Albania has a history of serving national final hype early. This year is no different, as the Mediterranean country was the first to reveal its potential entries for Eurovision 2021. Now, following the first two nights of Festivali i Këngës 59, it’s time to pick your winner from among the 18 finalists.

Who should win Festivali i Këngës 59?

We’ve previously run two polls to predict a winner of FiK 59. In our first poll of the season, which was based on the studio cuts of the songs, our dear readers named Anxhela Peristeri the winner with “Karma”, followed closely by Rosela Gjylbegu and “Vashëzo”. Rosela got 29.2% of the vote, but Anxhela’s 29.95% was enough to win.

After the first night, however, y’all had a change of heart! In our new poll, based on the first show of FiK 59, Inis Neziri emerged victorious. Her song “Pendesë” got 22.36% of the vote. That put her just 61 votes ahead of second-place finisher Era Rusi with “Zjarri im”. She earned 20.5% of the vote.

Festivali i Këngës 59 finalists

Now, after the second night of acoustic performances, the field has been narrowed from 25 to just 18. (There were, of course, originally 26 acts set for FiK 59, but sadly Manjola Nallbani had to withdraw due to her positive COVID-19 test result ahead of the show).

The seven acts eliminated before the final are: Agim Poshka, Enxhi Nasufi, Erik Lloshi, Fatos Shabani, Franc Koruni, Klint Çollaku and Stefan Marena.

That means the 18 qualifiers are:

  • Sardi Strugaj – “Kam me t’ba me kajt”
  • Xhesika Polo – “Më mbron”
  • Orgesa Zaimi – “Kujtimet s’kanë formë”
  • Wendi Mancaku – “Vesi i shpirti tim”
  • Era Rusi – “Zjarri im”
  • Gjergj Kaçinari – “Me jep jetë”
  • Rosela Gjylbegu – “Vashëzo”
  • Devis Xherahu – “Peng”
  • Mirud – “Nëse vdes”
  • Gigliola Haveriku – “E lirë”
  • Viktor Tahiraj – “Nënë”
  • Kamela Islama – “Kujtimet s’kanë formë”
  • Florent Abrashi – “Vajzë”
  • Inis Neziri – “Pendesë”
  • Evi Reçi – “Tjerr”
  • Anxhela Peristeri – “Karma”
  • Festina Mejzini – “Kush je ti dashuri”
  • Kastro Zizo – “Vallja e jetës”

Now it’s time for you to vote for your favourites. You can vote for as many acts as you’d like, but you can only submit your votes one time. The poll results will not be visible until voting closes. Voting ends 23 December at 18:00 CET.

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ESCFan2009
ESCFan2009
5 months ago

Big fan of “Tjerr” here <3 Gooo Evi!

Colin
Colin
5 months ago

For everyone wanting for Era Rusi to win – I honestly wouldn’t mind! She is excellent on stage, her song is energetic and is exactly the genre many fans have been craving for Albania for awhile now. Even though I have several songs ahead of it on my list, I see that Albania is much more likely to send a ballad and that fans needs some bops too. It likely wouldn’t be *my personal* top 10 song, but 41 songs cannot be in top 10 anyway and I feel like Era’s win would really cheer a lot of people up.

Last edited 5 months ago by Colin
Lolek
Lolek
5 months ago
Reply to  Colin

I think Era could do decently at Eurovision, especially if she is one of the few “ethnic sounding” high energy songs that are selected to go to Eurovision. She would certainly stand out from other entries.

ALEX
ALEX
5 months ago

Give Era her win, she participated so many times in the past in FIK. It’s her time to shine and it’s exactly what Europe needs in 2021.

Last edited 5 months ago by ALEX
Idksmth
Idksmth
5 months ago

Judging by this discussion it should be an interesting evening with a result that might be unexpected. My pick would be Era Rusi, Inis Neziri or Xhesika Polo. I’m sad that Enxhi didn’t make it tho, she deserved to make it.

Ethan
Ethan
5 months ago

I’m trying not to get too hyped about Eva before the inevitable jury letdown, but honestly I love Pendese, Nese Vdes and Karma, and Me Mbron live was incredible! While I’d be disappointed if Era doesn’t win, there’s still plenty of optimism ahead of the final 🙂

Last edited 5 months ago by Ethan
Navi
Navi
5 months ago

Please, Albania, don’t send anothwr girl with a powerful voice singing a ballad. I want to see Era in Rotterdam but I don’t believe she’ll win.

HelloIreland1990
HelloIreland1990
5 months ago
Reply to  Navi

Could not have said it better myself – which says a lot of course! ?? I just hope for anything than a diva ott ballad

Jamie
Jamie
5 months ago

Mirud’s unplugged version of the song is just spectacular. I wish he kept it.

Héctor
Héctor
5 months ago

Eliminating Fatos Shabani in the SF is the biggest proof of these jurors’ bad taste. “Ty” was my fav, and I’m not saying it should win, but how you eliminate it in sea of uninteresting and pretentious songs? It was simple, atmospheric and emotional. That’s how Salvador Sobral won, right? Anyway, what can I expect from the people that choose literally the same ballad year after year just be slaughtered in the SFs? My fav right now is Sardi Strugaj’s “Kam me t’ba me kajt”. At least it has something different to the others. My top for the the final:… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Héctor
Una
Una
5 months ago

“Ty” did not qualify but I will still love it. I will root by default for Inis. I liked her previous entry a lot more than this one so I am a bit of a fan. Good luck everyone.

Héctor
Héctor
5 months ago
Reply to  Una

I see you. “Ty” deserved much better.

Maxim
Maxim
5 months ago

When the songs came out, my favourite was Anxhela, after the first night it was Inis and now I like Xhesika’s song as well. I hope Inis will win though.

At the same time, this selection reminds me of how strong last year was. I really loved Me tana, Ende and Eja merre. What if Elvana entered this year …

Alexis
Alexis
5 months ago

Mirud’s acoustic version on the second night was amazing. It reminded me of a medieval wedding 🙂 No comparison with the first nights version.
Inis song is nice but it resembles a lot Norway’s song by Ulrikke, “attention”.

Colin
Colin
5 months ago
Reply to  Alexis

Interesting that you are mentioning “Attention” as a comparison, since it already crossed my mind. Both songs have that “crystal perfect” quality to them. Elegant compositions, good lyrics and incredible vocals. And as Attention last year, Pendese (if it remains virtually un-revamped) would have to be awarded with high ratings and a respectable place in the finals. Still, both tick so many winner boxes to a T that I get if someone would find them less “relatable”, maybe? Sometimes being an “obvious frontrunner” can result in less passionate fan response. I am still a fan of both of these songs… Read more »

Nicky
Nicky
5 months ago

Kastro or Viktor pls, give us that shock result

Nobody
Nobody
5 months ago

Even though his performance on the first night wasn’t the best (I have not watched the second night), I still hope Mirud will win. We still have 5 months until Eurovision, so there is plenty of time to improve!
I also voted for Era, I just love her energy on stage and I think Zjarri im will especially appeal to televoters in Eurovision (which makes me worried it will not win FiK because it only has a jury)

By the way, I’m really surprised Enxhi didn’t make the final because she sounded great in my opinion.

Loin dici
Loin dici
5 months ago

At this point the biggest contenders for the trophy are Inis, Anxhela, and Xhesika, with Era, Mirud, and possibly Orgesa following behind. Out of the three, I can see producers are in favor of Inis, but Xhesika would be the best pick IMO.

For Albanian members: Is Anxhela and Xhesika pronounced like Angela and Jessica?

