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Aussievision's Festivali i Këngës 59 rankings



Last week the 26 songs competing in Albania's national final Festivali i Këngës were revealed.


The Aussievision team has been busy all week listening and ranking their favourites from the pack.


All up 12 of our team voted and we've collated the points and the Top 10 results in reverse order are:



10. Kastro Zizo - 'Vallja e jetës' (22 points)


  • Highs: 10 points Kyriakos, 4 points Ruby

  • Lows: 0 points Laura, Fleur, Steve, Hugo, Emma and Guy

"This is a great surprise among the entries! I can only describe it as a traditional rock banger bop. Love the vocals, love the beat and I am expecting a spectacular stage performance!" ~ Kyriakos


"Lordi heads East. Can see the appeal, and I’ll admit it’s catchy. But for me, too repetitive and borders on “shouting” rather than “singing”. It did come in the top half of the 26 for me though." ~ Steve


"The melody is fine, but I am not a fan of the song overall. It is also rather repetitive which not something that I find overly endearing. His vocals do not appeal to me either. It is not my least favourite song, it does make my top 20- just." Fleur


"Rock and roll meets Albania! I like the instrumental of the chorus, but the verses don’t do much to me and I lose a bit of interest. A nice traditional entry here." ~ Hugo



9. Orgesa Zaimi - 'Valixhja e kujtimeve' (27 points)


  • Highs: Ruby 8 points, Mike 7 points, Miles and Dale 6 points

  • Lows: 0 points from Laura, Kyriakos, Steve, Fleur, Hugo, Emma and Guy


"Orgessa returns with another pleasing FiK entry. Although probably not as strong as her last two efforts, this still has plenty to like. 'Valixhja e kujtimeve' is an upbeat jazz-influenced song with a catchy chorus that ticks along and stays with you when finished. Orgessa's unique styling and approach to performing should also lend this another dimension." ~ Mike


"A cabaret performance (and I say that as someone who enjoys cabaret). Nothing wrong with that at all, but this just doesn’t pack any punch for me. There’s also a slight whiff of “twee” to the song, which is a turn-off for me. Good vocal though. And, again, it did make the top half of my FiK rankings." ~ Steve


"This song narrowly missed my top 10. Jazz is not a genre that I am typically drawn to, but I can appreciate this. It is a nice package, but I just preferred other songs. I like Orgesa's voice most about this. This song does not scream 'winner' to me." ~ Fleur


"I don’t have any major criticism for this, I just don’t really go for songs with this kind of modern jazz vibe. It’s great to have a variety of styles in FIK, but for me this just doesn’t stand up against the other songs this year. " ~ Guy


"First off, points for the best and most alluring title – ‘The Suitcase of Memories.’ It sounds like something from a fairy tale. The song itself has notes of Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back to Black’ to it and harbours the mildly jazzy vibes that ensue. I don’t think this necessarily squeaks to the top, but it’s nice to listen to." ~ Miles


8. Xhesika Polo - 'Më mbron' (34 points)



  • Highs: 10 points Mike, 8 points Dale, 6 points Steve

  • Lows: 0 points from Kyriakos, Fleur, Hugo, Emma, Ruby, Miles and Liv

"Xhesika delivers one of the most compelling songs of this selection. Striking vocals and an eclectic song that has loads of staging potential all the elements are there. If this all comes together, this could be one of the dark horses to take the FiK59 crown." ~ Mike


"Taking nothing away from Xhesika herself - I loved her vocal and the sentiment. The instrumental killed this song for me, being a bit too grating and irritating for my little Westernised ears." ~ Liv


"A really striking and emotive vocal. The production brings power and depth that takes you on a journey throughout the song. This could be incredible live." ~ Dale


"Interesting backing vocal straight away when I listen to this one. I would describe this as pleasant listening; nice vocal and nice rhythm, but doesn’t really go anywhere and deliver that moment for me, and in a big lineup of songs, it sort of fell by the wayside." ~ Hugo


"There’s no denying Xhesika has one of the most interesting sounds in the competition with her androgynous style vocals. But this sounds like funeral music. I can see this working well on a dramatic TV or movie soundtrack but it’s not for Eurovision...the audience would be asleep before the end of the song." ~ Emma


"Më mbron’ just missed my Top 10 as there are so many enjoyable songs in FiK this year and it was difficult to pick just 10 favourites. Xhesika has a great voice. I just expected more from the song it doesn’t make an impact straight away. I suspect she will elevate this song when she performs it live. I am ready to be impressed." ~ Kyriakos


