Just after Christmas, Albania is ready to pick the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest entry. No less than 16 entries will compete in tonight's final of Festivali i Këngës:
Zemërimi i një nate (One night’s anger) - Herciana Matmuja
Jam larg (I'm far away) - Besiana Mehmeti and Shkodran Tolaj
Kthehu (Come back) - Luiz Ejlli
Një ditë shprese (One hopeful day) - Frederik Ndoci
Jeta në orën 4 (Life at 4 o’clock) - Orges Toce
Me ty (With you) - Klodian Kacani
Natë e pare (First night) - Venera Lumani and Lindi Islami
Mikja ime (My friend) - Blerina Braka
Ëndërrat janë ëndërra (Dreams are dreams) - Xhejsi Jorgaqi
Kur qielli qan (When the sky cries) - Xhejn & Enxhi Kumrija
Princesha (The Princess) - Lynx
Ti mungon (You’re missing) - Marjeta Billo
Grua (Wife) - Sajmir Braho
Në zemër (In the heart) - Rezarta Smaja
Vetëm për ty (Only for you) - Saviana Verdha and Edmond Mancaku
Nuk e di (I don’t know) - Renis Gjoka
The public have already become familiar with the artists, as they performed duets together with other popular Albanian singers on the two first nights of the festival, on December 26th and 27th. Some duet partners have also been familiar faces for Eurovision fans - Olta Boka and Kejsi Tola, for instance, represented Albania in the 2008 and 2009 Eurovision Song Contests, respectively.
Tonight, all artists will present the original versions of their competing songs, and once more, you will be treated with familiar faces in the line-up: Luiz Ejlli and Frederik Ndoci entered the 2006 and 2007 Eurovision Song Contests for their home country.
In the end, a professional jury will pick the winner, who will also represent Albania in Copenhagen in May. It consists of Agim Krajka (musician), Aleksander Lalo (musician), Hajg Zaharian (musician), Xhevahir Spahiu (writer, poet), Petrit Malaj (actor), Erjona Rushiti (musicologist), and Bojken Lako (singer).
Special guests of the show will be the winner of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest, Emmelie de Forest, who will perform Only Teardrops for the Albanian public. Furthermore, Elhaida Dani, the winner of The Voice Of Italy, will give a short concert. The show will be presented by journalist Enkel Demi and young actress Klea Huta.
Festivali i Këngës has been broadcast live every year since 1962, thus taking place already for the 52nd time this year. Since 2004, the competition also serves as the Albanian national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest. Live singing, supported by the live instrumental playing of the RTSH orchestra, have been fixed elements of the festival ever since, and this year is no exception.