Loin dici
Loin dici
5 months ago
Reply to  Loin dici

Although, if I propose the question, “how would these songs fare in Eurovision ever they won?”, … I strongly think Inis can appeal to the Western voters, and Anxhela can collect more from the Eastern countries. Xhesika would be somewhere in the middle, but she needs a better team to stage her since she might get lost between other songs ever she got put in the middle of a running order.

Last edited 5 months ago by Loin dici
Nicky
Nicky
5 months ago
Reply to  Loin dici

Inis = Arilena 2.0 duh

James
James
5 months ago
Reply to  Loin dici

This is just plain guessing from me because I love languages, but if it’s similar with the “gj” sound of the major Southeastern Slavic languages then “xh” probably stands in for the English hard “j“/soft “g” sound as in “AnGela” and “Jessica”. 🙂

Colin
Colin
5 months ago
Reply to  James

I checked out the Albanian alphabet online and it turns out that some letters are indeed much simpler to pronounce than it seemed at first: Xh / Gj = J in Jam or Jazz, so it’s pronounced like Jessica, Angela, Engie and Jerj C is pronounced exactly like in South Slavic countries (as ”ts” in ”tsar” or ”zz” in ”pizza”), so it’s pronounced Wendi Mantsaku C with a ”tail” under is pronounced like South Slavic ”c with a caron” (I’d type it, but this board would just register it as ? Lol) or English ”ch”. So, it’s pronounced like Klinti… Read more »

James
James
5 months ago
Reply to  Colin

I figured with Gjon’s Tears actually pronounced as “John’s Tears”, it could be the same case with the-xh. hehe

And I think the c with the tail is an English “S” sound, much like the Portugues “canção” being pronounced as “cuhn-Sao“.

Last edited 5 months ago by James
Colin
Colin
5 months ago
Reply to  James

You are right about Gjon.

It turns out that Albanian and Portuguese languages both have that ”c with a tail” letter, but it’s pronounced like ”ch” in Albanian and like ”s” in Portuguese. My source is Wikipedia on both alphabets and there’s a video attached with pronunciations.

Languages can be complicated, but fascinating. 🙂

Bart
Bart
5 months ago

Anxhela Peristeri – “Karma
I think this is the best singer with the most popential to win.
I think Inis is bit too much screaming instead of singing.
I loved Mirud first on audio track, but in life it’s not that good.
I love Eva Ruci, this song is only so weird, i saw better songs for her and i hope she comes back another year with a megolical song like she sung on magike kenges

Top 3
Top 3
5 months ago

Anxhela Peristeri will win fair and square, with Era Rusi and Inis Neziri rounding up the Top 3.

NickC
NickC
5 months ago

Orgesa will win. Prepare yourselves for a meltdown, kids.

Colin
Colin
5 months ago
Reply to  NickC

Imagine the fandom meltdown if it’s Devis or Festina.

Loin dici
Loin dici
5 months ago
Reply to  Colin

In this house we support Papa Devis!

but imagine if Viktor wins.

Tibor
Tibor
5 months ago
Reply to  NickC

With these vocals she would probably make the final.

Lolek
Lolek
5 months ago

I’m routing for Era Rusi, though there are many great songs in the mix this year!

Alex
Alex
5 months ago

It’s Xhesikas to lose at this point.

James
James
5 months ago

There is a number of entires that I think have a strong chance of winning, but I’m most impressed with Pendesë after those two live performances pre-final.

Since I started following FiK in 2017, my pick to be the winner ended up winning the songfest (Lindita Halimi, Eugent Bushpeppa, Jonida Maliqi), so a fourth time could be a charm.

Regardless, I’ll be happy with who will win either way.

#NakakaInisNeziri

Last edited 5 months ago by James
James
James
5 months ago
Reply to  James

Eeek, I forgot to mention that Arilena was my pick last year, making Inis my fifth. My goodness. haha

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
5 months ago

The vote from the FiK SF to GF always eliminates a lot of my favourites, usually for some really mediocre songs that don’t have much of an appeal to anyone outside of the jury. This year, my #2 and #3 were sadly eliminated.
But I’m not too sad because Xhesika Polo is so far and away my #1 this point. Inis and Anxhela’s songs have ESC qualification potential for sure but they’re not the contender that Më Mbron is.

