Albania participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 with the song « Fairytale« , written by Olsa Toqi. The song was performed by Eneda Tarifa. The Albanian broadcaster Radio Televizioni Shqiptar (RTSH) organised the 54th edition of the Albanian song competition Festivali i Këngës in order to select the Albanian entry for the 2016 contest in Stockholm, Sweden. The competition consisted of thirty entries competing in two semi-finals held on 25 and 26 December 2015, followed by a final on 27 December 2015 where twenty-two entries qualified to compete. A seven-member jury panel selected « Përrallë », performed by Eneda Tarifa, as the winner. The song was later translated from Albanian to English for the Eurovision Song Contest and was titled « Fairytale ».
Albania was drawn to compete in the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest which took place on 12 May 2016. Performing during the show in position 17, « Fairytale » was not announced among the top 10 entries of the second semi-final and therefore did not qualify to compete in the final. It was later revealed that Albania placed sixteenth out of the 18 participating countries in the semi-final with 45 points.
Prior to the 2016 Contest, Albania had participated in the Eurovision Song Contest twelve times since its first entry in 2004. The nation’s best placing in the contest was fifth, which it achieved in 2012 with the song « Suus » performed by Rona Nishliu. Following the introduction of semi-finals for the 2004 contest, Albania had, to this point, featured in seven finals. In 2015, Albania qualified to the final and placed seventeenth with the song « I’m Alive » performed by Elhaida Dani.
The Albanian national broadcaster, Radio Televizioni Shqiptar (RTSH), broadcasts the event within Albania and organises the selection process for the nation’s entry. The Albanian competition Festivali i Këngës has been organised every year since 1964 and has been used as Albania’s Eurovision selection method since its debut in 2004. Details regarding the 54th edition of Festivali i Këngës were announced on 8 August 2015, however the Albanian broadcaster formally confirmed their participation in the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 on 24 September 2015.
Festivali i Këngës 54
Festivali i Këngës 54 was the 54th annual edition of the Albanian music competition Festivali i Këngës and the thirteenth time the competition was used to determine the artist and song that would represent Albania at the Eurovision Song Contest, this time selecting their 2016 contest entry. The competition consisted of two semi-finals on 25 and 26 December 2015 and a final on 27 December 2015, held at the Palace of Congresses in Tirana. The artistic director of the show was Elton Deda, the festival director was Bledar Laço, the screenwriter was Pandi Laço and the music production was led by Edmond Zhulali and Sokol Marsi. All three shows were hosted by Pandi Laço and Blerta Tafani.
The two semi-finals each featured fifteen competing entries. The votes of a jury panel selected eleven entries from each semi-final to advance to the final. In the final, the twenty-two competing entries were voted upon by a jury panel in order to select the winner. The seven-person jury panel consisted of:
RTSH invited interested artists and composers to submit their entries between 29 and 30 September 2015. Submission criteria stressed that all songs were to be in the Albanian language, all performers were required to be at least 16 years of age, singers and composers could only submit one song and lyricists could only submit two songs. The broadcaster received approximately 70 submissions. On 16 October 2015, RTSH announced the thirty artists and songs selected for the competition by a special committee and among the competing artists were two previous Albanian Eurovision Song Contest entrants: Luiz Ejlli (2006) and Adrian Lulgjuraj (2013). One entry was later withdrawn: « Era » written by Adrian Hila and Pandi Laço and to have been performed by Edea Demaliaj. « Një shishe në oqean » performed by Orgesa Zaimi was named as the replacement entry.
The competing entries were released to the public online through the broadcaster’s website on 4 December 2015. Throughout December 2015, Radio Tirana aired the competing entries and interviewed the artists on the programme Gjithçka Shqip hosted by Andri Xhahu and Artemisa Deda. On 10 December, 40-second promotional video clip montages of all of the entries were released by the broadcaster.
