The most recent edition of Albania’s Festivali i Këngës broke from tradition when the jury selected an upbeat banger rather than a power ballad. And now it’s clear that RTSH wants to keep the innovation coming. 

OGAE Albania is reporting that Festivali i Këngës 61 — the national selection for Eurovision 2023 — will include a televote. They have not yet revealed what percentage the public vote will account for. 

Curiously, the OGAE post doesn’t specific whether there will be a jury vote at all — only that “the public will have their say.” This raises the possibility that the show could be determined 100% by the public. But obviously that’s just speculation for now.

The Albanian fan club enjoys a close relationship with the broadcaster RTSH, and regularly reports news about the festival before any official announcement. 

 
 
 
 
 
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Last year’s FiK 60 final was decided by a seven-person jury chaired by Eurovision alum Anxhela Peristeri — one of the most in-demand singers in the country. 

RTSH utilized both jury voting and a public vote at FiK 55, its selection for Eurovision 2017. But it wasn’t a remotely even split. The jury vote accounted for 12/13 of the vote, while the public vote made up the remaining 1/13 (or about 7.7% of the overall result).

In that edition, Lindita Halimi only came third with the public with her song “Botë.” But she won the jury vote in a landslide to book her place at Eurovision.

In conversations with Wiwibloggs during FiK 60, members of the jury told me that they sought an artist who had the nerve and the chops to deliver every single rehearsal — not just in the semi-final. This was important, they said, since every clip and review from rehearsal can influence the public’s opinion.

Ronela Hajati’s song became a fan favourite, thanks to her presence and the song’s unique positioning. 

Here’s how we reviewed it ahead of Eurovision.

“Pumping and thumping, bumping and grinding — Albania’s Ronela takes us on a journey with this one. The song plays on Albanian tradition and reggaeton beats, creating a mind-bending journey that screams ‘medieval sex dungeon’ at one turn, ‘contemporary club in Tirana’ at another. The song doesn’t really get going until 40 seconds in — but Ronela is so mesmerising you’re drawn in and hooked well before that.”

What percentage do you want to see the public hold sway over? 50%? 100%? And which Albanian stars need to be on that jury? Let us know down below…

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Catriona
Catriona
11 days ago

Just a reminder that all the metrics last year indicated that Alban with his power ballad would have beaten Ronela in the televote. And likely by a large margin.

For all the “Yaas Queens” out there, just remember that televote does not equal more up-tempo “bangers”.

Jamie
Jamie
12 days ago

FIK is so corrupt that not even the televote will help. And they just proved it even more giving people 7,7% of power. What the actual hell.

DutchTurkk
DutchTurkk
13 days ago

Era Rusi should participate again with a banger.

Im so fab
Im so fab
14 days ago

7,7% ??? Lmao!

Thomas Sturley
14 days ago

The downfall of Albania in 2022 was the staging and Ronela’s presence being overtly aggressive. The song was and is still good! Just not the performance.

Emilio
Emilio
14 days ago
Reply to  Thomas Sturley

In which way was her presence overly aggressive? She was just being a sensual woman without a smile on her face. If her performance was threatening, how should we define Lordi’s performance and their demon masks.

I actually would have preferred darker and hostile aesthetics to match the song like at Festivali i Këngës, where she was dressed in black and surrounded by female warriors.

Roo
Roo
10 days ago
Reply to  Thomas Sturley

It was just horrible performance in every way. Reminded me of a Miss Piggy performance in the Muppet show.

Albania sucks
Albania sucks
15 days ago

It’s a known thing that Albanian artists with “millions of views” on their music videos, are willing to spend money; this just allows more corruption.

May the richest win!

Jack
Jack
15 days ago
Reply to  Albania sucks

They should invest in a good stage show firstly

Eyal
Eyal
15 days ago

Ronela was too agressive on stage. It shows she worked on the staging, but it didn’t turn out well.

Thallo
Thallo
16 days ago

If it was suspected that the jury at FiK is corrupt, I sadly imagine the televote will go that way too.

Also, Albania is a small country with a smaller population. We’ve seen how a televote can affect small national finals like Malta’s this year. Usually, the name wins and not the performer or song. But nevertheless, the public should always have a say in their national final. It’s just a shame that there’s a chance it could be subject to corruption.