Ashton
Ashton
5 months ago

I’m loving the love for Xhesika, bcos she became my winner. She was always in my top 3, with Era as my winner, but after that live performance Xhesika is my first, Era second. If Albania sends her it would be a jury magnet and would probably draw in televotes for her voice and the story behind the song. We might be looking at a potential Suus-level finish if Me Mbron goes to eurovision.

Lebanese esc fan
Lebanese esc fan
5 months ago

I really like Pendese but honestly I would hate it if Inis ends up winning and translating her song only for me to appreciate it less in English. I have to say the 22 second English demo snippet I heard on YouTube (the video got taken down) didn’t inspire a lot of hope that the English version will be superior to the albanian one. The lyrics did leave a bit to be desired as well imo. (I do have a screenshot of the lyrics but I won’t post them out of respect for the content creators because clearly they don’t… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Lebanese esc fan
Nicolas
Nicolas
5 months ago

Kastro Zizo by far.

Pasadena
Pasadena
5 months ago

Okay, this is building up to a blood bath. Before the shows I thought it was between Inis, Mirud and Anxhela. After the 1st night Era was added to the list of potential winners. And after the 2nd night we can add Xhesika.

Alex
Alex
5 months ago

Xhesika had me reduced to tears! I would’ve never picked her as a favourite but after that performance my god ?

Anita
Anita
5 months ago

Good night. I am interested if anybody was impressed of the unplugged version of Kastro Zizo. I wonder why nobody has mentioned it so far?

Nicky
Nicky
5 months ago
Reply to  Anita

i was very impressed by his vocal skills, first keeping it small, and near the end delivering the quality high note fireworks i was like wow, goosebumps

Anita
Anita
5 months ago

Thank you Albania. I especially loved this unplugged Festival! You got my heart moved!
And thank you for the free access to watch it RTSH. I would like to give some money to all the artists. They deserve it!

impressiveinstants
impressiveinstants
5 months ago

Kamela Islamaj’s acoustic was stunning

Peter van Zyäi
Peter van Zyäi
5 months ago

Still Cannot decide between Inis, Era and Mirud. I won’t be mad if one of them won this festival! (I was pretended to want Florent to win but his song is weaker than the three above)

Sabrina
Sabrina
5 months ago

My favorites are all dark horses: Evi, Gigliola, Kamela, Rosela, Sardi and Wendi. I’m also rooting for Mirud to get all things right in his final performance, which would still maybe make him a real contender.

But I still think it’s between Anxhela and Inis, with Orgesa and Xhesica as possible surprises. From them, I prefer Anxhela’s song, but they’re all very talented vocalists. I just hope we have a fair judgement and no big drama this time.

Anita
Anita
5 months ago
Reply to  Sabrina

Can you please tell Evi to do this nights performance (clarinet and all) tomorrow 😉

Last edited 5 months ago by Anita
Sabrina
Sabrina
5 months ago
Reply to  Anita

I liked both versions, but that clarinet was genius. It had a Pink Panther vibe. Clarinets deserve a comeback!

Tibor
Tibor
5 months ago

I still like the same songs, but two performances stood out to me for their intense emotions: I totally buy into Sardi’s anger and Xhesika’s despair. I’d really like to know, who she’s singing to. Did anybody catch what she was saying tonight after she finished her performance? Did she address someone specifically?

Lebanese esc fan
Lebanese esc fan
5 months ago
Reply to  Tibor

She is dedicating her song to her mother who unfortunately passed away not too long ago. She said “I miss you mom” at the end of the performance.

