Eneda Tarifa has been chosen as the act who will represent Albania in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. The decision was made with the conclusion of the 54th annual Festival i Kenges which took place over the past three nights. Following two semi finals on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, tonight saw 22 acts compete in the final.
Instead of the originally scheduled 18 acts, 22 artists have made it through to the Albanian national selection final which will take place later tonight. 30 acts in total battled over two semi finals held on Christmas Day and on Boxing Day in a bid to get one step closer to being Albania’s entry for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. Eight of these acts have been eliminated from the Festivali i Këngës 2016 competition. Read on to find out which act have been eliminated and which will continue to fight it out in the final.
*Updated 26th Dec to reflect Festivali I Kenges Semi Final Results
Albania have had a tumultuous Eurovision history failing to qualify from the semi finals on 5 occasions. Their best result to date came from Rona Nishliu when she finished in fifth place in 2012 with song ‘Suus’. Albania also did quite well in their debut year in 2004 when Anjeza Shahini’s song ‘The Image of You’ came in seventh and their most recent attempt in 2015 saw Elhaida Dani come 17th.
Albania will be the first country to reveal their song for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest on the 27th December. 30 acts will compete over two semi finals held on Christmas Day and Boxing Day with the best 18 songs from each qualifying for the final of the 54th edition of Festivali i Këngës in the country’s capital Tirana. This was later altered to allow 22 acts to qualify for the final.
Today the acts from Serbia, Hungary, Belarus, Russia, Denmark, Albania, Romania and Georgia all got the chance to have their first practice run through on the Eurovision stage. Wiener Stadhalle in the Austrian capital has been totally transformed for the Contest and you can get a little sneak preview of some of the acts by reading on.
Last night saw Albanian representative Elhaida Dani take to Facebook to announce that the writer of the song ‘Diell’ had decided to withdraw the song for personal reasons. The bizarre announcement stated that ‘The author of the song ‘Diell’, for personal and irrevocable reasons, has decided to withdraw the song and unfortunately it will be impossible for me to perform it in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015.’
The Albanian broadcaster RTSH has since chosen a replacement song named ‘I’m Alive’ and will debut soon.
What do you think of the decision to change songs? Do you think the author really withdrew, or did Albania think they had better chances with a new song? Let us know your thoughts below.