Albania in the Eurovision Song Contest
|National selection events||Festivali i Këngës|
|Appearances||11 (6 finals)|
|Best result||5th: 2012|
|Worst result||17th SF: 2007 SF|
|Albania's page at Eurovision.tv|
Albania has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 11 times since its debut in 2004. The Albanian broadcaster, Radio Televizioni Shqiptar (RTSH), has been the organiser of the Albanian Eurovision entry since the country's debut in the contest and has used the long-standing Albanian song contest, Festivali i Këngës, to select the Albanian Eurovision entry.
RTSH first showed interest in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2003, applying for that year's contest. However three more countries also applied to enter the contest for the first, and Albania was not allowed to compete in the contest, having been forced to wait another year before debuting.
The first Albanian entrant to the Eurovision Song Contest was decided through the long-standing Albanian song contest, Festivali i Këngës. The winner of Festivali I Këngës 42 would go on to represent Albania in its first Eurovision Song Contest. The winner was Anjeza Shahini with the song "Imazhi yt" (Your reflection). This was translated into English, and performed at Eurovision as "The Image of You". She qualified for the final, coming 4th, and received 106 points in the final, placing 7th of 24 countries competing. This placing allowed Albania to skip the semi-final of the 2005 contest, automatically qualifying for the final.
The Albanian entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2005 was again selected through Festivali I Këngës. The winner of Festivali I Këngës 43 was Ledina Çelo with "Nesër shkoj" (Tomorrow I will leave), translated as "Tomorrow I Go" in English. Çelo could not replicate Shahini's 7th place, receiving only 53 points and placing 16th.
The winner of Festivali I Këngës 44 was Luiz Ejlli with "Zjarr e ftohtë" (Fire and cold), however the song was not translated into English for Eurovision, and was the first Albanian entry at Eurovision to be sung in Albanian. In the semi-final of the 2006 contest he received 58 points, placing 14th of 23 in his semi-final and failing to qualify for the final.
The 2007 entry was Frederik Ndoci with "Hear My Plea", performed at Festivali I Këngës 45 as "Balada e gurit" (The stone ballad). The song was performed at Eurovision in both English and Albanian. In the semi-final of the 2007 contest he received 49 points, placing 17th of 28 in his semi-final and failing to qualify for the final.
The winner of Festivali I Këngës 46 was "Zemrën e lamë peng" (Hearts trapped in time) by Olta Boka. However the result of the juries that selected the winner was controversial and rumours arose that the final two judges intentionally awarded high marks to Boka in order to avoid sending the runners-up, Flaka Krelani and Doruntina Disha, to the contest. Press reactions in Albania were not happy with the decision, and RTSH announced that they would investigate into alleged cheating by the final two judges to give their points. Despite this, Olta Boka's victory remained, and she sang for Albania at the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 in Belgrade, Serbia. At the contest she qualified Albania for the final, placing 9th in a field of 19 in the second semi-final, and at the final received 55 points, placing equal 17th in a field of 25.
Albania was the first country to select both their artist and publicly present their song for Eurovision 2009. The winner was again selected by Festivali I Këngës. The winner of Festivali I Këngës 47 was Kejsi Tola with the song "Më merr në ëndërr" (Take me in your dreams), which was composed by the composers of Albania's first entry Edmond Zhulali and Agim Doçi. The song was performed in English as "Carry Me in Your Dreams". Albania finished 7th out of 19 in the 2nd semifinal with 73 points, thus qualifying for the final. In the final, where both jury and televoting were used, Albania scored 48 points, finishing 17th in a field of 25. However, had only televoting been used Albania would have placed 11th in the contest. Conversely if only jury voting had been used Albania would have placed 23rd.
The winner of Festivali I Këngës 48 was decided on 27 December, with Juliana Pasha taking the victory over former winner Anjeza Shahini. She represented Albania at Eurovision 2010 in Oslo with the song "Nuk mundem pa ty". The song is a typical up-tempo composition, and has been compared to Christina Aguilera's "Keeps Gettin' Better" and Britney Spears' "Womanizer". Albania came 6th in the first semi-final with 76 points, thus qualifying for the final. In the final, Juliana gave a strong performance and finished 16th with 62 points which included 12 points from Macedonia.
Albanian participant for the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest was chosen during Festivali i Këngës 49 in December 2010. The winner of 2011's Festival of Song was Aurela Gaçe, winning for the third time after 10 years. Her song was named "Kënga ime" ("My Song") and it was translated into English with the name "Feel the Passion", published in March 12, 2011, during a show called "Historia nis këtu" ("The story begins here") in RTSH. Albania participated in Semi-Final 1 against 18 other countries, fighting for a place in the grand final in May 14. However they missed out on qualification for the first time in 4 years to the final after placing 14th.
Albania competed in the 2012 competition with the song "Suus", which was performed by Rona Nishliu. The song got through to the final of the competition, coming in 5th place over all with 146 points. Rona Nishliu from Kosovo made the best result of Albania finishing in Top 5.
