On Tuesday, during Semi-Final 2 of Festivali i Këngës 61, thirteen artists had the chance to prove that they’re worthy of a spot in the final.

And while we will have to wait to see the full list of 21 qualifiers for the final, we now know which five of the ten New Artists have qualified.

They are:

 
 
 
 
 
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That means these Newcomers have been eliminated:

  • Anduel Kovaçi 
  • Arsi Kapo 
  • Permit of Stay
  • Sara Kapo
  • Luna Causholli

But who impressed you the most? 

You can re-watch all of the performances below. Then vote in our poll. You can support as many acts as you’d like. But you can only press submit ONE time. Be sure to tick the box next to all of your favourites before submitting. 

FiK 61: Who gave the best live performance during Semi-Final 2?

  • Semi-Final 2 — 21:00 CET on Tuesday 20 December
  • Nostalgia Night – 21:00 CET on Wednesday 21 December
  • Grand final — 21:00 CET on Thursday 22 December

All shows will be broadcast live from The Palace of Congresses (Pallati i Kongreseve) in the capital Tirana. 

During nostalgia night, special guests will sing some of the greatest hits from the festival. 

Semi-Final 2 running order

Melodajna Mancaku – “Gjysma e zemrës sime” (Half of my heart)

Permit of Stay – “Fobia” (Phobias)

Arsi Bako – “Sonte dua të jem me ty” (Tonight I want to be with you)

 

Gjergj Kaçinari – “Dje” (Yesterday)

Franc Koruni – “Në pritje” (Waiting)

Petrit Çarkaxhiu – “Emri yt mirësi” (Your name is good)

Elisa Lila – “Evita”

Genti Hoxha – “Ajër” (Air)

Evi Reçi – “Ma kthe” (Give me back)

Manjola Nallbani – “Dua” (Love)

LYNX – “Nëse ke besim” (If you have faith)

Alban Kondi & Lorela Karoshi – “Melodi” (Melody)

Vanesa Sono – “Aroma jonë” (Our fragrance)

Will you be tuning in? Have you picked your winner? Let us know in the comments.

 
 
 
 
 
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LZW
LZW
1 year ago

they were great

Aaljan
Aaljan
1 year ago

So average, no standouts, I can now cross out Ukraine and Albania for my vote

Leafar
Leafar
1 year ago

Evita has so much potential for an outstanding performance in Liverpool I hope it goes through !

Wyn
Wyn
1 year ago

Elsa Lila for the win.

Amar pelos dois
Amar pelos dois
1 year ago

Elisa ist absolutely outstanding und very classy ! So far better than Fifi and even than Albany and her family.

Zenellie
Zenellie
1 year ago

Very very very average.

Colin
Colin
1 year ago

Second take and I’m totally in love with Elsa Lila’s song. What a majestic entry! Could be Albania’s best since Khteju tokes. I only hope that Elsa is over with the troublesome parts of her past, so that she can proudly represent Albania. This is certainly not your typical diva belter. It’s grandiose, yet emotional and refined. Albania, you have one job! I would also be happy with Erma Mici, but she’s a newcomer, so I’m not betting on her. A good alternative would also be Rezarta. I like her song this year much more than the one last year.… Read more »

Kaiser
Kaiser
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin

???

NickC
NickC
1 year ago

Elisa Lila should have it in the bag. It is the best FiK entry..maybe ever.

Kevinski
Kevinski
1 year ago

Interesting fact: Albina Kelmendi first rose to fame as a competitor at the Voice of Albania 4 where she finished second and her coach through the show was Elsa Lila.
Now they are both competing against each other at FiK and are the favourites to win it.
Who will take it? The student or the teacher?

Azan
Azan
1 year ago

In this SF, my faves are:

Manjola Nallbani – “Dua” (Love)Vanesa Sono – “Aroma jonë” (Our fragrance)

Evan
Evan
1 year ago

I could have sworn Urban Band was at FIK last year. They qualified as a new artist?

