Festivali i Këngës 58 has now concluded, following two semi-finals earlier in the week. A total of 12 finalists performed their songs again, with a jury selecting the winner of the competition.
Here are the finalists:
- Valon Shehu – Kutia e Pandorës
- Sara Bajraktari – Ajër
- Robert Berisha – Ajo Nuk Është Unë
- Tiri Gjoci – Me Gotën Bosh
- Bojken Lako – Malaseen
- Arilena Ara – Shaj
- Gena – Shqiponja e Lirë
- Kamela Islamaj – Më Ngjyros
- Albërie Hadërgjonaj – Ku Ta Gjej Dikë Ta Dua
- Elvana Gjata – Me Tana
- Olta Boka – Botë Për Dy
- Era Rusi – Eja Merre
The jury for the show included Swedish singer and tv producer Christer Björkman, Greek composer Dimitris Kontopoulos, Icelandic Head of Delegation Felix Bergsson, Albanian musicologist Mikaela Minga and Albanian poet Rita Petro.
The winner of the competition was Arilena Ara with the song Shaj, followed by Elvana Gjata in second place, and Sara Bajraktari in third place. Arilena Ara will now go on to represent Albania at Eurovision with her song Shaj, although it is unclear whether the song will be performed in English or will remain in Albanian.
The song was composed by Darko Dimitrov and Lazar Cvetkoski, and the lyrics by Lindon Berisha. Darko Dimitrov is a Macedonian producer and songwriter who has written a number of Eurovision songs, including the Macedonian entry in 2006, Ninanajna, the 2013 entry, Pred da se razdeni, 2014 with To The Sky, 2018 with Lost and Found and worked on the 2019 Macedonian entry, Proud. He has also worked on the Albanian entry for 2015, I’m Alive, as well as the Serbian entries Nova Deca and Kruna.
Arilena Ara is just 21 years old, but came to fame after winning the second season of X Factor Albania back in 2012. In 2016, she participated in another prestigious Albanian song festival, Kënga Magjike where she won the award for Best Ballad and finished with the third prize for her song, Nëntori. In 2019, she was a coach on the third season of the Voice Kids Albania.
Listen to her winning performance below: