Eugent Bushpepa has won the 56th edition of Albania’s annual Festivali i Këngës with the song “Mall”.
After two semi-finals and one grand final, the Albanian jury has decided to award the grand prize at Festivali i Këngës to Eugent Bushpepa and his song “Mall”. Eugent is expected to represent Albania at the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 in Lisbon this May, for which he expressed his intentions to do so during a live interview with RTSH news after the show. This is the first confirmed artist and song combination for Eurovision 2018 to have been announced and performed for the public this year.
Eugent took the top prize after performing 13th in a field of 14 contestants who sang tonight at the Palace of Congresses in Tirana, Albania. In second place is Redon Makashi with “Ekzistoj,” and in third place is Inis Neziri with “Piedestal.”
The winner was chosen by a panel of five judges from the Albanian music industry: Adrian Hila, Limoz Dizdari, Zana Çela, Ilirian Zhupa, and Markelian Kapedani.
The final show of the 56th Festivali i Këngës was hosted by Adi Krasta and Joniha Shedu.
Eugent, 33, is a rock singer-songwriter from Rrëshen, Albania. He first sang at Festivali i Këngës in 2008 in a duet with Rovena Dilo, where they placed 12th in a field of 20.
You can listen to the song “Mall” below:
You can also watch the entire grand final of Festivali i Këngës 56 at their official Facebook page.
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.