|Artist||Song||English Translation||Music (m) / Lyrics (l)|
|Adrian Lulgjuraj||« Jeto dhe ëndërro »||Live and dream||Adrian Lulgjuraj (m&l)|
|Andi Tanko||« Dielli vazhdon të më ngrohë »||The sun continues to warm me||Etmond Mancaku (m&l)|
|Aslajdon Zaimaj||« Merrmë që sot »||Take me right from today||Briz Musaraj (m) / Gerald Xhari (Big Basta) (l)|
|Besa Krasniqi||« Liroje zemrën »||Free your heart||Besa Krasniqi (m&l)|
|Dilan Reka||« Buzëqesh »||Smile||Endri Sina (m) / Ergisa Cenuka (l)|
|Egert Pano||« Mos ik »||Don’t go||Egert Pano (m) / Enrieta Sina (l)|
|Egzon Pireci||« Triumf »||Triumph||Faton Dolaku (m) / Egzon Pireci (l)|
|Eneda Tarifa||« Përrallë«||Fairytale||Olsa Toqi (m&l)|
|Enxhi Nasufi||« Infinit »||Infinite||Klodian Qafoku (m) / Florian Zyka (l)|
|Erga Halilaj||« Monolog »||Monologue||Gjergj Kaçinari (m) / Erga Halilaj (l)|
|Evans Rama||« Flakë »||Flame||Gent Lako (m) / Helena Halilaj (l)|
|Flaka Krelani||« S’je për mua »||You’re not for me||Qëndrim Krelani (m&l)|
|Florent Abrashi||« Të ndjek çdo hap »||I follow your every step||Fabian Asllani (m&l)|
|Genc Tukiçi||« Sa të dashuroj »||How much I love you||Genc Tukiçi (m&l)|
|Jozefina Simoni||« Një det me ty »||A sea with you||Enis Mullaj (m) / Sokol Marsi (l)|
|Klajdi Musabelliu||« Ndodh edhe kështu »||It also happens this way||Klajdi Musabelli (m) / Perikli Papingji (l)|
|Klodian Kaçani & Rezarta Smaja||« Dashuri në përjetësi »||Love in eternity||Edmond Zhulali (m) / Agim Doçi (l)|
|Kozma Dushi||« Një kafe »||A coffee||Vladimir Kotani (m) / Jorgo Papingji (l)|
|Kristi Popa||« Ajo çfarë ndjej »||What I feel||Kristi Popa (m) / Jorgo Papingji (l)|
|Lindi Islami||« Për një mrekulli »||For a miracle||Lindi Islami (m) / Gerald Xhari (Big Basta) (l)|
|Luiz Ejlli||« Pa mbarim »||Without end||Marian Deda (m) / Agim Doçi (l)|
|Niku & Entela Zhula||« Muza »||Muse||Entela Zhula (m&l)|
|Nilsa Hysi||« Asaj »||To her||Indri Topi (m) / Nilsa Hysi (l)|
|Orgesa Zaimi||« Një shishe në oqean »||A bottle in the ocean||Diana Ziu (m) / Agron Tufa (l)|
|Renis Gjoka||« Ato që s’ti them dot »||What I cannot tell you||Renis Gjoka (m&l)|
|Revolt Klan||« Dashurinë s’e gjejmë dot »||We can’t find love||Grupi “Revolt Klan” (m&l)|
|Sigi Bastri||« Engjëll i lirë »||Free angel||Endrit Shani (m) / Silivi Bastri (l)|
|Simbol||« Artiste »||Artist||Martin Çipi (m) / Grupi “Simbol” (l)|
|Teuta Kurti||« Në sytë e mi »||In my eyes||Sokol Marsi (m&l)|
|Voltan Prodani||« Dëgjoje këngën o Atë »||Listen to the song oh Father||Voltan Prodani (m) / Zhuljana Jorganxhi (l)|
The first semi-final took place on 25 December 2015 and the second semi-final took place on 26 December 2015. Eleven entries from each semi-final qualified to the final based on the votes of a seven-member jury. The qualifiers for both semi-finals were announced at the conclusion of the second semi-final.
The final took place on 27 December 2015. Eleven entries that qualified from each of the two semi-finals, all together twenty-two entries, competed. At the conclusion of the show, the top ten competing entries were announced as voted upon by a seven-member jury. « Përrallë » performed by Eneda Tarifa was selected as the winner.
|Final – 27 December 2015|
|1||Sigi Bastri||« Engjëll i lirë »||–|
|2||Klodian Kaçani & Rezarta Smaja||« Dashuri në përjetësi »||4|
|3||Dilan Reka||« Buzëqesh »||7|
|4||Adrian Lulgjuraj||« Jeto dhe ëndërro »||–|
|5||Erga Halilaj||« Monolog »||–|
|6||Evans Rama||« Flakë »||10|
|7||Jozefina Simoni||« Një det me ty »||–|
|8||Egert Pano||« Mos ik »||–|
|9||Genc Tukiçi||« Sa të dashuroj »||–|
|10||Kozma Dushi||« Një kafe »||–|
|11||Luiz Ejlli||« Pa mbarim »||–|
|12||Teuta Kurti||« Në sytë e mi »||8|
|13||Besa Krasniqi||« Liroje zemrën »||–|
|14||Nilsa Hysi||« Asaj »||6|
|15||Kristi Popa||« Ajo çfarë ndjej »||–|
|16||Flaka Krelani||« S’je për mua »||3|
|17||Enxhi Nasufi||« Infinit »||5|
|18||Lindi Islami||« Për një mrekulli »||–|
|19||Florent Abrashi||« Të ndjek çdo hap »||–|
|20||Eneda Tarifa||« Përrallë«||1|
|21||Renis Gjoka||« Ato që s’ti them dot »||9|
|22||Aslajdon Zaimaj||« Merrmë që sot »||2|
Following Tarifa’s win at Festivali i Këngës, the singer was interviewed for the official Eurovision Song Contest website where she revealed that the song would likely be translated from Albanian to English for the Eurovision Song Contest. On 28 January 2016, it was announced that the Eurovision version of the song was being prepared and that the title of the song would be « Fairytale Love ». The English version, ultimately titled « Fairytale », was premiered together with the official music video on 13 March 2016 during the evening news on TVSH.
