The first Eurovision national final of the 2021 season has taken place, with Albania the first nation to select their competing entry.
Festivali i Këngës took place in December, featuring two Semi-Finals and the Grand Final. All 26 competing acts performed in both Semi-Finals, with the artists performing their competing entries in the first Semi-Final, and performing their competing entries acoustically in the second Semi-Final. A total of 18 participants were selected to progress to the final.
The voting was 100% jury vote, with the jury consisting of Luan Zhegu (composer, singer), Kastriot Çaushi (actor), Zana Shuteriqi (musicologist, composer), Vasil Tole (composer), Preç Zogaj (poet, writer), Ramë Lahaj (tenor) and Andri Xhahu (spokesperson and commentator for Albania at the Eurovision Song Contest).
Here is the running order from the final:
- Sardi Strugaj – Kam me t’ba me kajt
- Xhesika Polo – Më mbron
- Orgesa Zaimi – Valixhja e kujtimeve
- Wendi Mancaku – Vesi i shpirti tim
- Era Rusi – Zjarri im
- Gjergj Kaçinari – Më jep jetë
- Rosela Gjylbegu – Vashëzo
- Devis Xherahu – Peng
- Mirud – Nëse vdes
- Gigliola Haveriku – E lirë
- Viktor Tahiraj – Nënë
- Kamela Islamaj – Kujtimet s’kanë formë
- Florent Abrashi – Vajzë
- Inis Neziri – Pendesë
- Evi Reçi – Tjerr
- Anxhela Peristeri – Karma
- Festina Mejzini – Kush je ti dashuri
- Kastro Zizo – Vallja e jetës
Finishing in third place was Festina Mejzini, and runner up was Sardi Strugaj. Winning the opportunity to represent Albania at Eurovision was Anxhela Peristeri, who will sing Karma at Eurovision this May. It has since been announced that Anxhela will keep the song in Albanian for Eurovision.
Watch the national final performance below: