This coming Thursday, 19 December, Albania‘s Festivali i Këngës 58 will begin. Over three nights, the competing artists will perform their songs and one will be chosen to represent Albania at Eurovision 2020. But do YouTube view counts already give us an idea of who might be stepping onto the Rotterdam stage in May?
As of Saturday morning, there’s one video that has been seriously clocking up view counts. Since being uploaded on Monday 9 December, Elvana Gjata’s video for “Me tana” has had over 1.67 million views.
That already makes it the most popular video uploaded to broadcaster RTSH’s YouTube channel. In second place with 1.25 million views is Enida Tarifa’s “Fairytale” music video. In third place is a how-to video for making delicious Albanian baklava, with 1.22 million views.
Elvana has a substantial fanbase who have her on replay. The Albanian diva’s 2018 music video “Mike” has previously clocked up over 74 million views, showing her popularity.
But it’s not just Albanian fans who have been watching the “Me tana” video. The clip has been trending in neighbouring North Macedonia (No.10) and Greece (No.45). The video has also been spotting in trending in Switzerland.
The other 19 competing songs of Festivali i Këngës 58 don’t come close to the view counts of “Me tana”. Second on the list is Arilena Ara’s clip for “Shaj”. It has over 400,000 views but that’s only one-quarter of the 1.67 million that “Me tana” has. In third place, Eli Fara & Stresi’s “Bohemë” has over 249,000 views.
Does Elvana Gjata’s YouTube popularity predict a Festivali i Këngës win?
In contests that have a televote component, it’s reasonable to see a correlation between YouTube views and contest success. In both national finals and Eurovision itself, acts that have popular music videos have gone on to place well. It suggests that existing fans of a song are inspired to vote.
But there’s another factor to consider with Festivale i Këngës 58: there’s no televote.
The winner of the contest will be decided by jury vote alone, which is standard for Festivali i Këngës. And while Elvana’s fans may be loving her song, the members of the jury could have other ideas.
Eurovision Fun reports that Greek maestro Dimitris Kontopoulos is one of the experts who will serve on the FiK58 jury.
But the man knows his bops. The frequent Eurovision song composer has previously been behind such uptempo entries as “Shady Lady”, “This Is Our Night” and “You Are the Only One”. If Elvana’s “Me tana” is staged and performed well, it might be just the sort of thing that would appeal to Kontopoulos’ tastes.
Or could another song come alive at the FiK58 grand final and win over the jury?
Festivali i Këngës 58 begins on Thursday night (December 19), continues on Friday, with the grand final this Sunday, December 22.
What do you think? Do the “Me tana” YouTube views predict a win for Elvana? Or will another act win? Tell us your thoughts below!