Albania to select Eurovision representative

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times December 23, 2016 11:40

Albania to select Eurovision representative

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  • While no established big names are competing in this year's edition, the favorites include U.S.-based Kosovo singer Linda Halimi, Prishtina singer Genc Salihu

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Favorite singer Linda Halimi

Favorite singer Linda Halimi

TIRANA, Dec. 22 - Albania will select on Friday its Eurovision representative for next year's Ukraine song contest. Twenty-four entries by mostly emerging singers are competing in this year's 55th edition of the national song competition, serving as a platform to select the country's Eurovision representative since more than a decade.

All focus will be on the third and final night of Dec. 23 following two semi-finals when the winner is decided out of the remaining 14 songs making it to the final.

While no established big names are competing in this year's edition, the favorites include U.S.-based Kosovo singer Linda Halimi, Prishtina singer Genc Salihu.

"There are songs that will make a tough race in the final," veteran conductor Jetmir Barbullushi has said.

Eriona Rushiti, an art professor who in previous editions was part of the festival’s jury, is participating as a composer this year.

“It is quite different feeling the emotion, competition for yourself and it seems competition is very tough this year. I notice quite a variety of genres, styles and timbres,” Rushiti has told the public broadcaster.

Edea Demaliaj, the 18 year-old-daughter of late Albanian rock star who prematurely died at 40 in early 2015 is the youngest competitor in this year's edition.

"I am so happy that I am making my debut in this festival as I love singing live," she says.

Singer Ledina à‡elo, a 2005 Eurovision representative and actor Kasem Hoxha, both of whom based in Germany are 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.

Back in 2012, Rona 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.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times December 23, 2016 11:40