Festivali i Këngës 61: Elsa Lila wins the festival and Albina and the Familja Kelmendi will represent Albania at Eurovision 2023

23 Dhjetor 2022, 06:37Culture TEMA

After four nights and 26 artists singing on the stage of the Tirana Congress Palace, we finally know the winner of the 61st edition of the Festivali i Këngës. Albanian public television held the grand final of the competition, which featured a total of 21 artists (16 established artists and 5 newcomers) in this final show.


Elsa Lila was the winner of the festival. She has been chosen by the professional jury made up of the producer Genc Salihu, the singer Alma Bektasi, the teacher Jeani Ciko, the poet Rita Petro and the singer Elton Deda. The award for the second place went to Albina dhe Familja Kelmendi, while 2 Farm finished in 3rd position at Festivali i Këngës 61.

As announced by the RTSH, the singer for Eurovision would be chosen by the public and therefore did not have to be the same as the FiK winner. Finally, the Kosovars Albina dhe Familja Kelmendi have been chosen to represent Albania in Liverpool next may for Eurovision 2023

The festival also handed out two more awards. The winner for Best Young Artist went to Erma Mici. The winner of the Best Career Award went to Rovena Dilo

As usual the Festivali i Këngës has had important guests but this time also artists outside the country’s music industry. The latest Eurovision winners, Kalush Orchesta, performed on the third night of the festival. In the final, the protagonist was Gala Dragot, a young Albanian-born singer who is among the candidates to represent Belgium at Eurovision 2023.


The Festivali i Këngës was held from 19-22 December with Arbana Osmani as director and presenter. She is one of the most recognised faces in the country’s television for hosting reality shows such as Big Brother and Big Brother Vip. Her team includes Eduart Grishaj as stage director. Grishaj is a filmmaker with a degree in Film and Television and is currently in the production of Big Brother Vip. Meanwhile, Flori Mumajesi will be artistic director. One of the great Albanian composers of the country’s new generations, he is also a singer.

This year has changed its usual format, now all the songs were premiered live and not weeks before the show. In addition, another major change is that the winner of the festival does not necessarily have to be the same as the one who ends up making it to Eurovision.

Now, the representative for the European festival has been decided entirely by the Albanian public through their votes by SMS, which can be the same as the winner of FiK 61 if the professional jury and the televote coincide, someting that finally didn’t happened. According to Albanian Television (RTSH), these changes “come as a result of preserving the values of the festival, but also to adapt to the specific requirements of Eurovision” . In this way, the Festivali i Këngës winner that we have known today has been chosen entirely by the professional jury.

The first two nights were the premiere of the 26 competing songs, divided into 13 each show. Of all of them, ten were new artists and only five were able to reach the grand final. The third night, was a Sanremo-style covers show, with guest artists invited to sing with the contestants. In the final show, the 21 chosen contestants competed to win the festival and represent Albania at Eurovision 2023.


Ronela Hajati already has a successor both for the Festivali i Këngës itself and as a representative at Eurovision. She was the winner of the 60th Festivali i Këngës. It was a big change, because until then the Festivali i Këngës followed a pattern of winners with traditional songs and the ballad route. But Ronela won with ‘Sekret’, an uptempo song. However, her disagreements with the Albanian TV station in charge of the festival meant that she was not invited to the Festivali i Këngës 61.

The victory at the Albanian Song Contest gave her the ticket to Eurovision 2022 in Italy. But the Albanian failed to qualify for the final, finishing 12th in the first semi-final with 58 points

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