Sabrina
Sabrina
5 months ago

If she chanels the same emotions on the final, I think she wins. It was very moving.Her first performance was already good, but this one was arguably the best of the contest so far.

Lebanese esc fan
Lebanese esc fan
5 months ago
Reply to  Sabrina

I hope you’re right Sabrina, this song really holds a special place in my heart because I also lost a family member not too long ago and I just brokedown when I heard the acoustic version. But honestly it seemed to me as though a lot of artists such as Gigliola, Inis, Mirud, Kamela, and others stepped up with their acoustic renditions. It’s going to be tough tomorrow!

Sabrina
Sabrina
5 months ago

It’s true, many people brought their A-game with the acoustic versions. It got to the point I’m complaining about Enxhi not qualifying, but I don’t see more than a couple of people I would consider dropping to find a space for her in the final.

bartosz
bartosz
5 months ago
Reply to  Tibor

Xhesika is singing about her mother, who died earlier this year

Tibor
Tibor
5 months ago
Reply to  bartosz

Thank you both, bartosz and Lebanese esc fan. Her mother must’ve been still very young, Xhesika’s, what, in her early thirties? Anyway, it shows, that this is not just some random song to her, but that it holds a special meaning.

Lebanese esc fan
Lebanese esc fan
5 months ago
Reply to  Tibor

You’re most welcome Tibor:)

Nicky
Nicky
5 months ago
Reply to  bartosz

another sob story, been there done that already many times

Anita
Anita
5 months ago
Reply to  Tibor

YES!

Zheng
Zheng
5 months ago

After original and acoustic night Xhesika is only one winner for me! If Xhesika didn’t win i will be satisfied if Anxhela win.

Mikey
Mikey
5 months ago

Xhesika and Mirud are my favourites without fatos. Inis is great to

Mikey
Mikey
5 months ago

I dont understand why 7 jurors get to decide. Albania should introduce a televote and let the albanian people decide. Time to modernize.

Sale
Sale
5 months ago

Unrelated news: Arcade has now crossed 150m spotify streams on the platform and is gaining more then 450,000 streams a day which mean it will soon be the 2nd most streamed Eurovision song passing Euphoria, and 3rd one overall that crossed 150m streams

Colin
Colin
5 months ago

Okay, clearly this system of closed decision between a few jurors has to go. I feel like introducing televote would help. Klinti, Enxhi and Fatos not being included in such a lengthy final line-up just feels wrong. There are a few songs I find not nearly as good which went through. But, there are a couple of outstands – The emotional jewel of Xhesika Polo, the lovely lounge ambiental song of Wendi Mancaku, the strong power ballad of Inis Neziri and the striking mid-tempo ethno-bop of Anxhela Peristeri. I also really like Mirud, Evi and Florent. 🙂 I’d certainly pick… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Colin
Lebanese esc fan
Lebanese esc fan
5 months ago

Xhesika absolutely killed it tonight. Extremely emotional and raw performance which left me in tears! She’s 100% my winner. If not her, I would not mind Inis Neziri, Mirud, or Era, although honestly everything seemed to fade in comparison to “me mbron” for me.

Kalla
Kalla
5 months ago

After the 2nd night, Xhesika has absolutely stole the show for me! I like other songs, but this is the first time this season a song has given my goosebumps. So emotional!

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
5 months ago

me going into FIK: why are they making the artists perform the songs in both the regular form and acoustic? They are all going to perform the version they wanted in the first place for the final/eurovision (for the winner). Making them do two versions seems unnecessary.
me now: all of these songs are better acoustic.

Anita
Anita
5 months ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

totally agree. In my point of view it was exciting, some songs really showed a different layer… difficult for me to describe in English, since it is not my mother tongue.
I love Albania for doing this.

