Traditionally, the Albanian Eurovision Song Contest representatives have always been selected through the Festivali i Këngës, and this year will be no exception to this rule. Two semi-finals have already taken place, on December 26th and 27th, with 10 out of 14 songs qualifying for tonight's final in each show, respectively.
Thus, this is the line-up of tonight's Final:
Gerta Mahmutaj - Pyete Zemrën
Bashkim Alibali - Këngën Time Merr Me Vete
Samanta Karavello - Zgjomë Një Tjetër Ëndërr
Endri & Stefi Prifti - Iluzion
Rona Nishliu - Suus
Rudina Delia - Më Kërko
Marjeta Billo - Vlen Sa Një Jetë
Herciana Matmuja - Aty Ku Më Le
Altin Goci - Kthehem Prapë
Elton Deda - Kristal
Toni Mehmetaj - Ëndrra E Parë
Dr. Flori - Personale
Kamela Islamaj - Mbi Yje
Frederik Ndoci - Oh... Jeta Ime
Bojken Lako - Të Zakonshëm
Mariza Ikonomi - Më Lër Të Të Dua
Iris Hoxha - Pa Ty... Asnjë Sekondë
Saimir Braho - Ajër
Xhensila Myrtezaj - Lulet Mbledh Për Hënën
Elhaida Dani - Mijëra Vjet
Tonight's show will, just like the semi-finals, be presented by Nik Xhelilaj, Hygerta Sako and Enkeleida Zeko. The winner will be chosen by an expert jury.
Among the contestants are several well-known names, including Frederik Ndoci, who represented Albania in the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest with Hear My Plea, and Dr. Flori, who wrote the lyrics for the Albanian entry in the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest, Zjarr E Ftohtë, sung by Luiz Ejlli. One of the record participants of Festivali i Këngës, Mariza Ikonomi (pictured), is also giving it another try this year - after 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2009, this is already her eighth participation!
As one of the biggest and most popular music festivals in Albania, Festivali i Këngës has taken place every year since 1962, making this year's competition the 50th anniversary edition. This fact was celebrated yesterday evening in an additional retrospective show featuring some of the evergreens out of the history of the festival.