For many Eurofans, Christmas really wouldn’t be Christmas without Festivali i Kenges (more commonly known as FiK). However, there are many changes to the contest this year, including Albania’s Eurovision representative being chosen by televote only (the top 3, new and established artist prizes will be awarded by the jury). The contest will also take place across four nights this year, with the 19th and 20th December comprising the two semi-finals, the 21st being a nostalgia night (where acts duet with famous Albanian singers) and the final taking place on the 22nd December.
Another change from recent years is that fans will not hear the competing entries until the semi-finals, a la Italian song contest Sanremo. However, that hasn’t stopped us from bringing you a run-down of each of the artists competing in the first semi-final. Read on to find out more.
Enxhi Nasufi – Burre
Enxhi Nasufi has previously competed in the Albanian editions of The X Factor and The Voice, reaching the semi-finals in the former. She is also a radio and TV host for Top Albania Radio and Top Channel.
Her FiK 61 offering is called ‘Burre’ (‘Man’) and while we can’t listen to that, this isn’t her first time in the competition. Nasufi also competed in the 2020 edition of FiK, although unfortunately she did not progress to the final with her song ‘Njësoj’ (‘The Same’) which you can listen to below. Will she be luckier this time?
Erma Mici – Kozmosi i Dashurise
Erma Mici is a young singer who participated in the Albanian edition of The Voice Kids in 2018 when she was just 14. She wowed the judges in her blind audition with her cover of ‘You Know I’m No Good’ by Amy Winehouse, who she cites as one of her biggest inspirations. However, she was unfortunately eliminated in the subsequent Battles round.
In 2020, Mici released her debut single ‘Losing Game’, staying true to her Winehouse-esque sound. Will her FiK entry ‘Kozmosi i Dashurise’ (‘Cosmos of Love’) be similar or completely different? Listen to ‘Losing Game’ below.
Fabian Basha – Një gotë
Fabian Basha is probably best known for his work with the band Produkt 28, who won many awards and collaborated with a wealth of Albanian artists during the 2000s. He is also no stranger to FiK, having sung backing vocals for Albania’s 2006 Eurovision entry ‘Zjarr e Ftohtë’ (‘Fire and Cold’) by Luiz Ejilli and competing with Produkt 28 in the 2008 edition of FiK with the song ’30 Sekonda’.
Will it be third time lucky for Basha and his song ‘Një gotë’ (‘A Glass’)? Familiarise yourself with ’30 Sekonda’ below.
Anduel Kovaçi – Malli
Little is known about Anduel Kovaçi but there’s no time like the FiK stage to make your mark on the Albanian music scene and that’s exactly what Kovaçi will be trying to do with his song ‘Malli’ (‘Longing’). You can listen to his cover of ‘Pranvera ne Prishtine’ (‘Spring in Prishtina’) by well-known Kososvan singer, actor and politician Sabri Fejzullahu below.
Fifi – Stop
Fifi is a well-known Kosovan-Albanian artist who has competed in several music competitions across Albania, including Kënga Magjike, which she has appeared in four times. She also participated in Big Brother VIP (Albania’s answer to Celebrity Big Brother) last year. This will be the first time Fifi has performed at FiK but it’s not the first time one of her songs has been associated with Eurovision, as she was one of the songwriters on ‘Ela’ by Andromache, which represented Cyprus at Turin 2022.
Could her song ‘Stop’ win FiK and perhaps inspire viewers to pick up the phone and vote for her to represent Albania at Liverpool 2023? We’ll have to wait to find out but in the meantime, you can listen to the lead single from her debut album ‘Vejmendje’ (‘Attention’) to whet your appetites.
Urban Band – Në çdo hap
Urban Band are an Albanian rock band who competed in last year’s FiK as established artists with the song ‘Padrejtësi’ (‘Injustice’), which they described as a “direct hit on the government and the way they are treating Albanian citizens” in an interview they gave to ESCBubble last year.
Will this year’s entry ‘Në çdo hap’ (‘At Every Step’) be similarly confrontational? Only time will tell but you can listen to ‘Padrejtësi’ again while you wait.
2 Farm – Atomike
2 Farm is a group consisting of well-known Albanian artists Renan Berati, Red Mazi and Kastro Zizo, the latter of which competed in FiK last year with his song ‘Kuje’ which you can remind yourself of below.
2 Farm will be competing this year with their song ‘Atomike’ but they have competed in Albanian Clip Nights this year with another song ‘Hero’, which won them the award for Best Production.
Sara Kapo – Para Teje
Sara Kapo is the daughter of well-known Albanian actress Ema Andrea. As well as singing, she is a freelance graphic designer. She released her debut single ‘Watching You’ in 2018 and will be competing in FiK with her song ‘Para Teje’ (‘Before You’). Get a feel for Kapo’s sound by listening to ‘Watching You’ on Spotify or YouTube. A preview is available below:
Rezarta Smaja – N’Eden
Rezarta Smaja is a stalwart of FiK, having competed in six consecutive editions of the contest from 2013-2018. After a break from the contest, Smaja came back last year with the song ‘E jemja nuse’ (‘My Own Bride’), placing third overall.
Smaja generally does well at FiK, usually placing in the top 10. Could she win this year and will televoters hope to see her at Eurovision too? Her song this year is called ‘N’Eden’ but you can remind yourself of ‘E jemja nuse’ while you wait to hear that.
Albina & Familja Kelmendi – Duje
Albina Kelmendi is a well-known singer, who became known to Albanian households in 2014 when she competed in The Voice, placing second overall at the tender age of 17. She has gone on to release many singles since then.
Coming from a long line of musicians, Albina will not be alone on the FiK stage and will be joined by members of her family to perform the song ‘Duje’ (‘You Want’). Watch her perform ‘Kurre s’te thash te dua’ (‘I Never Said I Loved You’) with her family band below.
Sergio Hajdini – Vështirë
Sergio Hajdini (sometimes billed as Serxhio Hajdini or Sergio HD) is known for his collaborations with many Albanian artists. He has competed in the fifth season of Albania’s edition of The Voice and in the 2016 edition of FiK, where he duetted with his sister Luka on the track ‘Koha plaket’ (‘Time Gets Old’), sadly not progressing to the final. Will he strike it lucky with his solo effort ‘Vështirë’ (‘Difficult’) this year? Listen to ‘Koha plaket’ to remind yourself of Sergio at FiK’.
Luna Causholli – Jetën ta fal
Luna Causholli is a young new artist and as such it was difficult to find much about her. However, if her cover of Billie Eilish’s ‘Halley’s Comet’ is anything to go by, the girl has a stunning voice and will be hoping to stand out among the other new artists at FiK with her song ‘Jetën ta fal’ (‘I Forgive Life’). Watch this space to see what she can do and check out her cover below.
Rovena Dilo – Motit
Rovena Dilo is a well-known singer in the Albanian music scene and has competed in a number of editions of FiK, last making an appearance in the contest in 2009 with her song ‘Përtej kohës’ (‘Beyond Time’), whuch finished 10th that year.
After a long time away from FiK, Dilo is back again with her song ‘Motit’ (‘Weather’). We don’t yet know whether sunny days are forecast for Dilo and her song but you can listen to ‘Përtej kohës’ below.
Who are you most looking forward to seeing in FiK’s first semi-final? What do you think of the changes to the contest this year? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok for all the latest Eurovision content.