7. Fatos Shabani - 'Ty' (35 points)


  • Highs: 12 points Miles, 7 points Liv and Emma

  • Lows: Dale, Laura, Kyriakos, Mike, Steve, Hugo and Ruby


"There’s something heartwarmingly low-key about this song. The way it begins with simple strumming. The lush strings. There’s a degree of comfort in its simplicity – there’s no tricks, no layers to peel back; it’s a lovely and endearing love song. It does have a hint of the Coldplay about the overall sound to it, which normally would be a dealbreaker - but I have no issues with adding some uplifting pop into the mix this year, especially given we missed out on seeing ‘Fai rumore’ and ‘Grow’ take to the Eurovision stage. This would be a wonderful step in that direction." ~ Miles


"Some pleasant orchestration and production lifts this otherwise drab offering. With almost a 'Brit-Pop' vibe this ballad has more of a European feel than a traditonal Albanian one. Unfortunately it lacks anything that really stays with me when the song is over." ~ Mike


"I am showing my age here when I say the intro of this song reminds me a lot of America’s 1974 hit ‘Tin Man’, albeit a slightly slower version. There’s also touches of Coldplay...you don’t have to know what the song is about to appreciate its beauty. I love the production, particularly the haunting string section. This sounds so different to a typical national final song but it may be too melancholy for Eurovision and staging might be tough." ~ Emma


"This is beautiful in its simplicity. For the singer/songwriter genre to work in a contest, you have to be able to feel the authenticity, and I’m predicting the performance of this will nail that aspect. I love the stripped back sound of the acoustic guitar, the simple string arrangement, absolutely no percussion, and his voice – it all blends together perfectly." ~ Guy


"Man and guitar song with an arrangement could have come from the 90s. Strings give it some depth and I htink he could have a really strong voice, but ultimately it begins to plod and drag very quickly." ~ Dale


6. Enxhi Nasufi - 'Njësoj' (55 points)


  • Highs: 10 points Dale and Steve, 7 points Laura

  • Lows: 0 points Guy, Ruby, Miles and Liv

"This had first listen immediate impact for me. The most contemporary of this bunch, if it were English it could be on the radio today, a Dua Lipa B-side or even Senhit's song for 2021. Production needs a lift to take it to the next level and definitely have some live performance questions, but as a studio.... it's a bop! ~ Dale


"This disco-infused pop song may be the closest thing we may get to having Dua Lipa participating in FiK as a contestant! I can hear real potential for a high-quality English-translated version of ‘Njësoj’. The chorus in particular is really catchy. However, it seems to stay on one level throughout as a song and lacks a big “wow” moment which may not make it translate so well as a live performance compared to other songs in this lineup. Nonetheless, it will still have a solid place on my playlist, as the studio version of this song is excellent." ~ Laura


"Great 80s-esque beat, real “build” in the song (especially to the boppy chorus), repetitive enough to stick in the memory and have me humming along without coming near being annoying, overall: slick modern pop to a somewhat retro beat. Just missed out on my 12 points." ~ Steve


"Really modern production to this one. Verses move along nicely and then the chorus is catchy as anything, blending a western and eastern sound. A toe-tapper of great quality that is very easy listening." ~ Hugo


"I’m always a tad wary of songs that sound a bit mainstream. That’s not what I’ve come to Eurovision for. I think this song drifts into that category, right down to the “every day…nah nah nah” refrain. I think disco definitely has a place at Eurovision, but this didn’t quite hit that mark. It lacks a really punchy moment that summons you to dance, and for me, that’s where good disco happens. " ~ Miles


"It’s nice but I found it a bit too dated. Don’t get me wrong – I love a good dated bop but it needs to fit the context right. In the case of ‘Njësoj’ I get the impression they were going for something contemporary but wasn’t. Not a good combo for me." ~ Liv


5. Anxhela Peristeri - 'Karma' (61 points)



  • Highs: Hugo and Ruby 12 points, Laura 10 points

  • Lows: 0 points Dale, Kyriakos, Mike and Miles

"One of the strongest ballads of the bunch in my opinion. This is traditional FiK at its finest, filled with. power vocals, drama, and eclectic instruments coupled with traditional orchestration. The beginning is attention-grabbing and the song builds nicely throughout, with an impressive climax at the end. ‘Karma’ is a timeless-sounding ballad and something that would work incredibly well on the Eurovision stage (as long as it’s not translated to English!). Provided that Anxhela Peristeri’s live vocals are just as impactful as in the studio track, I’m sure it will be a contender for the win." ~ Laura


"What about that start! The big note (which sounds a little bit like Efendi’s ‘Cleopatra’), then the electric guitar, then piano! Verses are haunting and build, and I love the traditional instrumentation, paired with a modern percussion. Then the chorus comes and the vocal really stands out. A superb package all around." ~ Hugo


"‘Karma’ misses my top 10 rankings as I find it a little one dimensional and wasn’t happy with the songs climax, I really expected something bigger but didn’t get my satisfaction. The song is definitely a grower though and I will probably love it when I see Anxhela’s live performance at FiK." ~ Kyriakos