Nini Kiwini
Nini Kiwini
15 days ago
Reply to  Thallo

I mean Bilal Hassani won the televote in his selection in 2019 by a comfortable margin.
It can be argued whether or not „Roi“ was the “best“ option; point is having a big name and following is a definite advantage in any selection

Vivian
Vivian
16 days ago

Thus far I think that Ronela is the only Albanian representative who didn’t really have good vocals on the semifinal night. I hope that, should this be pulled through, it won’t taint future Albanian entries with poor vocals. I get the feeling the fan favorite is frequently one with shaky vocals, kind of like with Me Tana

Colin
Colin
15 days ago
Reply to  Vivian

While her vocals were nowhere near the level of Jonida, Eugent, and Anxhela, they weren’t that bad on their own. The staging and choreography, however, felt very unpolished. It’s a huge difference to what Chanel, and ever WRS did with equally sexually charged performances. They made it look on point, while Sekret’s choreo looked partially improvized. For such a choreo-heavy song, it just didn’t look fully ready.

Leo
Leo
15 days ago
Reply to  Colin

And I also think the costumes should have been more in sync. Having Ronela’s outfit the same colour as the dancers’ fustanellas. And having the dancers with diagonal straps across their torsos and breastplates, and Ronela also with straps and a breastplate, not dissimilar to the NF, would have had more dynamic and coherence. It was the Embers of 2022 except for that Ronela could at least dance (as soulful dance pop in U.K. and Reggaeton in Albania are nigh-on national genres, and both songs wasted staging badly with poor sartorial choices.)

Emilio
Emilio
15 days ago
Reply to  Vivian

It is unfair to say she has poor vocals; Manuel Navarro with “do it for your lover” had poor vocals. Ronela was dancing, i think it is fair to have a shaky voice.
Her saboteur was firstly her stylist for giving her that questionable pink dress, when she should have had a more aggressive look; secondly, the choreographer: what was the purpose of having on stage that sole female dancer, dressed like her, stealing the focus?

Azuro
Azuro
16 days ago

Who dragged Festivali I Kenges kicking and screaming into the 21st century?

Nomo nomo
Nomo nomo
15 days ago
Reply to  Azuro

Your mom

Polegend Godnova
16 days ago

i think televoting is fundamental in these eurovision selections, since they’re meant to represent a country’s taste and choice. i really doubt it’ll be 100% televote tho, especially considering the albanian voting pool is pretty small as it’s a staggering €1 per vote there (it happened several times pre-2016 at esc that they didn’t reach the televote threshold and only the jury vote had to be used for them).

Jofty
Jofty
15 days ago

Yes, this “system” saved Ireland an embarrassing 0 points in 2007.

Benito Camelo
Benito Camelo
16 days ago

This was long overdue, but hopefully it works out fine 🙂

Samira
Samira
16 days ago

Blessing or a curse for Albania I wonder

Eurotoxic
Eurotoxic
16 days ago

Too late for Me Tana 🙁

NickC
NickC
16 days ago
Reply to  Eurotoxic

It would have had the same fate as the secret.

Meckie
Meckie
16 days ago

Hope no more International jury as well.

Whisker
Whisker
16 days ago

Over the past four years I got the impression that Albanian participation was financed by artist or label or both. Public vote makes it look kinda cool, but not really.
Anyway, it’s astounding to see how easily national selection results can be manipulated.

Colin
Colin
16 days ago

…and the angels sung! (Televote is a great idea, if it has at least 25% of weight, preferrably 50%)

Hoping to hear something outstanding from the likes of Arilena Ara, Tiri Gjoci, Klinti Collaku, Wendi Mancaku, Xhesika Polo, ect. Come on, Albania, you do know how to knock it out of the park (Khteju tokes), so do it again.

esc_fl
esc_fl
16 days ago
Reply to  Colin

Ktheju tokës is still one of my favorite ESC entries!

Laurin
Laurin
16 days ago

Only fair would be a balace of 50/50 jury and televote.
Simply because it’s exactly how it works in Eurovision.
100% televote doesn’t work – we’ve seen that multiple times in other nf’s.
But the public has to be involved.

Jack
Jack
16 days ago

With our without televoting, the power of Albania to destroy its entries in May with terrible staging remains a case study of what countries shouldn’t do in Eurovision.

Emilio
Emilio
16 days ago
Reply to  Jack

It seems like Italy has learned from its past mistakes. Let’s have faith in Albania too!

Esc addict
Esc addict
16 days ago
Reply to  Emilio

Italy has learned from its past mistakes!? Well, sorry but in which world?

Emilio
Emilio
15 days ago
Reply to  Esc addict

C’mon; the staging, costumes and lights for both Måneskin in 2021 and Mahmood&Blanco in 2022 matched very well their songs. Or, at the very least, it is undeniable they are a huge improvement from to the disaster of Mahmood in 2019 and most notably Francesco Gabbani in 2017. That gorilla still haunts me in my dreams.