Sabrina
Sabrina
1 year ago

In a FiK without televote, I would assume the competition would be between Albina and Elsa. Maybe voters will follow the trend, since they both were very impactful on the stage. My choice would for sure be “Evita”. What a voice! What a presence! Unless of course there’s something controversial about the lyrics (like Colin, I’m still traumatized with the weeping fetus’ song) and I believe it isn’t the case, since she’s just singing to her daughter. Today, I was all for the ballads. Vanesa Sono did a great job, Evi Reçi is always a delight to watch and Melodjan… Read more »

lasse braun
lasse braun
1 year ago

…have read otherwhere that the jury will crown the 2023 FiKwinner and the public can crown the act,who will be sent to liverpool.
right?
which act has the most followers?
game over for crowd favorite duje?

zach
zach
1 year ago

elvita as a song itself is good (but not amazing) BUT elsa’s voice is draw droppingly captivating, this is the choice albania so pls come through

Nomo nomo
Nomo nomo
1 year ago

Please Albanians! Vote for Evita, she’s the only right choise this FiK

Zanoni
Zanoni
1 year ago

Elsa was commanding and she’s my pick. Also happy that Melodajna and Vanesa made it through.

Tlo
Tlo
1 year ago

Elsa Lila will win both the first prize and the Eurovision ticket.

The Voice of Reason
The Voice of Reason
1 year ago

Really like Dua and the more upbeat male songs in this one for some reason!

Roro31
Roro31
1 year ago

OMG ELSA LILA, what is this incredible voice ? Very stronggg contestant and I think is the winner of FIK 2023 its really sure ! And for Eurovision ? Maybe and her performance will be similar to Rona Nishliu (2012) with a top 5 or top 3… Will Europeans like the classic ? Or, Albina is the winner for Albania Eurovision 2023 with televote and I see a top 10 ! For me, FIK is very strong, here is my top 5 : Albina Kelmendi and family Elsa Lila Fifi Manjola Nallbani LYNX I love also Erma Mici, Anduel Kovaci,… Read more »

Sheila
Sheila
1 year ago

In opinion, 2 or 3 songs most were sort of ok in the entire festival. The rest was quite disappointing. I’m so sad to not have liked anything. 🙁

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
1 year ago

Definitely Elsa. And overall, too. Erma’s close but I think Evita just has that class that you get in a really good Sanremo entry. It’s definitely not your typical FiK female-led power ballad. I think it would be a great choice to not only win the festival but also to go to Eurovision.
Once again, my top five from FiK is really strong. It continues to be my favourite national final.

DutchTurkk
DutchTurkk
1 year ago

The best of this semi for me were: Vanesa Sono & Melodajna Mancaku. I really loved Vanesa voice and the song is actually pretty good. I also liked Manjola, even tho her song sounds outdated. To be honest I expected more of Elsa, it was all okay but not very out-of-the-box which I expected from her.

Voilà monsieur
Voilà monsieur
1 year ago

Mine was Albina but after hearing Elsa’s song, I have a new winner! She gives me Mia Martini vibes, just pure class!

Kaiser
Kaiser
1 year ago

I was rooting for Albina to win FiK this year but after hearing Elsa Lila’s song I changed my mind. That’s the best choice for Albania and it is such a typical ESC modern ballad. But considering it is 100% televote Albina’s song is already on 300k views on YouTube

Colin
Colin
1 year ago

By the way, someone translated the chorus of Evita on YT, and this is probably it:

O Evita
I waited for you
Me and the light
You came from the darkness
You came from space
The night opens, the sun shines
The sky opens
O Evita you
I miss you already
Tibor
Tibor
1 year ago

So Sara Kapo didn’t qualify. Okay, she was very flat. At least Urban Band, Melodajn Mancaku and Erma Mici did, Plus Vanesa Sono – she admittedly sang well. I have no clear idea as to why Gent Hoxha made it through,

Colin
Colin
1 year ago
Reply to  Tibor

I have no clear idea as to why Gent Hoxha made it through”

Agreed. I honestly forgot about that entry once the line-up was over.

Colin
Colin
1 year ago

Now ”newcomers” are qualifying! I sincerely hope for Anduel and Erma to make it!

Colin
Colin
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin

Question: Are newcomers who don’t qualify to the finals still eligible as ESC representatives or not? Anyone knows for sure?

Zet
Zet
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin

The vote is based on the performances of the final qualifiers.

