Revolutionary changes have been made to Festivali i Këngës, which has been running from 1962.
Since 2004 the festival has been used to choose the Albanian representative for the Eurovision Song Contest and that choice has always been in the hands of a professional jury. However, for the first time ever, this coming December the public will have a say in the outcome!
At a press conference in Albania’s capital Tirana, it was announced what the procedure will look like:
24 songs will be performed, divided over two nights, and from these two semi-finals 14 songs will make it to the grand final on the third night. The 14 songs will be chosen according to this system: 8 by the professional jury, 3 by a press jury and another 3 by a public jury.
During the final night, the winner will be chosen through a mix of jury voting (60%) and public jury voting (40%). How non-professionals can be part of the public jury has, however, not been revealed yet.
Rezart Aga, director of Festivali i Këngës 55, also revealed that there will be prizes awarded to the singers and composers who end up 2nd and 3rd, a gesture to reward Albanian musical talent.
A jury consisting of Shpëtim Saraçi, Alfred Kaçinari, Florent Boshnjaku, Bojken Lako and Gent Rushi will be selecting the 24 competing songs and it is expected we will learn who made it to the semi-finals in the beginning of December.