The list of Festivali i Këngës 2020 singers is finally and officially out. Prior to the Thursday evening confirmation — which occurred on the RTSH evening news — Albanian web site Class Lifestyle published the list, sending Albanian media into a frenzy. Class Lifestyle is the web site owned by FiK 58 host Alketa Vejsiu and the show’s director Vera Grabocka. Both figures shared the link on their personal Facebook pages and we were all left to wonder: Could it really be true? Thankfully the hype was well-placed and FiK 58 is going to be fire.
The list of participants includes some very heavy hitters like Elvana Gjata. She’s an Albanian megastar with 1.4 million Instagram followers. In 2001 she was dubbed the Albanian Diva after finishing third at the Festival of Young Voices of Albania.
She’s lived up to the hype, becoming one of the most popular singers in the country and broader Balkan region. Among her many honours are a Balkan Music Award for Best Albanian Song of the Year and Best Music Video of the Year for “Afër dhe Larg”.
Her song “Mike” has around 73 million YouTube views.
Another big name is Arilena Ara.
Arilena won the second season of Albanian X Factor. Her first video single “Aeroplan” topped the charts and racked up around two million views in half a day. She followed that up with “Business Class”, which broke a million views in just nine hours. Her songs have also been played on radio stations in Romania and Russia, suggesting she’s got cross-border appeal.
Also on the list are two of Jonida Maliqi’s backing vocalists from Tel Aviv, Tiri Gjoci and Wendy Mancaku.
Festivali i Këngës 46 winner Olta Boka will be making her first return to the contest since her 2007 win. She went on to represent Albania at Eurovision 2008, where her song “Zemrën e lamë peng” placed 17th in the grand final.
FiK veteran Bojken Lako makes his seventh appearance in the contest, while Era Rusi and Kamela Islamaj each celebrate their fourth time.
Class Lifestyle reports that the songs were selected by a three-person jury consisting of: conductor Zani Ciko, singer Soni Malaj and Dorian Chene, head of the composition department at the Academy of Fine Arts.
FiK 58 singers
- Albërije Hadërgjonaj
- Aldo Bardhi
- Arilena Ara
- Bojken Lako
- Devis Xherahu
- Eli Fara & Stresi
- Elvana Gjata
- Era Rusi
- Genc Tukiçi & Nadia Tukiçi
- Kamela Islamaj
- Kastro Zizo
- Olta Boka
- Renis Gjoka
- Robert Berisha
- Sara Bajraktari
- Tiri Gjoci
- Uendi Mancaku
- Valon Shehu
— Eurovision Albania (@ESCAlbania) October 24, 2019
What do you think? Are you excited for the FiK 58 lineup? Who would you like to see represent Albania in Rotterdam? Tell us your thoughts below!