Esc addict
Esc addict
15 days ago
Reply to  Emilio

This gorilla was really not a nice idea, let’s be honest Mahmood’s staging on his home soil was lacklustre and disappointing, Maneskin staging was cool but not really innovative or creative, they just created a concert atmosphere in the arena, it was cool but I didn’t like their song… I still think they won because they represented Italy and thanks to the eurofans who thought that Italy was regular since their come back and thought they should have won in 2015 or in 2019 and not because their 2022 song was phenomenal. Maneskin was lucky to be there the good… Read more »

Nudiecrudi
Nudiecrudi
14 days ago
Reply to  Esc addict

So being 6th is a disaster???? It’s incredible how some fans try to downgrade a country just because they feel somehow frustrated.
No way Mahmoud and Blanco would have done better than Sweden Spain or GB. With a better staging maybe a 5th place but not more. So the 2022 staging was OK.
On the other hand, you may like or not Zitti e Buoni, but their staging was fantastic and bombastic. Just from the firs rehearsals it was very clear that they were going to do well. Because of the staging, clearly.

Esc addict
Esc addict
14 days ago
Reply to  Nudiecrudi

Man who has talked about a disaster? Not me. Frustrated because I don’t think Maneskin song was a worthy winning song, ok if it please you. Mahmood and Blanco stayed a lot of times first in the betting odds before the contest and even 2nd but with their first rehearsal they felt out of the top 5. The staging was lacklustre that’s why, 6th is good but it’s a downgrade because not as good as expected from Italy on their home soil. I’ve said that Maneskin staging was cool what do you want more. We can be negative only about… Read more »

Emilio
Emilio
14 days ago
Reply to  Esc addict

After their first rehearsal Blanco wasn’t even there and Mahmood was completely out of tune. That is why they fell in the polls, not because of staging…

I am critical (and I praise) every country, especially my own country Sweden. I also said that Mahmood’s 2019 staging was a disaster. I don’t agree with you that Italy is one of those countries you can’t criticize on Wiwi.

Nudiecrudi
Nudiecrudi
14 days ago
Reply to  Esc addict

Everything in this world is subjective and questionable and it’s your or mine right to like or not like a song or a staging. So you don’t have to please me. The fact that Maneskin won and had a planetary success is objective. They won different international awards and not the singer or group you prefered most. This is also objective. 500 millions of streaming are also objective. Now returning to 2022 Italy 22 has been first in the odds only for few weeks and after the war started stepped in the second place. And stayed there until the rehearsal… Read more »

Esc addict
Esc addict
14 days ago
Reply to  Nudiecrudi

Well the general Esc public taste can be largely questionable too and it’s not because some italian songs reached the top 10 or 5 that they are forcefully good, that it was deserved each times and that I have to love them absolutely, I like the 2015, 2016 and 2019 italian songs but the others didn’t deserve the praise and results they got IMO.

Esc addict
Esc addict
14 days ago
Reply to  Nudiecrudi

My opinion about Maneskin song has not changed and is the same since San Remo 2021 and it’s not because they managed to win with this song that my opinion has changed I’m not that kind of influenceable eurofans who change their mind according the scoreboard.

Emilio
Emilio
14 days ago
Reply to  Esc addict

But you gave us your personal opinions on the songs and performances instead of analyzing the staging choices. As i said, it is clear the latest two stagings I mentioned matched their songs: Mahmood&Blanco stage was minimalistic, with cold tonalities such as silver and blue (Blanco’s diamond outfit was OUTSTANDING) because Brividi is intimate and raw; Maneskin potrayed a concert scene with pyrotechnics in warm tonalities like yellow and red. You can see there is a well thought process and i don’t know why you would deny there has been an improvement. Again, they put a gorilla on stage in… Read more »

Esc addict
Esc addict
14 days ago
Reply to  Emilio

About the stagings there was an upgrade since 2021 ok I can admit it, nothing spectacular or innovative or new but an upgrade ok.

Esc addict
Esc addict
14 days ago
Reply to  Esc addict

But there’s a difference between to improve and to have definetely learned from the past mistakes.

Vivian
Vivian
16 days ago
Reply to  Jack

I’d rather be concerned about Albania having the talent to destroy good songs with awful revamps. 2014, 2016, 2020 and 2022 are there to prove that.

Karl
Karl
16 days ago

Just send Eleni Foureira with a song in Albanian. How do you say “fire” in Albanian?

Joey
Joey
16 days ago
Reply to  Karl

“Zjarr!” Era Rusi will help you too. ?

Jofty
Jofty
16 days ago
Reply to  Joey

They already sent the lovely Luis Eljazzi with Fire And Ice in 2006. Sadly a NQ but that year was pretty brutal. I think the Pope might have been on backing vocals (live, not pre-recorded).