Albania‘s broadcaster RTSH has confirmed that it will go ahead with the 59th edition of its long-running song contest Festivali i Këngës. As usual, the contest will also be used to select Albania’s entry for Eurovision 2021. This means that last year’s winner Arilena Ara will most likely not receive a free pass to Rotterdam.
Arilena Ara won the last edition of Albania’s national final and was expecting to head Rotterdam last May with her song “Fall From The Sky”. Unfortunately, Eurovision 2020 was cancelled due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This meant that the X Factor Albania winner did not have the chance to realise her Eurovision dream in 2020.
Broadcaster RTSH has now confirmed that Festivali i Këngës 59 will take place this December. While the song festival predates Albania’s Eurovision participation, since 2003 the winner of FiK has always gone on to represent Albania at Eurovision the following year.
This strongly suggests that Arilena Ara will not be chosen internally to represent Albania at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 in Rotterdam. But it doesn’t rule out the possibility of Arilena returning to FiK 59 as a contestant to try her luck again for Eurovision 2021.
More details about Festivali i Këngës 59
Local news media Zëri reports that although there are still many uncertainties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become clear that the Festivali i Këngës will take place no matter what.
Currently, all large public gatherings in Albania are indefinitely cancelled. It is not known if this restriction will remain in place in December and what effect, if any, COVID-19 precautions will have on Festivali i Këngës 59.
Festivali i Këngës has been held annually since 1962. In 2003, the festival began double duty as Albania’s national selection, with the FiK winner also representing Albania at Eurovision.
Today a meeting took place between the Deputy General Director of RTSH Martin Leka and people in the field like musicians and songwriters. Issues regarding the organization of FiK59 were discussed in this meeting. Among topics discussed were an evaluation commission for the song selection and criteria for participation.
The submissions for FiK 59 will be made to the selection committee this September. The official dates for Festivali i Këngës will be announced at a later time.
Are you excited about Festivali i Këngës 59? Do you think it’s fair that Arilena Ara will not be chosen automatically for Eurovision 2021? Let us know in the comment section down below!