Ex-American Idol contestant picked as Albania’s Eurovision representative

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times December 26, 2016 10:05

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  • "We worked hard on the performance and I feel blessed we made it. It's an early dream come true. What an honor to represent my Albanian people at a great stage such as the Eurovision song contest," said Halimi, who will be the second Kosovo singer to represent Albania in the festival after Rona Nishliu.

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Linda Halimi, Albania's Eurovision representative

Linda Halimi, Albania’s Eurovision representative

TIRANA, Dec. 26 – U.S.-based Kosovo singer Linda Halimi has been voted to represent Albania at the 2017 Ukraine Eurovision song contest. The 27-year-old singer, a 2016 American Idol contestant, had been placed a favorite to win this year’s national year-end festival, a platform to select Albania’s Eurovision representative since more than a decade.

Known through her Lindita stage name, Halimi won the jury and public vote for her “Bota” (World) ballad song, making her dream of representing Albania come true after finishing third in the 2014 song contest.

Linda’s career kicked off in the mid-2000s when she was discovered in a talent show before rising to fame after winning the Top Fest young artists’ competition in 2009. Since then, she has lost 68 kg through intensive training and diets in a complete transformation which the American Idol jury called an inspiring story for overweight women.

Since 2013, she has been living in the U.S. with her husband, American rapper, Big D.

“We worked hard on the performance and I feel blessed we made it. It’s an early dream come true. What an honor to represent my Albanian people at a great stage such as the Eurovision song contest,” said Halimi, who will be the second Kosovo singer to represent Albania in the festival after Rona Nishliu.

Back in 2012,  Nishliu became the most successful Albanian Eurovision representative after ranking fifth among 26 finalists in the song contest held in Azerbaijan. Nishliu collected 146 points to see herself rank 5th, the best result since 2004 when Albania made its Eurovision debut with Anjeza Shahini who came sixth.

Singer Ledina Çelo, a 2005 Eurovision representative and actor Kasem Hoxha, both of whom based in Germany were this year’s hosts of the traditional year-end festival organized by the RTSH public broadcaster.

The last two Albania selections Eneida Tarifa and Elhaida Dani failed to make it to the Eurovision final despite high expectations, especially about Dani, the 2013 Voice of Italy song contest.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times December 26, 2016 10:05