Click HERE to read part three of our reviews.

We’ve finally arrived at the day of the first selection for Tel Aviv, as Festivali i Këngës kicks off tonight! With this in mind, our team took a look at the last six entries to review. Who do we think should win this weekend?

Elton Deda – Qetësisht

Connor – 1 – “I remember Elton from last year, and I think we have another case of me preferring the prior entry over this one. Overall this just sounds too causal for me, and I don’t want to listen to this again. Even if we were in the 1970s or 1980s (where this song belongs), it would likely place in the bottom half of the contest. Definitely not what Albania should send to follow up Eugent. It’s a hard no from me.”

James – 2 – “I am of two minds about Qetësisht. First, is this guy for real? This is 1970s soft rock, but of the sort your embarrassing womanizer uncle says he uses to seduce his lady friends at his bachelor pad. Second, this would only work if he goes camp like Rupert Holmes hitting Christopher Cross over the head with his pina colada. But since the song title means calmly or peacefully, I doubt that will happen, unless Albanian humor is lost on me.”

Sean – 7 – “I know this is only a studio version but I’m not convinced by the vocals here. However, I really like the guitar bridge and it’s a pleasant slice of easy listening, a real rainy Sunday morning type of song, but it doesn’t stand out enough to believe it could make it to Tel Aviv.”

Zack – 2 – “This feels like a bad mashup of 70s adult contemporary sung by someone who should be singing something more edgy. Not my cup of tea.”

Total – 12

Erana Libohova – 100 pyetje

Connor – 6 – “Okay now we’ve got a jazz lounge singer vibe happening, and it’s pretty interesting. Is it weird that this sounds like something I would expect to hear in Sanremo or Destination Eurovision and not FiK due to the dreamy orchestration under it? I’m not mad about this song, I just wish it had more oomph to it to break up the very cute 3 minute vocal. Perhaps she’ll bring it to life live.”

James – 5 – “Starts off like a French jazz number, then really switches it up around 0:50. Another one with a violin solo to spice it up, though the song seems like a collection of moments cobbled together rather than a coherent song. Maybe that’s the point of a song called “100 Questions”?“

Sean – 8 – “I’m really enjoying this one! One of the more modern songs in this selection makes 100 pyetje stand out from the rest of the field and the stop-start rhythm leading into a triumphant and happy-sounding (please forgive me if the lyrics are otherwise) final minute certainly makes this an intriguing entry!”

Zack – 6 – “Nice use of the three minutes to build the song, adding some flair here and there with the original melody, particularly in the middle 8”

Total – 25

Artemisa Mithi & Febi Shkurti – Dua te besoj

Connor – 6 – “Ahh another familiar face, but this time in a duet! This has some pretty cool elements to it, but I worry how it will translate live. As we saw with Greece in Lisbon, the reverb overlays don’t always translate to the big stage. That aside, I like the chorus and the exchanges between the rap and vocal. One thing I know is that Artemisa has a killer voice, but I prefer “E dua botën” more.”

James – 3 – “Eh oh, this sucks. This is a cut and paste job of any bog standard pop song in the Billboard Hot 100 right now. I too want to believe a good hip hop song with great rapping can make it at Eurovision, but it’s not this one. There is no pulse to this. If their live performances are as flat as this, Artemisa and Febi will be doomed to irrelevance.”

Sean – 7 – “I understand this was a last minute addition to the competition, but the RnB flavour this entry brings is a breath of fresh air for this selection. It could do with a bit more oomph in the chorus and a little more attitude but it’s a good track. I’m not sure how Europe would react to this but Albanians luckily ignore this aspect when it comes to selecting a Eurovision entry and this would certainly be different for Albania.”

Zack – 7 – “As much as Eurovision seem to be unable to get behind rap, I’m actually quite enjoying this song as there is as much focus on the male rapper as much as the female singer; this does throw me offguard because it’s not something I’d expect from Albania, but I’m pleasantly surprised”

Total – 23

Klint Çollaku – Me jetë

Connor – 5 – “I’m rather on the fence about this one, as I’m not excited by it….but I also don’t dislike it. I do enjoy the beat change up in the middle as it really gives it a fun touch. I guess my issue is that this song is very flat, and it needs a few more levels vocally. The ending is very interesting though, not what I expected to happen.”