Albania competed in the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest with the song "Identitet" which was performed by Adrian Lulgjuraj and Bledar Sejko. The song "Identitet" was chosen as the winner through the Festivali i Këngës. The results depended on the jury voting only. Among the experts in the jury, the Italian Head of Delegation at the Eurovision Song Contest, Nicola Caligiore who greeted and gave the points in English for all the viewers from the Eurovision.tv webcast. Albania performed 14th in the Second Semi-Final of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö and did not make it into the grand final.
On December 28, 2013, Herciana Matmuja won Festivali i Këngës 52 (the 52nd national final of Albania) and was therefore chosen to represent Albania on Eurovision 2014 with her song 'Zemërimi i një nate'. In the time before Eurovision 2014 she recorded both an English and Albanian version of "Zemërimi i një nate". On March 16 she released the final version of 'One Night's anger' for Eurovision 2014. Albania failed to qualify for the second year in a row.
On 28 December 2014, Elhaida Dani won Festivali i Këngës 53 with the song "Diell", and thus will represent Albania at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015. On 23 February 2015 it was announced that the songwriters decided to withdraw the song and Dani will perform something else at Eurovision. The following day it was revealed that Dani will perform "I'm Alive".
- Table key
|2004||Anjeza Shahini||English||"The Image of You"||7||106||4||167|
|2005||Ledina Çelo||English||"Tomorrow I Go"||16||53||Top 12 Previous Year|
|2006||Luiz Ejlli||Albanian||"Zjarr e ftohtë"||Failed to qualify||14||58|
|2007||Frederik Ndoci||English, Albanian||"Hear My Plea"||17||49|
|2008||Olta Boka||Albanian||"Zemrën e lamë peng"||17||55||9||67|
|2009||Kejsi Tola||English||"Carry Me in Your Dreams"||17||48||7||73|
|2010||Juliana Pasha||English||"It's All About You"||16||62||6||76|
|2011||Aurela Gaçe||English, Albanian||"Feel the Passion"||Failed to qualify||14||47|
|2013||Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko||Albanian||"Identitet"||Failed to qualify||15||31|
|2014||Hersi||English||"One Night's Anger"||15||22|
|2015||Elhaida Dani||English||"I'm Alive"|
- NOTE: If a country had won the previous year, they did not have to compete in the semi-finals the following year. In addition, back in 2004-2007, the top ten countries who were not members of the big four did not have to compete in the semi finals the following year. If, for example, Germany and France placed inside the top ten, the countries who placed 11th and 12th were advanced to the following year's grand final along with the rest of the top ten countries.
As of 2014, Albania's voting history is as follows:
Barbara Dex Award
The Barbara Dex Award has been annually awarded by the fan website House of Eurovision since 1997, and is a humorous award given to the worst dressed artist each year in the contest. It is named after the Belgian artist, Barbara Dex, who came last in the 1993 contest, in which she wore her own self designed dress.
Commentators and spokespersons
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (March 2012)|
|2004||Leon Menkshi||Zhani Ciko|
|2012||Andri Xhahu||Andri Xhahu|
- Bakker, Sietse (2002-11-22). "No new countries at next Eurovision Song Contest". ESCToday. Retrieved 2008-11-03.
- Klier, Marcus (2007-12-17). "Albania: press reaction on Festivali i Këngës". ESCToday. Archived from the original on 29 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-03.
- Viniker, Barry (2007-12-19). "Albania: Festivali I Kenges result under investigation". ESCToday. Archived from the original on 1 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-03.
- Konstantopoulos, Fotis (2007-12-21). "Olta Boka's victory under inverstigation". Oikotimes. Archived from the original on 21 November 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-03.
- Klier, Marcus (2008-12-21). "Albania decided: Kejsi Tola to Eurovision!". ESCToday. Archived from the original on 23 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-21.
- Wells, Simon (2008-12-21). "Albania: Kejsi Tola chosen to sing in Moscow". Oikotimes. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-21.
- Hondal, Victor (2009-03-08). "Albania: Kejsi Tola to sing Carry me in your dreams". ESCToday. Archived from the original on 9 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-08.
- Bakker, Sietse (2009-07-31). "Exclusive: Split jury/televoting results out!". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 2009-08-06.
- "Juliana Pasha's song compared to "Keeps Gettin Better"". YouTube. 2009-12-29. Retrieved 2009-12-29.
- "Juliana Pasha's song compared to "Womanizer"". YouTube. 2009-12-25. Retrieved 2009-12-25.
- "Albania: Herciana Matmuja wins Wins Festivali i Këngës 52 with Zemërimi i një nate". wiwibloggs.com. 28 December 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
- "Albania: Hersiana Matmuja records ESC song in two languages.". wiwibloggs.com. 12 February 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
- "ALBANIA: HERSIANA MATMUJA REVEALS ONE NIGHT’S ANGER". wiwibloggs.com. 16 March 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
- Granger, Anthony (28 December 2014). "Albania: Elhaida Dani Is Off To Vienna". Eurovoix.com. Retrieved 28 December 2014.
- Taylor, Richard (23 February 2015). "Albania: "Diell" Withdrawn". Eurovoix.com. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
- Granger, Anthony (24 February 2015). "Albania: Elhaida To Sing "I’m Alive"". eurovoix. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
- van Thillo, Edwin. "Barbara Dex Award". Retrieved 24 June 2014.
- "Barbara Dex Award". eurovisionhouse.nl. 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2014.