2020 might have not arrived yet, but the first national final of this Eurovision season has already passed through history: Festivali i Këngës 58 has just concluded, with Albania having picked their 2020 Eurovision entry: it’s Arilena Ara with the song Shaj!
Although she had not been the hot favourite for the victory, she went against all predictions; with her up-tempo sound, the young singer and former X-Factor winner Arilena Ara aspires to climb high on the scoreboard in Rotterdam and – why not – bring the trophy for the first time to her home country!
The running order of tonight’s final was as follows:
- Valon Shehu – Kutia e Pandorës
- Sara Bajraktari – Ajër
- Robert Berisha – Ajo nuk është unë
- Tiri Gjoci – Me gotën bosh
- Bojken Lako – Malaseen
- Arilena Ara – Shaj
- Gena – Shqiponja e lirë
- Kamela Islamaj – Më ngjyros
- Albërie Hadërgjonaj – Ku ta gjej dikë ta dua
- Elvana Gjata – Me tana
- Olta Boka – Botë për dy
- Era Rusi – Eja merre
Live from the country’s capital Tirana, we witnessed a 3-hour long show, full of music and surprises. The tension went high at the interval act, when the 2018 runner-up Eleni Foureira took to the stage of Palace of Congresses to perform a 15-minute medley of her recent hits. The Italian star Giusy Ferreri appeared as guest as well, making the show even more spectacular.
Winner decided by an expert jury
As with every year, the result of Festivali i Këngës was determined by a special appointed jury, which consisted of both Albanian and international members. Following the performances of 12 quality acts, it was up to them to make up their minds and choose the best for Rotterdam.
First place went to Arilena Ara, while the initial favourite Elvana Gjata finished second and Sara Bajraktari leaves with the bronze medal. But words are now enough. Enjoy the Albanian 2020 Eurovision act here:
It is currently unknown in which language Arilena will perform her song at Eurovision this May (Albanian, English or both). However, as it has been the case in the last few years, she is expected to join forces with broadcaster RTSH for potential revamps in her Eurovision entry.
Since Albania is neither a member of the Big 5, nor the host country of Eurovision 2020, Arilena Ara will have to participate in one of the two semi-finals come May. The 65th Eurovision Song Contest will be taking place on 12, 14 and 16 May in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.