"A dramatic opening to this song promises something that it never quite delivers. Lots of traditional elements in vocal delivery and instrumentation will excite some FiK and Euro fans. This has the potential to lift with a good live performance, but for me it never produces the knock out punch." ~ Mike


"A very classic FiK entry – more traditionally rooted than some of the other favourites this year. ‘Karma’ has a delightful mix of old and new, traditional vocals and instrumentation sprinkled with some rock and techno. I can imagine the juries finding this more palatable than some of the other front runners." ~ Liv



4. Gigliola Haveriku - 'E lirë' (65 points)


  • Highs: 12 points Guy, 10 points Fleur, 8 points Miles

  • Lows: 0 points Laura and Ruby


"This is a great ballad. It has a rawness in it that really makes it stand out for me. Gigliola conveys a lot of emotion in the vocals, and if she pulls that off as well in the live performance as she does in the studio version, I think it will be something really special. Endrit Shani is an excellent song writer – the song he wrote for Klint Çollaku this year and his past FIK songs are all stand outs." ~ Guy


"'E lirë' made it to number 11 in my ranking. While the song is melodically very interesting, the instrumentation choices, particularly the addition of dubstep, don’t seem to add very much to the song overall and feel like a jarring distraction compared to the passionate lyrics. Gigliola’s vocals are still fantastic and I hope they can elevate the live performance. ~ Laura


"Love Gigliola’s voice and vocals, love the piano chord repetition and progression, opportunity for winning “moments” (given excellent live vocals and dramatic lighting / staging), I just wanted a little more. I ranked it 4th, but it could easily go higher based on a knockout live performance." ~ Steve


"This is the most interesting song of this year's competition. It is rather dramatic as it builds up to the chorus, although it does take a little while to get there. What sparked me with this song is that none of the others sound like this. This stands out for that reason. Gigliola's voice suits this song perfectly. I really like this song." ~ Fleur



3. Era Rusi - 'Zjarri im' (83 points)


  • Highs: 12 points Laura and Fleur, 10 points Emma, Ruby and Liv

  • Lows: 0 points Guy, 3 points Miles


"My favourite FiK song this year by far! ‘Zjarri im’ is the whole package and the definition of a banger! Every time I hear it I just want to get up and dance! The backing vocals in the pre-chorus remind me of the ones in ‘Ktheju Tokës’ (Albania 2019) and the backing vocals overall really lift the song to the next level! They really make it feel like you’re listening to a whole party enjoying and singing the same song, which encompasses the true spirit of Eurovision. Every element of the song - from the clapping/drums at the start, to the shouting, to the “ay-ay-ay”s in the chorus - is so simple and catchy. My one complaint is that the song doesn’t go for long enough!" ~ Laura


"Is this the bop of the season? Love the drums, sounds and the ‘light my fire’. This song can only be summed up as one oozing hot mess, and I love it. I expect nothing less than flames and fireworks in this performance." ~ Kyriakos


"I admit that I was pleased to see Era Rusi's name in this year's line up. I really liked her song in last year's contest. This song grabbed me in the first verse with the Middle Eastern influences. I really like contemporary touches as well. It is a great banger and I really enjoy listening to it." ~ Fleur


"This one grows on you, starting off slow but interesting enough to keep you listening. Come the chorus this really progresses in to a performance you just know will work on the Eurovision stage. There is huge staging potential here...I’m seeing lots of pyrotechnics and wind machine action. The chorus is super catchy. I’m not a huge fan of her shouty vocal style but this would pack enough punch to make it to the Eurovision final." ~ Emma


"This just missed out from making my top 10, which says a lot about the quality of songs this year. The song sounds like it has the potential to come alive in a big way in the live performances, and if the promo photo is anything to go by, I’m looking forward to seeing the staging. For me there are just some brilliant other songs this year, which pushed it down the list." ~ Guy


"Putting her waxen clavicle to one side, I think there’s some definite appeal here. It’s urgent, energetic, and just that little bit chaotic, which we always love to see at Eurovision. It reminds me a smidgeon of ‘Wild Dances’, which I think could see it be a contender." ~ Miles


"This tops the ‘contemporary’ bangers for me these year – plenty of energy, staging opportunities and is an earworm and a half. If Era can bring a dance number to this it’ll go down well with the fandom." ~ Liv


2. Mirud - 'Nëse vdes' (92 points)


  • Highs:12 points Kyriakos, Steve and Emma, 10 points Hugo

  • Lows: 0 points Miles, 3 points Ruby


"Mirud is my winner this year. The song hits the nostalgic strings with me. I hope his vocals translate this well on stage. It is great to see Mirud all bulked up now (check out his Instagram posts!) and ready to hit the stage with his tree trunk thighs. Can’t wait to see what he brings to the stage, as this track is a banger, I expect great choreography and a few back flips at the least! Cannot wait!" ~ Kyriakos


