Festivali i Këngës has a long tradition in Albania. Over 50 years, this annual celebration of music and arts has survived throughout political changes and turmoils. Since 2004, the winners of this competition have each year gained the right to represent their home country in the Eurovision Song Contest, and this year will be no exception.
On December 26th and 27th, two semi-finals will be held in the Palace of Congress in Tirana, with the best acts proceeding to the final, on December 28th, when the winner and thus the Albanian Eurovision representative will be picked.
Until October 22nd, songs could be submitted for the festival. Now the 16 acts competing in the semi-finals have been announced:
Ti mungon (You’re missing) - Marjeta Billo
Zemërimi i një nate (One night’s anger) - Herciana Matmuja
Jeta në orën 4 (Life at 4 o’clock) - Orges Toce
Jam larg (I'm far away) - Besiana Mehmeti and Shkodran Tolaj
Grua (Wife) - Sajmir Braho
Nuk e di (I don’t know) - Renis Gjoka
Natë e pare (First night) - Venera Lumani and Lindi Islami
Një ditë shprese (One hopeful day) - Frederik Ndoci
Në zemër (In the heart) - Rezarta Smaja
Mikja ime (My friend) - Blerina Braka
Me ty (With you) - Klodian Kacani
Kur qielli qan (When the sky cries) - Xhejn & Enxhi Kumrija
Kthehu (Come back) - Luiz Ejlli
Princesha (The Princess) - Lynx
Vetëm për ty (Only for you) - Saviana Verdha and Edmond Mancaku
Ëndërrat janë ëndërra (Dreams are dreams) - Xhejsi Jorgaqi
Later on, a draw will determine the running order of the shows. The line-up features two well-known faces to Eurovision fans: Luiz Ejlli represented Albania in the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest with Zjarr E Ftohtë, and Frederik Ndoci entered in 2007 with Hear My Plea.