First Listen: Albania’s Eugent Bushpepa takes “Mall” to Lisbon

December 28, 2017 0

“Mall” by Eugent Bushpepa has started the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest selection season on a good note, with an entry that could bring Albania some success in Portugal. Albania’s Eurovision Song Contest selection process Festivali i Këngës took place in the lead up to Christmas, with Eugent Bushpepa’s song “Mall” claiming top honors at the competition. This year’s process featured 22 contestants competing across two semi-finals, with 14 advancing to a grand final on Saturday, December 23. Unlike last year, the audience had no vote and the winner was determined by a five-person jury. After much, much, much deliberation1, Bushpepa earned the right to represent Albania in Lisbon next May. Although there was no audience vote, the process did seem to correlate with YouTube views of the entries. Of the eight entries that advanced from the first semi-final, the top seven entries based on views advanced (though the eighth spot went to the least-watched video of the entire field). The second semi-final had similar results, with five of the six qualifiers ranked at the top of the YouTube field. “Divorci” was the only one to miss the cut, with seventh-place “Zemër ku je” by Denisa Gjezo taking the sixth spot. […] [Read more…]

Albania’s Festivali i Kenges 56 kicks off selection season 2018

December 20, 2017 0

Albania once again knows what we want for Christmas: the 56th edition of the Festivali i Këngës song competition which starts the Eurovision 2018 national final season. What does this year’s festival have in store? Albania’s Festivali i Këngës, now in its 56th year, has been the country’s Eurovision Song Contest selection process since entering the competition in 2004. On the one hand, it makes sense that a national song competition that already exists would be an efficient way to select for Eurovision. However, there are some drawbacks: FiK happens at a time of year that doesn’t correlate to success at Eurovision. Albania is generally the first to select for the following year’s Eurovision Song Contest, not by strategy but because that’s when the song festival happens. The song qualifications for FiK are not as strict as Eurovision’s. Songs can be up to four minutes long, political content is not outright discouraged, and there will be more than six people on stage because the songs are performed by a live orchestra. This forces rewrites and re-arrangements every year, which could compromise the original quality of the song.1 How a winner is determined isn’t great. Prior to 2017, the winner was […] [Read more…]