Eneda Tarifa made several appearances across Europe to specifically promote « Fairytale » as the Albanian Eurovision entry. On 9 April, Tarifa performed during the Eurovision in Concert event which was held at the Melkweg venue in Amsterdam, Netherlands and hosted by Cornald Maas and Hera Björk. Between 11 and 13 April, Eneda Tarifa took part in promotional activities in Tel Aviv, Israel and performed during the Israel Calling event held at the Ha’teatron venue. On 17 April, Tarifa performed during the London Eurovision Party, which was held at the Café de Paris venue in London, United Kingdom and hosted by Nicki French and Paddy O’Connell.
According to Eurovision rules, all nations with the exceptions of the host country and the « Big 5 » (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) are required to qualify from one of two semi-finals in order to compete for the final; the top ten countries from each semi-final progress to the final. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) split up the competing countries into six different pots based on voting patterns from previous contests, with countries with favourable voting histories put into the same pot.On 25 January 2016, a special allocation draw was held which placed each country into one of the two semi-finals, as well as which half of the show they would perform in. Albania was placed into the second semi-final, to be held on 12 May 2016, and was scheduled to perform in the second half of the show.
Once all the competing songs for the 2016 contest had been released, the running order for the semi-finals was decided by the shows’ producers rather than through another draw, so that similar songs were not placed next to each other. Albania was set to perform in position 18, following the entry from Georgia and before the entry from Belgium. However, following Romania’s disqualification from the contest on 22 April and subsequent removal from the running order of the second semi-final, Albania’s performing position shifted to 17.
Both semi-finals and the final were broadcast in Albania on TVSH, RTSH HD, RTSH Muzikë and Radio Tirana with commentary by Andri Xhahu. The Albanian spokesperson, who announced the top 12-point score awarded by the Albanian jury during the final, was Andri Xhahu.
Eneda Tarifa took part in technical rehearsals on 5 and 7 May, followed by dress rehearsals on 11 and 12 May. This included the jury show on 11 May where the professional juries of each country watched and voted on the competing entries.
The Albanian performance featured Eneda Tarifa performing in a golden dress on stage with three backing vocalists. Tarifa performs the song in a stationary position together with blue and gold graphics and stage lighting. The three backing vocalists on stage with Eneda Tarifa were Besa Krasniqi, Venera Lumani and Xhoni Jesku.
At the end of the show, Albania was not announced among the top 10 entries in the second semi-final and therefore failed to qualify to compete in the final. It was later revealed that Albania placed sixteenth in the semi-final, receiving a total of 45 points: 35 points from the televoting and 10 points from the juries.
Voting during the three shows was conducted under a new system that involved each country now awarding two sets of points from 1-8, 10 and 12: one from their professional jury and the other from televoting. Each nation’s jury consisted of five music industry professionals who are citizens of the country they represent, with their names published before the contest to ensure transparency. This jury judged each entry based on: vocal capacity; the stage performance; the song’s composition and originality; and the overall impression by the act. In addition, no member of a national jury was permitted to be related in any way to any of the competing acts in such a way that they cannot vote impartially and independently. The individual rankings of each jury member as well as the nation’s televoting results were released shortly after the grand final.
Below is a breakdown of points awarded to Albania and awarded by Albania in the second semi-final and grand final of the contest, and the breakdown of the jury voting and televoting conducted during the two shows:
Points awarded to Albania
|Points awarded to Albania (Semi-final 2)|
|12 points||10 points||8 points||7 points||6 points|
|5 points||4 points||3 points||2 points||1 point|
|12 points||10 points||8 points||7 points||6 points|
|5 points||4 points||3 points||2 points||1 point|
Points awarded by Albania
Split voting results
The following five members comprised the Albanian jury:
- Edison Misso – Chairperson – professor of classic guitar at the University of Arts Tirana
- Kejsi Tola – singer, represented Albania in the 2009 contest
- Flamur Shehu – composer
- Nisida Tufa – journalist, speaker, producer
- Agim Doçi – author, lyricist
|Split voting results from Albania (Semi-final 2)|
|E. Misso||K. Tola||F. Shehu||N. Tufa||A. Doçi||Average Rank||Points||Rank||Points|
|Split voting results from Albania (Final)|
|E. Misso||K. Tola||F. Shehu||N. Tufa||A. Doçi||Average Rank||Points||Rank||Points|
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(Note: Entries scored out are when Albania did not compete)