Photo: EBU / Nathan Reinds

Last year Albania’s Ronela Hajati shared herself with Europe, releasing a “Sekret” everyone was keen to hear. And now producers at national broadcaster RTSH have revealed the acts competing to replace her as part of Festivali i Këngës 61.

Producers have not yet confirmed the dates of the show, but traditionally it’s held in the second half of December.

This year’s roster includes at least two FiK legends. Elsa Lila famously won FiK back-to-back in 1996 (as a newcomer) and in 1997.

Manjola Nallbani is also here. She has actually won the contest three times: in 1989, 1992, and 1993. She also gave us one of the most memorable diva moments when, in 2007, she claimed that officials had sabotaged her performance. Apparently the public in the arena only heard the orchestra and playback, putting the judges in a real pickle. She vowed never to return to a competition, in her words, run by the mafia. 

Fifi will certainly turn heads. This queen — full name Filloreta “Fifi” Raçi — composed Cyprus’ 2022 entry “Ela” for Andromache. She’s had several domestic hits, including “Ninullë dashurie” and “Diell,” and is known as a master of the contemporary ballad.  

You’ll also be familiar with Rezearta Smaja, who placed third last year, and former participants LYNX.

Insiders tell us the competition could come down to Fifi and Elsa, both of whom enjoy widespread acclaim and remain at the top of their game. 

Festivali i Këngës 61: The 26 participating artists

  • 2 Farm – “Atomike” (Atomic)
  • Alban Kondi & Lorela Karoshi – “Melodi” (Melody)
  • Albina Kelmendi – “Duje” (Love It)
  • Anduel Kovaçi – “Malli” (Longing)
  • Aris Bako – “Sonte dua të jem me ty” (Tonight I want to be with you)
  • Melodajna Mancaku – “Gjysma e zemrës sime” (Half of my heart)
  • Elisa Lila – “Evita”
  • Enxhi Nasufi – “Burrë” (Man)
  • Erma Mici – “Kozmosi i dashurisë” (The cosmos of love)
  • Evi Reçi – “Ma kthe” (Give me back)
  • Fabian Basha – “Një gotë” (A glass)
  • Fifi (Filloreta Raçi) – “Stop”
  • Franc Koruni – “Në pritje” (Waiting)
  • Genti Hoxha – “Ajër” (Air)
  • Gjergj Kaçinari – “Dje” (Yesterday)
  • Luna Causholli – “Jetën ta fal” (I give my life to you)
  • LYNX – “Nëse ke besim” (If you have faith)
  • Manjola Nallbani – “Dua” (Love)
  • Permit of Stay – “Fobia” (Phobias)
  • Petrit Çarkaxhiu – “Emri yt mirësi” (Your name is good)
  • Rezearta Smaja – “N’Eden” (In Eden)
  • Rovena Dilo – “Motit” (It’s been a while)
  • Sara Kapo – “Para teje” (Before you)
  • Serxhio Hajdini – “Vështirë” (Difficult)
  • Urban Band – “Në çdo hap” (At every step)
  • Vanesa Soni – “Aroma jonë” (Our fragrance)

 

Back in September, OGAE Albania reported that FiK 61 will include a televote — a big shift from last year when the 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).

On Friday RTSH confirmed changes. A jury will once again choose the festival winner. But the public — and the public alone — will choose who goes to Eurovision. More on that below.


Which names stand out to you? Who do you want to see at Eurovision?

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ron
ron
28 days ago

Fifi could have good song, but she isnt well in live performances, Elsa Lila has a masterpiece vocal and could be next Celine Dion

Ding
Ding
29 days ago

What a let down, I’m not expecting much as we’ve seen better singers with more notable records and still even in those years many of the entries haven’t had any impact. Public vote won’t help if we don’t have anything good to vote for.

Alex
Alex
29 days ago

Disappointing lineup…not saying that anyone sucks or anything. But no names really stick out to get be excited for FIK. I will still watch and hope there will be some unexpected surprises. I am really hoping for a clear winner.

Alex
Alex
29 days ago
Reply to  Alex

me* aghh I hate they removed the edit feature on here.

Albania sucks
Albania sucks
29 days ago

What a lineup, drug smuglers, nobodies without any experience, an artist who wrote a song with nine other people, that didn’t even qualify at this years Eurovision.

This is yet another year when we add more context about the corruption and controversy in FiK history.

Mark
Mark
29 days ago

Rovena Dilo’s non qualification to the national final in 2008 was the biggest scandal of the year as she was tipped to win the contest overall. But having in mind Eurovision was being held in Serbia that year, corrupted jury didn’t want Albania to do well there, so they voted her out right away 😀 Her song was a powerful entry that could easily do top 5 at Eurovision at that time, so maybe she can do a comeback now? We’ll see 🙂

Wop
Wop
29 days ago

Elsa Lila will win FIK and Fifi will win the Eurovision 2023 ticket.

ron
ron
30 days ago

Elsa Lila everytime was winnee and she is public favorite. She has a magic voice. Hope she have good song and she is able to win Eurosong 2023.

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
29 days ago
Reply to  ron

If she has a great competitive song. Let’s wait till the songs are out so we can make proper judgments then

apollinischesprinzip
apollinischesprinzip
30 days ago

kinda boring line-up. not really excited for anybody. hopefully, some surprise.

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
29 days ago

Since I know practically zero Albanian artists, I’m just waiting for the songs to be released so I can make a proper judgment.