James – 6 – “A great singer paired with a pedestrian song. It is slow and turgid and does not match the dynamism of Klint. There are better ballads here.“

Sean – 6 – “This song feels like it builds to something big and powerful, so I’m intrigued approaching the first chorus. And then… not a lot. But in a way I actually like the fact it is a little more subdued in this way. I’m not sure we needed the snare rolls and jumpy electronic production in the background that seems to be the latest Eurovision fad, but he has a great vocal so this could come alive, live.”

Zack – 6 – “Dated, but I think this comes off as a bit of a classic Eurovision type of feel from 10-15 years past; again, not a slight on it and I think when heard live, it could be quite good”

Total – 23

Gjergj Leka – Nje dite tjeter

Connor – 2 – “This song is really strange, because it feels like it was taken out of an Albanian musical, and I think it’s due to the weird interjections of the orchestra and the spoken word in the middle. And then it turns into an accordion section? I’m so confused by this one, but it’s a nah from me.”

James – 4 – “An oddball jazz number with Albanian flair. Sounds like Leka is doing a Salvador Sobral and trying to resurrect something from the 1950s, but with much less success. There’s a few rambling parts he’ll have to cut out to make it 3 minutes or less (this video clocks in at 4:04), and the spoken word parts just don’t work.”

Sean – 6 – “Any song that clearly does its own thing gets bonus points from me, especially with some Albanian spoken word. It’s almost experimental in parts – leaping from one idea to another while keeping the song’s flow is a great skill. I have no idea how this would be shortened if it won but as a piece independent of Eurovision it is an enjoyable listen.”

Zack – 3 – “Another dated tune; the spoken word is a bit too much both in terms of quantity and diminishing the quality of the song”

Total – 15

Orgesa Zaimi – Hije

Connor – 6 – “After discussing this song with many friends, I’ve finally pinned down what this sounds like – an introduction song to a Japanese anime show. It’s a first for a Eurovision selection that I’m aware of, and for that I give it some props. But I feel as if it’s missing something, like this should have a more rock vocal to it. I’m not sure how I feel about it to be honest. I’m indifferent at the moment.”

James – 8 – “The guitar riffs and turntable effects are reminiscent of kwaito along with the barked “Back up! I’m not going to lose my cool!” This is certainly different from the rest, and if FiK 57 voters want to skip over ballads and go with something a little more unorthodox, this would be an intriguing entry for Tel Aviv.”

Sean – 6 – “Orgesa is back with a funky, angsty, punky… well, it’s a song that goes to a lot of places! I enjoy it but there’s something missing when you combine so many elements into a song and don’t really go wholeheartedly into one of them.”

Zack – 8 – “Definitely catchy and will get more catchy listen after listen; this stays true to what makes FiK what it is, while providing a bit of Orgesa’s personality that we saw last year.”

Total – 28

So we have reviewed all 22 entries, but which one came out on top?

  1. Mirud – 30
  2. Aurel Thëllimi – 28
  3. Lorela Sejdini – 28
  4. Orgesa Zaimi – 28
  5. Jonida Maliqi – 27
  6. Klodiana Vata – 26
  7. Marko Strazimiri & Imbro – 26
  8. Soni Malaj – 26
  9. Eliza Hoxha – 25
  10. Erana Libohova – 25
  11. Lidia Lufi – 25
  12. Artemisa Mithi & Febi Shkurti – 23
  13. Klint Çollaku – 23
  14. Bruno Pollogati – 22
  15. Alar Band – 20
  16. Elona Islamaj – 20
  17. Bojken Lako – 18
  18. Dilan Reka – 18
  19. Gjergj Leka – 15
  20. Kelly – 15
  21. Kujtim Prodani – 14
  22. Elton Deda – 12

So we have decided – it should be Mirud who wins Festivali i Këngës 57 and represent Albania in Tel Aviv! But do #YOU agree, or feel that another song should represent Albania?

What do #YOU think, should Mirud win or another artist? Share your thoughts with us on our forum HERE or join the discussion below and on social media!

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