries (“Hora din Moldova”, “Lautar”, “So Lucky”, “Lucky Day”). It’s a happy little folk tune that might stand out in a field of more straightforward pop songs, even it doesn’t really have anything new to offer. Sadly, the live performance lacks energy and ambition and therefore fails to really sell the song for what it is.

6/10

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

It sounded great, but had zero choreography. I know that’s normal for this early stage, but even so.

M_K
Guest
M_K

Yeah, but it was not only the lack of choreography; the singer didn’t really seem to believe in what he was doing there.

M_K
Guest
M_K

01 – Bojken Lako – “Jeto jetën”

There is nothing ever really wrong with Bojken Lako’s songs, they just never seem to be ambitious enough in the context of a contest. While I generally like rockish ballads with this kind of moody atmosphere and hence personally enjoy this song, I don’t think it would stand a chance internationally. Besides, the live performance lacks some emotional depth and charisma.

5.5/10

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

It was nice to start us off with. 🙂

Stian F
Guest
Stian F

Mirud is by far the best choice for Albania to do well in the contest. Amazing voice, great song and good looking. Jonida is second best choice… Many good songs this year but Vetmi is not one of them.

M_K
Guest
M_K

How long will it take until they fix her mic?

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

I have tuned in. Starting with the compulsory 15 minutes of adverts.

M_K
Guest
M_K

The show’s about to start… happy Eurovision season, everybody! 🙂

Rome
Guest
Rome

Whaaat??? No way lol. I think that the winner will be either Jonida or Mirud.

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

Meh, she has the worst song. No way she’s winning anything…
The best acts for ESC are Mirud, Jonida, Klinti or Aurel.

Dani
Guest
Dani

The real winner is Mirud or Jonida.

Lila
Guest
Lila

Uhhh, what. Looks like someone rigged the polls there’s no way Lorela and Mirud had that big of a lead when NOBODY is talking about them. The winner will be Jonida or Soni.

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

Nobody is talking about Mirud? lol

Lila
Guest
Lila

Check the YouTube views. Mirud is nowhere near the top.

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

just like Eugent.

Lila
Guest
Lila

During last year’s FiK? Incorrect.

Rome
Guest
Rome

Well, that is not the kind of a song you could listen on repeat. So YouTube views don’t really say something on this matter.

Igliiii Limeee
Guest

SONI Malaj will win, or maybe jonida. One of them. Sorry about mirud though

Weißbrot
Guest
Weißbrot

We all know it’s Jonida, Soni and Mirud tho….

Užupen Pabloñiten
Guest
Užupen Pabloñiten

One word: LOL