Devoll
Devoll
30 days ago

Mall in ALbanian is the same as Saudade in Portugese, and Longing in English

Devoll
Devoll
30 days ago

Just some corrections of the translations:

  • Albina Kelmendi – “Duje” (Love it)
  • Anduel Kovaçi – “Malli” (Longing)
  • Franc Koruni – “Në pritje” (Waiting)
  • Luna Causholli – “Jetën ta fal” (I give my life to you)
  • Rovena Dilo – “Motit” (It’s been long)
  • Serxhio Hajdini – “Vështirë” (Difficult)
zsó
zsó
30 days ago

The public will select the entry 100%! Whoa it’s a big change! So exciting!

zheng
zheng
30 days ago
Reply to  zsó

Ok Fifi will represent Albania at ESC23

Polegend Godnova
30 days ago

i know elsa lila! she made italian news for being arrested as part of some drug smuggling ring earlier this year. i showed this lineup to my albanian friend and he says that there’s 5 known names, and that she’s a potential winner.

ron
ron
29 days ago

Elsa was innocence in that case. She has potencial to win eurovision

Roro31
30 days ago

Wouah !! I Hope to discovery tomorrow or quickly the SONGS!!

MizuGabi
MizuGabi
30 days ago

Noizy ??

Eurotoxic
Eurotoxic
30 days ago

Alban Ramosaj 🙁

I still listen Theje

tom
tom
30 days ago

Arilena Ara 🙁

Benito Camelo
Benito Camelo
30 days ago

Nice mix of new names with established acts this year! I think Albania has a nice surprise in store 🙂

Jo.
Jo.
30 days ago

LYNX had a pretty good song in 2017, not sure if albania is ready for this tho

AlexESC
AlexESC
30 days ago

Fifi is definitely winning but Elsa Lila is also a prestigious name and artist (but not current at all) and it will come down to both of them. But Fifi is the winner for sure

Vivian
Vivian
30 days ago

I just hope that instead of messing up the instrumental through revamping the song *again*, I hope they stick with a similar approach as Eugent, Jonida and Anxhela, in that no major changes from the main song will be needed. Sekret was great when it won FiK last year, but the revamp slammed it down to my bottom 5

Joe
Joe
30 days ago
Reply to  Vivian

You’re absolutely right and I have no idea why you’re being downvoted. The staging and revamp both murdered any chance of Albania qualifying.

Leo
Leo
30 days ago
Reply to  Joe

I liked the revamp, as it was done by the producer that was responsible for Fester Skank, but the staging was very poor and felt messy and short on dynamic. Compare this with how contiguous and intricate the Spanish one was.

Jack
Jack
30 days ago

Albania is a perfect example of a country with insane talent but without any knowledge on how to stage a song. Please follow Anxhelas example and hire someone who can stage a song. Ronelas fiasco should never happen again.

Vivian
Vivian
30 days ago
Reply to  Jack

It’s not really the staging that killed Ronela’s chances. Her fate was sealed the moment she released Sekret’s revamp

Devito
30 days ago
Reply to  Vivian

Her performance was tacky, which did not benefit her at all. I am still surprised how artists do not learn that silver and pink is not the best combo on the stage. You would think Maltese failure with Destiny would have taught them a lesson, but no – every XL size girl thinks she can look like a diva in a silver minidress and pink boots. Need I say, I loved everything about her performance on FiK (the song version and the visualisations), but she went tendentially to become a non-qualifier with her revamps, visualisations and communication days after.

JohnnyWolf
JohnnyWolf
30 days ago

Disappointed to not see Yll Limani

Ari
Ari
30 days ago

Elsa Lila really nailed those performances that won her the festival as a young girl. Is she still a big deal? According to Wikipedia, she got arrested for drug dealing in Rome this year.

Jonas
Jonas
30 days ago

Fifi wrote “Ela” yeah, but with eight other people. Not really sure if that tells us anything.

AlexESC
AlexESC
30 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

I mean, Fifi has written and composed all her competitive entries in Kenga Magjike. To name 2, “Zhurme” and “Marova” are written, composed and performed by her and they’re arguably masterpieces lol.

Ari
Ari
30 days ago

Variety is important but given the final result of the Albanian entry on stage in Turin, I’d actually prefer them to return to their old ways of sending dreary but pleasant ballads. Anxhela and Jonida were just so so sooooo much better than Ronela.

Polegend Godnova
30 days ago
Reply to  Ari

there’s more to the albanian music industry than dreary ballads, actually, the general public doesn’t even consume those lmao.

Ari
Ari
30 days ago

You don’t say. I have eyes, ears, access to YouTube and Albanian friends, imagine that. It’s not about the industry, it’s about what actually lands in the festival and gets chosen by the mafia.

Zheng
Zheng
30 days ago

Elsa Lila ? Elsa, Fifi, Rezarta, Evi such a good lineup

Bart
Bart
30 days ago
Reply to  Zheng

I love that Evi Reci and Rezarta are back in the mix the rest I’m curious about!

Alex
Alex
30 days ago

There’s many new names. Which is something exciting from FiK given that I usually recognize 75% of the artists from past years.

tom
tom
30 days ago
Reply to  Alex

After Ronela crashed in semi … many famous artists rejected participation including Arilena Ara – she was ready to go …

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
29 days ago
Reply to  tom

Is that the word on the ground?