With her song, 'Fall From The Sky', Arilena Ara was chosen to represent Albania in 2020. In light of the unfortunate cancellation of the 65th Eurovision Song Contest, we wish to highlight the impressive acts that were set to appear. This is 'In the spotlight', our feature honouring the artists that would have made up this year's edition of the world's largest live music event.
In December 2019, Arilena Ara was selected to represent Albania in the 58th edition of the country's national selection show Festival i Këngës with her song Fall From The Sky. Last year's national selection winner, Jonida Maliqi, was there to hand Arilena the Festival i Këngës trophy after she was chosen by an expert jury composed of Mikaela Minga (Albania), Christer Björkman (Sweden), Dimitris Kontopoulos (Greece), Felix Bergsson (Iceland) and Rita Petro (Albania).
In second place was Elvana Gjata with Me tuna, and Sara Bajraktari took third place with her song Ajër. The show was presented by Alketa Vejsiu and included interval acts by guest stars Eleni Foureira and Giusy Ferreri. Her official music video for Eurovision 2020 has garnered over 1 million views on YouTube.
Who is Arilena?
Arilena Ara has been singing since the age of 5 and participated in many festivals and song competitions as a child. Most notable amongst them was her stint in the second season X Factor Albania which she went on to went at the age of 14. The 21-year-old Shkodra singer released her first successful single Aeroplan and performed in the Kenga Magjike festival in 2016 where she won the Best Ballad Award with the song Nëntori. The song went on to become a hit, accumulating more than 100 million views and earned her a ticket to the prestigious Europa Plus festival in Russia and Astana Dausy in Kazakhstan in 2016.
The Albanian talent has performed hundreds of live shows in the last few years, won several other international awards and has topped international rankings on networks like iTunes. Recently, Arilena participated in a season of The Voice of Albania as one of the coaches.
READ MORE: Arilena's participant profile
Arilena's popularity is demonstrated by her Instagram page which has an impressive 1 million followers. Her YouTube page is also successful with nearly 150 thousand subscribers and videos with over 64 million views. She recently just uploaded to her Instagram page to let her know she will be performing her song, Last Train To Paris, live for the #SoundsOfSilence concert.
You can follow Arilena on the following social media platforms:
Albania in the Eurovision Song Contest
Albania entered the Eurovision Song Contest in 2004 when Anjeza Shahini performed The Image Of You and finished 7th in the Grand Final. This was Albania's best result until 2012 when Rona Nishliu placed 5th overall. Albanian broadcaster, Radio Televizioni Shqiptar (RTSH), has organized the country's Eurovision entry since its debut and currently uses the long-standing contest Festivali i Këngës, which has been organised annually since 1962, to select their representatives since 2004.
READ MORE: Azerbaijan's country page
Jonida Maliqi took to the Eurovision stage in 2019 when she represented Albania with the song Ktheju tokës. Well known in her home country as a social media influencer, fashion icon, singer and presenter, she reached the Grand Final in Tel Aviv and finished in 17th place.