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…