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin

Anduel not making it is just bizarre. He literally got one of the best audience reactions and had one of the best quality songs.
Sad for Arsi too but Anduel just overshadows that.

Colin
Colin
1 year ago
Reply to  Briekimchi

Absolutely. He’s the quite possible candidate to finish my 2nd overall, and seeing him not reaching top 21 is awkward, and seems unfair. At least two of the qualifiers are *significantly* less impactful. Alesia Michele actually said that he’s the standout of the evening. I mean, this is FiK. It’s basically honorary Oscars on steroids. I had no illusions he might win. It takes time to win FiK. But I hoped him to be the ”new Eldis Arrnjeti” this year.

Tibor
Tibor
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin

Anduel should have definitely qualified over Gent Hoxha. Personally, I didn*t like his song, but he had one of the rare flawless vocal performances of both nights.

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin

I didn’t like him as much as I liked Eldis (who I had 2nd overall to Alban) last year but, in my *very* early rankings, I have Anduel sitting at 4th. The idea that he wasn’t one of the best five newcomers is just wrong.

Colin
Colin
1 year ago

Vanesa Sono ends the night on a high note. Both literally and figuratively. Good song. A bit too many belting diva ballads tonight, tho. Even for FiK standards.

Overall, I think that semi 1 was probably better on average, but Evita is probably THE song this FiK. Of course, there’s always a matter of lyrics I’d like to go through before my ranking. Just in case there’s no weeping fetuses among these 26. 😉

Tibor
Tibor
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin

We’ll never forget about the weeping fetuses, won’t we?

Parzifal
Parzifal
1 year ago
Reply to  Tibor

No. No, we will not. Alas, but for the innocence of this site’s humor!

Colin
Colin
1 year ago
Reply to  Tibor

They still haunt my dreams. 😉

Sabrina
Sabrina
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin

Everytime I pick my favorites without reading translated lyrics (which has been happening a lot since I have less time to search for them), that song comes back to haunt me.

Colin
Colin
1 year ago
Reply to  Sabrina

That song is a true cautionary tale. 😉 It wasn’t in my top favorites, but I’m sure that without the lyrics, it would have finished around the middle of my FiK list that year. I try, as much as I can, to read the lyrics, but sometimes there’s really no time or there’s no translation available. For instance, I found the translations for the songs in Ukrainian from Vidbir and in Estonian from Eesti laul, so my ranking there is quite holistic. I see that Benidorm provided theirs too, and even if my Spanish is fine, I appreciate to have… Read more »

Parzifal
Parzifal
1 year ago

Bring me Evita on Spotify and serve it on a silver platter, it’s my current National Final favorite that hasn’t made it (yet), demolishing Kolyskova’s position on the ranks.

Parzifal
Parzifal
1 year ago
Reply to  Parzifal

And to those wondering about WHEN GOD SHUT THE DOOR, the poorly constructed rap verses were enough to shunt it to third.

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
1 year ago

Lynx keep the good songs going with a song that starts out lacking tempo and energy but picks it up a lot by the second verse and then keeps going. Definitely the strongest rock entry in FiK this year and inkeeping with the quality that this band usually brings to the festival. Alban Kondi’s song takes a different approach to the female ballad and stands out, but does so with a style of vocal that isn’t for me particularly. It’s that attempted cutesy “Love Is Forever”, “In Love For A While” approach. It has a misplaced rap in there, too.… Read more »

MyName
MyName
1 year ago

Sadly I found this semi boring . sorry. Far too many pompous ballads for my taste. But some good songs of course. For me Lynx was (as usual….) best by far. I also liked “Melody” and “Ne pritje” and “Dua”. Manjola is said to be a big favourite. Would be happy if she wins FIK

MartyMcCu
MartyMcCu
1 year ago

Elisa Lila – “Evita” is by far the best song tonight, this song is a possible winner at ESC if not a top 5. For me it brings goose bumps not felt since Rona Nishliu in 2012 and she ended up 5th.

