Microphone interference and a charming orchestra; The FEST’58 first Semi-Final

It’s Christmas FiKmas time! And as every late December, Albania provides us with the first national final of the season. After a rumor of a delay due to the devastating earthquakes in the region, FEST’58 started last night on schedule, except for the 30min delay we’re all used to with Albanian brodcasting

After last year’s revamp which included all songs being performed twice in both orchestral and Eurovision styles across the semi-finals, the renewed management team tried to attract Albania’s (And Europe’s) attention with a +2.5h gala with a program of only ten competing songs per evening. The songs were intermixed between several speeches befuddled by microphone problems which plagued the night.

Eurovision Albania (Facebook)

Jonida Maliqi, winner of the 57th edition began the show with her victorious song. Following her performance, a 10min introduction by the host gave a warm welcome to the audience and the orchestra, who accompanied the participating artists in a different order than the one announced by the RTSH before the show.


A show filled with ballads and with a sound and production errors is a far cry from the respect that a festival like this deserves in its fifty-eighth edition, but still did not spoil the first great Albanian night. The favorites of the night performed a superb interpretation, very much up to what Europe could expect.

One of the evening’s highlights was, Kamela Islamaj’s performance of “Më ngjyros” focused on the artist figure and prominent vocal interpretation, proclaiming her as a candidate to take the victory on Sunday’s show, after receiving the highest ovation of the night so far. 

Another highlight was Elvana Gjata with her song “Me tana.” Trending since its release, gathering millions of views on YouTube, the performance brought energy to the stage, switching from the blueish tone we’re all used to from the Albanian National Final to a prominent red. Elvana, surrounded by a large number of dancers, did a great vocal interpretation. A real feat given, the highly criticized orchestration of the very well produced studio version of the song. Despite the disappointing instrumentation, Elvana managed to provide an outstanding performance, reminiscent of the Latin sounds invoked in Eleni Foureira’s ‘Fuego’ success.

The Interval Acts

Former Festivali i Këngës participants performed a medley of the most known songs of the contest before the last song of the show had been performed, confusing the surprised audience. Luan Zhengu, well known Albanian artist, was awarded a trophy on his career before the show had its last song. Following another advertising break, Mahmood (Italy 2019) reached everybody with an outstanding performance of his latest single “Barrio”. After a brief conversation with the host in Italian and a message to those affected by the earthquakes, he finished his intervention performing his hit “Soldi”.

Generally speaking, the show had an unusual structure, with sudden changes of pace, providing zero clues on what to expect while watching. The dynamism seen last year with the songs being performed twice in different styles left this year’s structure with something missing, despite the evident effort of the writers and producers.

Tonight, the second Semi-Final of the show will take place. All the information you need about it is found in the following post:

Remember to vote in our poll to get everybody to know who you want to win on Sunday!

Festivali I Këngës 2019 - Semi-Final

Elvana Gjata – Me tana404
Arilena Ara – Shaj315
Kanita Suma – Ankth265
Era Rusi – Eja merre259
Sara Bajraktari – Ajër127
Wendi Mancaku – Ende122
Olta Boka –Botë për dy98
Gena – Shqiponja e lirë96
Eli Fara & Stresi – Bohemë88
Albërie Hadërgjonaj – Ku ta gjej dikë ta dua88
Kamela Islamaj – Më ngjyros80
Aldo Bardhi – Melodi73
Tiri Gjoci – Me gotën bosh72
Valon Shehu – Kutia e Pandorës69
Robert Berisha – Ajo nuk është unë66
Kastro Zizo – Asaj58
Bojken Lako – Malaseen49
Nadia & Genc Tukiçi – Ju flet Tirana47
Devis Xherahu – Bisedoj me serenatën34
Renis Gjoka – Loja26

Number of voters: 40

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