Sabrina
Sabrina
5 months ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

I was expecting this acoustic night to be a filler, but it was excellent, almost every song improved with the new arrangement. Mirud was more in his element Xhesica gave a super emotional performance Gigliola and Rosela showed this time how good their songs are Kamela, Klinti and Wendi benefited a lot from the vibe of the night Sardi’s presence was even better and the backing vocals were striking; Anxhela, Inis and Orgesa were very good again, each on their own style. Even Era, that could be the victim of a quieter night, showed a different side of her. The… Read more »

Loin dici
Loin dici
5 months ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

It’s probably a compensation since they couldn’t have live orchestra on board. FiK is supposedly a 100% live music festival, after all, and unplugged night can provide that for the audiences.

KESC
KESC
5 months ago

Either Inis or Mirud!

Anita
Anita
5 months ago

Does anybody know why Xhesika Polo didn’t perform uplugged?

Anita
Anita
5 months ago
Reply to  Anita

I heard a whole orchestra that must have been recorded. All other performances had instruments live playing to the vocals. ????
Maybe I got something wrong here?

Last edited 5 months ago by Anita
bartosz
bartosz
5 months ago
Reply to  Anita

I don’t know why she performed without live instruments but Xhesika wasn’ the only one with such performance eg. Era, Rozela, Enxhi also didn’t have live instruments on stage

bartosz
bartosz
5 months ago
Reply to  bartosz

Also Mirud had only a drummer on stage, while in the background you can clearly hear more instruments

Anita
Anita
5 months ago
Reply to  bartosz

Thanks for your reply!

James
James
5 months ago
Reply to  Anita

I think all of the performers were using playback. I was listening to all the performances through my headphones and it seems clear the instruments shown onstage were all being mimed.

Tomáš
Tomáš
5 months ago

Xhesika!!!! Clearly best performance! Her acoustic version?! I’m still crying…

Lele
Lele
5 months ago

Clearly XHESIKA

bartosz
bartosz
5 months ago
Reply to  Lele

She was the best on the 2nd night. Her performance was so emotional

Colin
Colin
5 months ago
Reply to  Lele

I just watched Xhesika’s 2nd night performance and it’s flawless. There are good songs in this competition, but she is certainly my pick for the winner!

Miss Uncongeniality
Miss Uncongeniality
5 months ago

Am I the only one that finds Mirud’s performance totally disastrous? Too much stiff and cheesy

flnrn
flnrn
5 months ago

I actually love it, he’s just trying to be himself I think!

waitaminuteholdon
waitaminuteholdon
5 months ago

He’s definitely still got room to grow, but he’s improving by the minute

Anita
Anita
5 months ago

Tonight much better than yesterday, especially his vocals and also the staging.

waitaminuteholdon
waitaminuteholdon
5 months ago

Mirud please, because it’s a nice song and it would do so much for the LGBTQI+ communities of Albania & Kosovo 🙂

Linus
Linus
5 months ago

Really nice thought and i support that:), but i think Inis and Anxhela have better songs.

KESC
KESC
5 months ago

I totally understand your point, but please, let’s vote for the song and not for a singer’s sexual orientation. It’s a song contest in the end!
And song-wise, he’s definitely one of those that deserve to win. 🙂

Nicky
Nicky
5 months ago

no thank you, Mirud is too lifeless, standing still during a dance bop, he doesn’t bring that fire, unlike Eleni Foureira or Elvana Gjata

Loin dici
Loin dici
5 months ago
Reply to  Nicky

Rosela and Stefan would beg to differ

Eurovision fan
Eurovision fan
5 months ago

Though I have several favourites my winner is Mirud. His vocals weren’t very good and the costume too, but I believe he’ll sound better tomorrow and his new costume looks better, at least to me.

Joe
Joe
5 months ago

Inis or Mirud!

Last edited 5 months ago by Joe
Armand
Armand
5 months ago

I voted for Mirud, but I think Inis, Era or Anxhela will win….

flnrn
flnrn
5 months ago

Era Rusi or Mirud! Love them both, breaths of fresh air and little bit of craziness that we need after this sh***y year!