Ria van de Velde
Ria van de Velde
1 year ago
Reply to  MartyMcCu

I agree with you, for me is Elisa Lila – Evita the best song and I hope she goes to Eurovision. My other favorite Albanian entry ‘s are “Suus” by Rona Nishliu and “Mall” by Eugent Bushpepa

Amar pelos dois
Amar pelos dois
1 year ago

This are also my favorite entries from Albania and Elisa could join to this list…

Tibor
Tibor
1 year ago

Now they’re sticking the uptempos together. LYNX bring us an anthemic if melodically not super engaging rock song with some electronic flourishes and a nice rythm change after the first chorus. Hm.
Alban & Lore offer a singer-songwriterish tune with some guitar strumming and a spoken word verse. Has a nice singalong quality to it. I don’t hate it.
Vanesa Sono has the last song of the evening. Another power ballad. She has a very nice voice and the vocal performance is for the most part convincing. Nevertheless a little conventional.

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago

It’s hard to imagine Elsa Lila being part of a drugs ring. Is that prosecution still pending or what?

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas

Elisa

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas

Elsa. I was right the first time.

Colin
Colin
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas

Umm… what? One Google search later… umm… this is awkward. What if she goes to ESC, but it sentenced meanwhile? Also, not a nice thing to know about her as a backstory. I hope that she started to reform.

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin

Yeah, mostly for Evita’s sake. Makes me even more curious to read the lyrics.

Colin
Colin
1 year ago

Melodi is easily the weakest one today. Lorela’s part is repetitive and too sugary. Alban’s part is mild and uninteresting too.

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago

Is Evita about Eva Perón or a totally different Evita? Maybe a child?

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas

I think I heard during the broadcast that it’s about the singer’s daughter, she’s named Evita.

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago
Reply to  Briekimchi

Thank you, that fits.

Nomo nomo
Nomo nomo
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas

It’s her daughter. She named her daughter Evita after her late mother Eva.

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago
Reply to  Nomo nomo

Aw, nice.

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
1 year ago

Evi Reçi has a nice ballad that shows off her voice. They did a half a capella bit that they didn’t really commit to and that was a missed opportunity. It was solid but probably lacks the identity of Melodajna and Arsi’s efforts and definitely didn’t have the quality of Elsa’s. The running order doesn’t help it. Manjola sticks out with an ethno-bop that is straight out of the 2000’s. She’s performing with a high fever so vocally, it’s not as strong as you’d normally expect from her but the overall energy is still surprisingly good. This song was needed… Read more »

Colin
Colin
1 year ago
Reply to  Briekimchi

Manjola gives us an Albania 2005 song update, but does her own spin on it, and easily becomes one of the better acts tonight.

I said I dig Evi, and I do, but she’s not in the same category as Elsa with this song. Not at all.

Tibor
Tibor
1 year ago

Something uptempo – FINALLY – from Manjola Nallbani, but it has once again the ethnic flair I’ve grown a little tired of. Dynamic instrumentation, but other than that not for me, it will have its fans, though.

Colin
Colin
1 year ago

Nobody expected a ballad from Evi, but she was great. Feels tragic and dramatic. I dig it.

Tibor
Tibor
1 year ago

Gent Hoxha’s song is just very unremarkable.
Evi Reçi has this night’s distracting cleavage and brings us another ballad with a dramatic balkan folk chorus.
Nine down. only four to go, and so far I agree with Colin, this night isn’t dethroning anyone from last night in my personal ranking so far.

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
1 year ago
Reply to  Tibor

I think it’s pretty even between the two nights at this point. Probably 3-4 I like in both.

Tibor
Tibor
1 year ago
Reply to  Briekimchi

Yeah, but you always cope better with the more classic ballads like Elsa’s (as does Colin) and particularly with balkan folk. I really don’t need a folk element in every other song. :/

Nomo nomo
Nomo nomo
1 year ago

Evita <3

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
1 year ago

The next three songs are the best run tonight.
Petrit has a wonderful piece, full of emotion and atmosphere. He gets really into the performance. It builds throughout.
Then, we have our probable winner. “Evita” is a stunning piece of orchestral music with vocals on a different level to everyone else. Need to go back and listen to this one again because there’s so much going on. It’s full of power.
Gent’s song is surprisingly solid. It definitely gets better as it goes and the sax makes it even better.

