Artists revealed for Albania's Festivali i Këngës 59
The artists for the first national final season of the year, Albania's Festivali i Këngës (FiK) 59, have been announced.
All up 26 artists were revealed by broadcaster Radio Televizioni Shqiptar (RTSH), including 18 returning artist from previous FiK contests.
The full list of those competing (with song titles) are:
Agim Poshka - 'Vendi im'
Anxhela Peristeri - 'Karma'
Devis Xherahu - 'Peng'
Enxhi Nasufi - 'Njësoj'
Era Rusi - 'Zjarri im'
Erikson Lloshi - 'Jo'
Evi Reçi - 'Tjerr'
Fatos Shabani - 'Ty'
Festina Mejzini - 'Kush je ti dashuri'
Florent Abrashi - 'Vajzë'
Franc Koruni - 'E morën botën'
Giliola Haveriku - 'E lirë'
Gjergj Kaçinari - 'Më jep jetë'
Inis Neziri - 'Pendesë
Kamela Islamaj - 'Ajo vajza'
Kastro Zizo - 'Vallja e jetës'
Klinti Çollaku - 'Do t'ja dal'
Manjola Nallbani - 'Ora e jetës'
Mirud - 'Nëse vdes'
Orgesa Zaimi - 'Valixhja e kujtimeve'
Rosela Gjylbegu - 'Vashëzo'
Sardi Strugaj - 'Kam me t'ba me kajt'
Stefan Marena - 'Meteor'
Viktor Tahiraj - 'Nënë'
Wendi Mancaku - 'Si ajo'
Xhesika Polo - 'Më mbron'
Missing from the above is 2020 representative Arilena Ara, who will not be competing. Neither will last year's runner-up Elvana Gjata, who many fans hoped would return.
There is however, some strong artists in the field.
Inis Neziri finished 3rd in 2018 behind Eugent Bushpepa's 'Mall' with her song 'Piedestal'.
That song went on to finish 10th in the OGAE Second Chance Contest later that year.
But even more successful was Inis herself. In the space of 12 months, she won two of Europe's biggest song competitions - the Grand Prize at Romania's Golden Stag Contest and the New Wave Song Contest title, which is held annually in Russia. Former winners of New Wave have been Eurovision competitors Jamala, Sergey Lazarev, DoReDos and Natalie Gordienko.
Other notable acts include Orgesa Zaimi who made the final in both FiK 56 and 57, Era Rusi who finished 5th in FiK 58, Klinti Çollaku who finished 6th in FiK 57, Kamela Islamaj who finished 6th last year and fan favourite Mirud who shockingly went out in the semi-finals in FiK 57.
Although the dates of FiK 59 are to be confirmed, they usually fall in the week leading up to Christmas, hence the moniker 'FiKmas' given to the contest by fans.
But of course nothing is certain in COVID-19 times so continue to follow us for news on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.