"A genuine Eastern bop, doing for that Eastern sound what Switzerland’s Luca Hänni did for the Latin sound with “She Got Me”. I can already hear the audience clapping along to the beat. Great dance break too. If Mirud’s vocals are good (or better) and the staging works, this could be awesome. It *just* took out my douze points." ~ Steve


"Traditional sound alert right from the first note! Transitions to a modern sound in the first verse with a great production. Moves at a nice pace, and the pre-chorus builds well. Then that instrumental! Wow! Absolutely love the eastern sound; can see some funky dance moves accompanying this on stage." ~ Hugo


"I love the contemporary sound coupled with the Albanian pop drop which takes this to another level. This reminds me a lot of Joci Papai’s ‘Origo’ (Hungary - Eurovision 2017), it has everything a good Eurovision song needs and would make the final easily. My only slight criticism is the ending which fizzles out too much for my liking but this could definitely be fixed with a revamp." ~ Emma


"From ‘Fuego’ onwards I’ve always found it hard to warm towards songs that use their instrumental dance breaks as their choruses. I can’t really dance but I can shriek song lyrics, so such breaks leave me horribly exposed at parties. But I also find them grating. So this didn’t hit the mark for me." ~ Miles


1. Inis Neziri - 'Pendesë (101 points)



  • Highs: Dale, Mike, Liv 12 points, Miles and Guy 10 points

  • Lows: Emma 1 point, Laura 6 points

"Clearly written with Eurovison rather than FiK in mind, Inis deliver the only song in the line up that is ready to hit the stage at Rotterdam. We know Inis can deliver an incredible vocal and this song gives her plenty of opportunity to do that. The absolute stand out from this years selection. My only question remains with the FiK jury. Will Inis meet the same fate as Elvana last year?" ~ Mike


"This is it folks – the winner vibes are *mwah* splendid. Albania has amazing female vocalists entered this year and for me she is the best of the bunch. Imagine having vocals to burn and then some? Inis can. In all honesty these aren’t usually the entries I gravitate towards from Albania but her live presence and power have won me over." ~ Liv


"I had very high expectations of Inis going into this and I expected to be disappointed... I wasn't. This is so well suited to her voice and gives us a hugely powerful and memorable chorus that she will nail live. It balances the writing and performing for FiK while also having a song ready for Eurovision. I can't see this being beaten, but I've said that about FiK songs before...anything can happen. ~ Dale


"This is classic FIK Balkan power ballad, and it is performed and produced to perfection! The only thing I wonder is if it is a little too perfect. When I first heard it, it went straight to the top of my list because it was so well done, but then over the next few days I started connecting to the emotion in other songs more. At the end of the day though, you can’t deny the song is stunning and will really stand out. Inis is great live, so it’s probably going to be the one to beat." ~ Guy


"This is the song that I expect to see win. It does tick all the boxes - powerful female vocals, well-constructed ballad and a big chorus." ~ Fleur


"Inis has perfect diction that highlights the beauty of the Albanian language. This starts off strongly and never strays in to boring territory. I found it a little lacking in originality and the vocals in the chorus are a little shouty for my liking." ~ Emma


"Inis Neziri’s powerful vocal performance will certainly be a highlight of FiK. ‘Pendesë’ has such polished production, so much so that it sounds more like it belongs in Melfest than FiK. The power notes at the end really help give the song its impact. The only downside of this song for me is that I feel it will lack some Albanian cultural flavour if it is translated to English, and as a result may not stand out as much in Eurovision compared to FiK. Nonetheless, this is a really solid entry and one that I can see doing well in this selection." ~ Laura


The rest of our rankings from 11 to 22:


11 Erikson Lloshi - 'Jo' - 22 points 12 Rosela Gjylbegu - 'Vashëzo' - 15 13 Franc Koruni - 'E morën botën' - 14 14 Florent Abrashi - 'Vajzë' - 14 15 Klinti Çollaku - 'Do t'ja dal' - 13 16 Stefan Marena - 'Meteor' - 11 17 Evi Reçi - 'Tjerr' - 10 18 Kamela Islamaj - 'Ajo vajza' - 8 19 Manjola Nallbani - 'Ora e jetës' - 5 20 Wendi Mancaku - 'Si ajo' - 2 21 Gjergj Kaçinari - 'Më jep jetë' - 2

22 Agim Poshka - 'Vendi im' - 0 22 Devis Xherahu - 'Peng' - 0 22 Festina Mejzini - 'Kush je ti dashuri' - 0 22 Sardi Strugaj - 'Kam me t'ba me kajt' - 0 22 Viktor Tahiraj - 'Nënë' - 0


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