Festivali I Këngës, the Albanian national final, kicked off moments ago. The show is going to decide by jury and televoting which music act out of the 16 competing is going to represent Albania in the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest. This means that tonight, we will know the second song nd participant for Helsinki!
You canfollow the webcast here (external link).
At the beginning of the show, a hard rock version of the Albanian national anthem was played. The first singer is now on stage.
1. Alberie Hadërgjonaj – Të dua zemër ty të dua
The first song is a – quite international – up-tempo ballad. The stage appearance is quite simple and the overall performance might be not spectacular enough for the Eurovision Song Contest.
2. Herciana Matmuja – Ah jetë, oh jetë
Ah jetë, oh jetë might definitelybe part of any musical. The ballad is well performed by the young singer who seems to like being on stage.
3. Mariza Ikonomi – Ku është dashuria
Another ballad. The performance is very professional but probably too simple. The song is quite interesting, featuting classic and modern elements. Towards the end, the piano player joins the lead singer.
4. Arbër Arapi – Në fund të botës
The first male singer of the evening. And – what a surprise – he is singing a ballad. Nevertheless, this is not as catchy as the other songs so far. The arrangement is very classical although there is a saxophone solo. The singer and the saxophone player got an extra warm applause from the audience.
5. Alban Skenderaj – Eklips
The song (no need telling that it's a ballad) is introduced by a female guitar player. The singer is very professional and gives a strong but not too emotional performance.
6. Eliza Hoxha – Hajde sonte
No, no, no, yeah, yeah, yeah can be heard at the beginning of the song.Hajde sonte is a typically American night club jazz song, illustrated by five female background dancers. Somehow, the feeling one expects from such a song is not well transported and the applause by the audience is quite low.
7. Amarda Arkaxhiu – Por ti mos trego
No, that's not P!nk or Gwen Stefani on stage, although the singer oviously has the same hair stylist. There are four background dancers dressed in the national colours of Albania (black and read) whose faces are covered with sacks. The song is quite interesting but probably not catchy enough for the Eurovision Song Contest.
8. Evis Mula – Rrëfim në mesnatë
Yes, it's another ballad – there cannot be said much more about this song. The singer wears a read evening dress and gives an average performance. Overallshe might be a good contestant for the Eurovision Opera Contest.
9. Greta Koçi – Eja zemër
One of the more extraordinary entries. The song has a disco beat (which is reflected in the light effects) with the singer and the background dancers dressed up as 'rockers'. Unfortunately, the entry becomes a bit monotone after the first half performed.
10. Kujtim Prodani – Kjo është jeta
The intro seems like copied from various famous rock songs but leads to a more gospel-like main part. The singer is playing the piano at the beginning but stands up later to move towards the audience. The overall performance is obviously too old-fashioned to succeed.
11. Jonida Maliqi – Pa identitet
Hard to tell the style of the song: While the beginning might well lead to a reggae song, the main part is a typical Eurovision Song Contest ethnic ballad but with a disco beat. The performance is very dramatic but no too spectacular.
12. Rosela Gjylbegu – Pa ty, pa mua
A typical European up-tempo song that could have taken part in the 1990s for any country. The performance is very unexceptional – not one of the favourites one might say.
13. Saimir Braho – Mik i dhimbjes
A very simple performance and ballad (!). It's hard to believe that Saimir Braho would make it to the final in Helsinki although the audience obviously liked the performance.
14. Besiana Mehmeti & Mustafa Ymeri – Kepi i shpresës së mirë
The first duo. Not the first ballad. The male performer is wearing some kind of sailor suit while the woman is a classical diva. Furthermore, the performance features two female background singers / dancers. The overall stage appearance seems a bit unorganized and old-fashioned.
15. Aida & Frederik Ndoci – Balada e gurit
The second duo of the evening; they are presenting a ballad – the stone ballad as the title says. It features some medieval and ethnic sounds. All in all a quite strange song but it received the biggest applause so far lasting more than a minute.
16. Tonin Marku – Ëndrra ime
The final song! And the final ballad! The entry is another one that is jazz inspired and might be made for smokey bars. Interesting but maybe not the best choice forHelsinki.
Stay now tuned for the results. The winner will be chosen by televoting and an 'expert' jury.
Before the results will be announced, a long series of interval acts is currently performed. Nevertheless, the results are expected to be published tonight, or – if you live in the CET zone – tomorrow (havinga lookat your watch).
At the moment, Anjeza Shahini, the first Albanian representative in the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2004 is on stage.
The results are now coming in. The jury members now give their votes in ascending order; from 1 to 12.
- The first top mark went to Mariza Ikonomi – Ku është dashuria
- Rosela Gjylbegu – Pa ty, pa mua is currently on top
- Pa ty, pa mua is still leading
- No change at the moment, but the voting becomes closer
- Aida & Frederik Ndoci – Balada e gurit now on top! Have they won?
The winner will represent Albania in the semi final of the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest, to be held in Helsinki, Finland on the 10th May. Luiz Ejlli failed to qualify in the 2006 semi final with the song Zjarr e ftohtë, finishing in 14th position.