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 2024 in Malmö.
The second night saw the remaining 15 of the 31 participants take part and we've picked out some of the highlights.
Our top picks
Anduel Kovaci - 'Nan'
Anduel has returned with another spellbinding song and performance. His operatic voice is fabulous the song has a strong melody and drive behind it. Anduel is giving it his all and it makes for a very compelling package. Big crowd response. Won't lie, I got chills - what a standout performance. This is the Aussievision pick of the evening.
Elsa Lila - 'Mars'
Off the back of her jury winning performance last year with 'Evita', Elsa returns with another compelling entry. The biggest strength of 'Mars' is Elsa's iconic and stand out vocal. Another mesmerising song and performance - albeit, not quite as exceptional as last year and it'll be battling with the comparison to 'Evita'. Still a top contender for the festival.
Tiri Gjoci - 'Në ëndërr'
No stranger to FiK, competing in 2017 and 2019, Tiri returns with another lovely ballad. His performance is essentially classic FiK (ie. old school FiK) with great use of the orchestra and powerful vocals. It's a very understated entry, erring on sometimes a little too simple. Overall, one of the strongest of the night.
Kleansa Susaj - 'Pikturë'
Kleansa is a beautiful vocalist with an uplifting entry. The song has a great build with the orchestra and gives her lots of opportunity to flex her vocals. I look forward to her progression through the festival this year. A bright young artist for the future.
Arsi Bako - 'Zgjohu'
Some more powerful female vocals - Arsi really burst out the barrier from the start of her performance and delivered one of the higher energy moments of the night. The song really powers along and stands out as different in the lineup.
Erina and the Elementals - 'Jetën n'skaj'
A very different entry to anything else we saw this morning. Erina has distinctive and strong vocals. The orchestra with guitars is always a welcome combination at FiK and gives some real oomph to the proceedings. An interesting tune with lots of heart.
Besa Krasniqi - 'Esenciale'
The absolute whiplash Eurofans got this morning when they were waiting for a big pop girlie moment - only to get 'go girl, give us nothing' instead. Vocally and tune wise this performance is fine, but paired with the out of sync backing dancers and a questionable 'dance break' three quarters of the way through the performance made for a real head scratcher.
All videos are available on the RTSH broadcaster YouTube account: https://www.youtube.com/@RadioTelevizioniShqiptar/videos
Night 3 will take place tomorrow with "nostalgia night". Contestants will perform songs from the history of Festivali i Këngës and Eurovision.
The final will be on the morning of Saturday 23 December in Australia, Friday 22 December in Europe.
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