This morning, Australian time, Albania's week-long music event Festivali i Këngës (FiK) kicked off its first night.
The festival takes place over four nights and will decide who represents Albania at Eurovision 2023 in Liverpool.
There is a change up to the decision making this year, with a traditional jury picking a song to win the festival while the public will choose the representative for Eurovision separately.
The first night saw half of the 26 participants take part and we've picked out some of the highlights.
Our top picks
Albina & Familja Kelmendi - 'Duje'
Albina performs with her family in this big and bold entry. It has a very traditional feel with a strong chorus and back-up family singers. Although there is the traditional, Albina brings the modern pop star element to it all. It received a huge reception from the audience and could certainly do well this week.
Enxhi Nasufi - 'Burrë'
In a very un-FiK like start, Enxhi came out with a up-beat bop complete with silver frock, dancing and smoke machines. Enxhi won't be going for the jury win but she may be bringing what the public want to see at Eurovision.
Anduel Kovaçi - 'Malli'
If you like your classic retro Balkan ballads this is for you. Anduel's voice works perfectly with the song and the arrangement with the orchestra including traditional instrumentation is perfect. This received a rousing reception from the audience and could be a dark horse to do well.
Fifi - 'Stop'
The star of this entry is Fifi herself. She is already well-known and a talented songwriter (she co-wrote 'Ela' the Cypriot entry for Eurovision in 2022) and she makes this entry work. There are elements of 'Stop' that work well including some excellent use of traditional instruments and a very slick production. But overall the song can be a little clunky at times, this is written for Eurovision in mind and is one revamp away from being a very solid entry for Liverpool.
Erma Mici - 'Kozmosi i dashurisë'
Albania is known for it's powerhouse female vocalists and Erma didn't disappoint. In a slightly Bond-esque orchestral number she brought the drama and the vocals and if that's your cup of tea, Erma's song may be for you. Can see this doing well with the FiK juries.
Rezarta Smaja - 'N'Eden'
An experience FiK performer, the song has lots of drama and vocal and could catch the eyes of the jury. The song may just lack something for viewers at home though.
2 Farm - 'Atomike'
Odd rock performed by three chaps in inexplicable light up google glasses. Hard miss from me, but it did get a strong reception from the audience. Albania are you ok?
All videos are available on the RTSH broadcaster YouTube account: https://www.youtube.com/@RadioTelevizioniShqiptar/videos
Night 2 will take place tomorrow with the second half of 13 artists to perform.
The final will be on the morning of Friday 23 December in Australia, Thursday 22 December in Europe.
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