In two weeks' time, the winner of the Festivali i Këngës, the Albanian national final for the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest, will be known. Recently, RTSH, the public broadcaster organising the festival, has announced more details about the show, which will consist of two parts: a competition for new talents trying to enter the showbiz, and a contest of well-known stars of the Albanian music scene. Unlike previously announced, the festival will now start with a presentation of all 18 songs of the Stars section on the 24th of December. Then, on the 25th, the competition of new talents will take place, the winner of which will gain an additional spot in the final of the competition. On the third night, all the songs in the Stars section will be performed in alternative versions, while the final of Festivali i Këngës will take place on the 27th of December.
The four shows will be presented together by Miriam Cani and Alban Skenderaj, both of which have participated as solo singers in the Albanian national final for the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest. Miriam Cani was previously a member of the German girl band Preluders, whose greatest hit Everyday Girl made it to the top spot of the German sales charts back in 2003.
In first show of new talents, to take place on the 25th of December, only 18 songs remain, as Jorida Zaimaj withdrew her entry Për Ty. This is the list of the remaining entries:
As regards the final of Festivali i Këngës, Besa Kokëdhima withdrew her participation and was replaced by Rona Nishliu, who will now sing the song Kalorësi I Dashurisë. Eliza Hoxha withdrew her entry Në Mes without being replaced by another singer. This is the list of the remaining 18 entries, with the nineteenth act in the final being the winner of the talents show on the second night of the festival:
Anjeza Shahini - Pasqyra E Vetës
Teuta Kurti - Mall I Pashuar
Claudio La Regina - Ave Maria
Kamela Islami - Kalimtar
Bojken Lako & Banda Adriatica - Love Love Love
Rona Nishliu - Kalorësi I Dashurisë
Dorina Garuci - Sekreti I Dashurisë
Juliana Pasha - Nuk Di Përse
Denisa Macaj - Arie
Erga Halilaj - Party
Era Rusi - U Dashuruam
Flaka Krelani - Lë Të Bëhet
Mariza Ikonomi - Vazhdoj Këndoj
Erti Hizmo & Lindita Halimi - Nuk Të Dorezohem
Stefi & Endrri Prifti - Akoma S'Është Vendosur
Guximtar Rushani - Gëzuar
Rovena Dilo - Përtej Kohës
Kejsi Tola - Pse Ekzistojmë
Among the participants of the Festivali i Këngës are several familiar faces. Mariza Ikonomi has taken part in every festival since 2002, and she already reached the second place once, in 2003, with her song Mbi Urë. Flaka Krelani, a young singer from Kosovo, managed to reach the second place in the Festivali i Këngës in 2005, performing Jeta Kerkon Dashuri together with Doruntina Disha. Juliana Pasha came second in last year's festival, performing a duet with Luiz Ejlli. The singer who represented Albania in the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest, Kejsi Tola, is also back in this year's competition, as is Anjeza Shahini, who was the first singer ever to represent Albania in the Eurovision Song Contest, in 2004. Back then, she reached the 7th placewith the song The Image Of You - the highest placing of any Albanian representative in the Eurovision Song Contest to date.
Anjeza Shahini (pictured above) spoke to Eurovision.tv recently about her participation in the festival and revealed more about her entry in this year's national final as well as about her feelings when she represented Albania in Europe's favourite TV show in 2004: "My song Ne Pasqyre, which translates as In The Mirror, is a pop ballad. The music was written by Sokol Marsi, the lyric by Jorgo Papingji and the arrangment by Shpëtim Saraçi. I will just try to feel great on stage and I hope the public will like my performance. Sure, it is a contest, and I will do my best to be a strong contender. I would feel very grateful if I got the chance to represent my country once again and to sing on the best stage of Europe, especially because now I feel more ready to enter the international music scene. My participation in the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest was the most important step in my career till now, and it made me progress in several sectors of my life."
All shows will be broadcast live from the Pallati i Kongreseve in Tirana on TVSH, and they can be followed via satellite (Eutelsat W2, 16°E) all over Europe. The outcome will be decided by a professional jury. Stay with us for more information about the Festivali i Këngës!