Albania’s 56th annual Festivali i Këngës begins tonight with its first semi-final at 20:30 CET on RTSH.
Eleven artists take to the stage in Tirana’s Palace of Congresses tonight to compete for a spot at the Festival’s grand final on Saturday. You can watch the contest live here on RTSH-1.
Tonight’s lineup is as follows:
- Elton Deda – Fjalët
- Mariza Ikonomi – Unë
- Endri & Stefi Prifti – Mesazh
- Evans Rama – Gjurmët
- David & Genc Tukici – Të pandarë
- Voltan Prodani – E pamundur
- Eugent Bushpepa – Mall
- Rezarta Smaja and Luis Ejlli – Ra një yll
- Bojken Lako – Sytë e shpirtit
- Manjola Nallbani – I njëjti qiell
- Redon Makashi – Egziston
Tonight’s show will also feature a special performance from renowned Italian singer and composer Riccardo Cocciante. This interval act will include a duet with Albania’s Eurovision 2015 singer Elhaida Dani, whom Cocciante mentored on The Voice of Italy in 2013, which Elhaida won with over 70 percent of the vote.
The show will be presented by TV personality Adi Krasta, who has hosted the festival in 1997, 1999, 2002, 2003 and 2006, and directed by veteran cinematographer Pali Kuke.
The three-day celebration of Albanian song will continue tomorrow night with the second semi-final, and on Saturday night with the grand final. The winner of Festivali i Këngës 56 is expected to represent Albania at the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 in Lisbon this May.
The running order of this year’s contestants was revealed on Tuesday. The semi-finalists were chosen by a 5-member panel composed of Markelian Kapidani, Luan Zhegu, Ben Andoni, Sokol Marsi, Edmond Rapi.
Albania in the Eurovision Song Contest
Albania made their debut at the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2004, the same year the televised semi final was originally introduced to the competition. Albania succeeded in their first showing with Anjeza Shahini’s “The Image of You”, sailing through the semi final in 4th place and eventually landing in a respectable 7th place at the grand final. Albania have competed in the Eurovision Song Contest every single year since their debut, making 2018 their 15th appearance. Since the success in their original attempt, they have reach the grand final a further six times. They bettered their 2004 score in 2012 with Rona Nishliu’s song “Suus” who finished the contest in fifth place with 146 Points, their first time reaching the top 5 and their best placing to date.