Colin
Colin
1 year ago

Hands down, Evita is the best song tonight so far!
Petrit’s song has a nice instrumentation, but is a bit too slow.

Tibor
Tibor
1 year ago

Elsa Lila brings her own conductor straight from Italy (we know his face from Sanremo). The song has a timeless dramatic Broadway feel to it. Her singing is extremely convincing and her voice is very recognisable. I particularly like the stripped back first verse. To end the song with some whistling adds a nice touch. Not really the out of the box entry I was hoping for, but very professional.

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago
Reply to  Tibor

My favourite so far! Passion. Written, composed, and performed. Perhaps I would have liked a longer instrumental break for the orchestra to really shine, but that’s a nitpick.

Tibor
Tibor
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas

Yeah, I probably liked this one and Melodajn Mancaku’s songs best tonight. I will have to hear them again to make up my mind about the ranking.

Tibor
Tibor
1 year ago

Petrit Çarkaxhiu’s song is also a folk tune with a slightly unusual intrumentation, a very prominent bass drum throughout most of song and an accordion in the first chorus. Vocals are not very clean. Next up is the big favourite of the night, let’s hope she brings something a little more out of the box.

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago

Do any of these songs have very good lyrics? It seems unfair of me to judge when I have no idea what they’re singing about. On the music alone, nothing is really working for me tonight.

Colin
Colin
1 year ago

Arsi has quite a neat chorus.
Gjergj keeps bringing quality music to FiK! A nice and heartfelt performance!
Franc Koruni’s song gets a no from me. Ay, yay, yay parts are especially not the smoothest.

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
1 year ago

Third one is another promising ballad. It’s got a 90’s feel to it, like something Mariah could just stick on an album and it is well-sung. Instrumentally, there’s far too much going on and a lot of clashing. Will be interesting to hear the studio version with the orchestra…because it could be better. Gjergj’s song is interesting but not sure how much it works. It certainly progresses and has build but it feels kinda…rushed? I don’t know. Think it might be his weakest effort at FiK so far. The fifth song from Franc is different. Doesn’t seem like it’s a… Read more »

Tibor
Tibor
1 year ago

I don’t know what to make of Franc Koruni. His mid-tempo song has a vague folk feel to it but turns gradually into something a little more rock adjacent without ever fully getting there. I’m ready for something a little more interesting now.

Tibor
Tibor
1 year ago

Gjerg Kaçinari’s ballad starts nicely (although you have to like his not so polished vocal), but then gets a corny Christmas feel to it. I don’t think this is the right song for him.

Colin
Colin
1 year ago
Reply to  Tibor

I like it, but it does miss a hook. I’m still drawn by the way her performs it. However, 5 songs in, and nothing yet beats Erma, Rezarta, or Anduel from semi 1 for me.

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin

…then Elsa happened? 😉

Colin
Colin
1 year ago
Reply to  Briekimchi

Then Elsa happened. 🙂 I have to hear all the songs again to have a better grasp at ranking, but I’ll eat my shoes with petrol if Elsa isn’t *at least* in my top 3, if not my winner!

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin

Be very surprised at this point if she’s not the FiK winner. It’s exactly what they usually look for.
Though, tbf, I still can’t believe they picked Sekret over Theje last year. XD

Colin
Colin
1 year ago
Reply to  Briekimchi

I agree. Amazing entry! I expect it to be a great FiK winner. But watch the viewers place Fifi or Albina first for ESC. Just a hunch.

Tibor
Tibor
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin

Naw, Fifi can’t win with this song, can she? Albina, I don’t know, people seem to like her. For me it’s definitely too much wailing.

Colin
Colin
1 year ago
Reply to  Tibor

She’ll probably not enter my personal top 13. But… I know ”slay, queen” fans, and objectively, I can see it happening.

Colin
Colin
1 year ago
Reply to  Tibor

Albina’s song feels personal, and I assume it was emotional lyrics that really connected to people. I also feel like there’s too much drama without any quieter ”build-up” moments in between.

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
1 year ago
Reply to  Tibor

Take her name away from the song, and where does Fifi’s song objectively rank? It’s closer to being in the bottom five of this selection than the top five.
If Albanians were disappointed with Sekret’s result, watch out for how badly “Stop” would do.