Albania in the Eurovision Song Contest 2022

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Eurovision Song Contest 2022
Country Albania
National selection
Selection processFestivali i Këngës 60
Selection date(s)Semi-finals:
27 December 2021
28 December 2021
Final:
29 December 2021
Selected entrantRonela Hajati
Selected song"Sekret"
Selected songwriter(s)Ronela Hajati
Finals performance
Semi-final resultFailed to qualify (12th)
Albania in the Eurovision Song Contest
◄2021 2022

Albania participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 in Turin, Italy, with the song "Sekret" performed by Ronela Hajati. Its entry was selected through the national selection competition Festivali i Këngës, which was organised by Radio Televizioni Shqiptar (RTSH) in December 2021.

Albania was drawn to compete in the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest which took place on 10 May 2022. Performing during the show in position 1, "Sekret" was not announced among the top 10 entries of the first semi-final and therefore did not qualify to compete in the final. It was later revealed that Albania placed 12th out of the 17 participating countries in the semi-final with 58 points.

Background

Prior to the 2022 contest, Albania participated in the Eurovision Song Contest seventeen times since its first entry in 2004. The nation's highest placing in the contest, to this point, was fifth place, which was achieved in 2012 with the song "Suus" performed by Rona Nishliu. Albania achieved its second-highest placing during their first participation in 2004, with the song "The Image of You" by Anjeza Shahini finishing in seventh place. During its tenure in the contest, the nation failed to qualify for the final seven times, with the 2016 and 2017 entries being the most recent non-qualifiers. Since 2018, it managed to qualify for the final in both the 2018 and 2019 contests, as well as in the 2021 contest, with Anxhela Peristeri finishing 21st place with "Karma".[1] In July 2021, the national broadcaster of Albania, Radio Televizioni Shqiptar (RTSH), confirmed Albania's participation in the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 in Italy.[2] RTSH broadcasts the contest within Albania and organises the selection process for the nation's entry.[3] Since its debut in 2004, it has consistently selected its entry through the long-standing competition Festivali i Këngës.[3]

Before Eurovision

Festivali i Këngës

Radio Televizioni Shqiptar (RTSH) organised the 60th edition of Festivali i Këngës in order to select the nation's representative for the Eurovision Song Contest 2022.[2] The competition consisted of two semi-finals on 27 and 28 December, respectively, and the final on 29 December 2021.[4][5] The three live shows were hosted by Albanian presenters Ardit Gjebrea, Isli Islami, Kelvi Kadilli, Xhemi Shehu and Albanian singer Jonida Maliqi.[6] From 5 July 2021 to 15 October 2021, interested artists were able to submit their entries to the broadcaster.[7][8] A provisional list of 20 artists was released on 9 November 2021, as shortlisted by a jury panel consisting of Ardit Gjebrea, Arta Marku, Elton Deda [sq; sv; ru], Klodian Qafoku [sv], Marjan Deda, Redi Treni and Zefina Hasani to compete in the semi-finals of the contest.[9][10] Their songs were made available to listen on the RTSH's official YouTube channel on 3 December 2021.[11]

Participants: Established artists[12]
Artist Song Songwriter(s)
Alban Ramosaj "Theje"
  • Marko Polo
  • Alban Ramosaj
Denis Skura "Pse nuk flet, mama?" Petrit Sinameti
Endri and Stefi Prifti [sv] "Triumfi i jetës"
  • Jetmir Barbullushi
  • Zhuliana Jorganxhi
Evi Reçi [sq; sv; ru] "Më duaj"
  • Flamur Shehu
  • Zhuliana Jorganxhi
Gjergj Kaçinari "Në ëndërr mbete ti" Gjergj Kaçinari
Janex "Deluzional" Janex
Kastro Zizo "Kujë" Kastro Zizo
Kelly "Meteor" Kelly
Mirud "Për dreq"
  • Kledi Bahiti
  • Mirud
Rezarta Smaja "E jemja nuse" Shkodra Elektronike
Ronela Hajati "Sekret"
  • Marko Polo
  • Ronela Hajati
Sajmir Çili "Nën maskë"
  • Sajmir Çili
  • Pandi Laço
Shega "Një" Giorgio Fusco
Urban Band "Padrejtësi" Urban Band
Participants: New artists[12]
Artist Song Songwriter(s)
Eldis Arrnjeti "Refuzoj"
  • Bujar Daci
  • Eldis Arrnjeti
Ester Zahiri "Hiena" Kledi Bahiti
Kejsi Rustja "Vallëzoj me ty" Kejsi Rustja
Olimpia Smajlaj "Dua"
  • Genti Lako
  • Olimpia Smajlaj
Viola Xhemali "Eja si erë" Sokol Marsi
Xhuli Pjetraj "Baladë"
  • Enis Mullaj
  • Eriona Rushiti

Eurovision night

The third and final night of Festivali i Këngës took place on 29 December 2021 at 21:00 (CET).[13] For the first time, the contestants were permitted to perform in English or any other language.[14] The winner of the contest was determined by the combination of the votes by a seven-member jury panel, consisting of Anxhela Peristeri, Agim Doçi [sq], Anxhela Faber, Osman Mula [sq], Rozana Radi, Olsa Toqi and Olti Curri.[15] Before the end of the contest, Ronela Hajati with "Sekret" emerged as the winner and was thus announced as Albania's representative for the Eurovision Song Contest 2022.[16][17]

Key:   Winner   Second place   Third place

Eurovision night – 29 December 2021[13]
Draw Artist Song
1 Olimpia Smajlaj "Dua"
2 Denis Skura "Pse nuk flet, mama?"
3 Kelly "Meteor"
4 Sajmir Çili "Nën maskë"
5 Ester Zahiri "Hiena"
6 Kastro Zizo "Kujë"
7 Urban Band "Padrejtësi"
8 Gjergj Kaçinari "Në ëndërr mbete ti"
9 Evi Reçi "Më duaj"
10 Mirud "Për dreq"
11 Endri and Stefi Prifti "Triumfi i jetës"
12 Ronela Hajati "Sekret"
13 Shega "Një"
14 Janex "Deluzional"
15 Alban Ramosaj "Theje"
16 Eldis Arrnjeti "Refuzoj"
17 Rezarta Smaja "E jemja nuse"

Promotion

A music video for "Sekret" premiered on the official YouTube channel of the Eurovision Song Contest on 4 March 2022.[18][19] Prior to the scheduled contest, Hajati went on to promote the song on several occasions, including at the Eurovision pre-parties in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Madrid and Tel Aviv between March and April 2022.[20][21][22][23] She further performed the song live during Romania's national final for the Eurovision Song Contest, Selecția Națională 2022, on 5 March 2022.[24]

At Eurovision

Su Naraxi in the Barumini Province in Sardinia was the location of Ronela Hajati's postcard.
A video postcard introduced Ronela Hajati's performance in the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2022. The postcard was filmed in the small Italian town of Su Naraxi in the Barumini Province in Sardinia and featured virtual projections of Ronela across the location.

According to Eurovision rules, all nations with the exceptions of the host country and the "Big Five" (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) are required to qualify from one of two semi-finals in order to compete for the final; the top ten countries from each semi-final progress to the final. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) split up the competing countries into six different pots based on voting patterns from previous contests, with countries with favourable voting histories put into the same pot. On 25 January 2022, an allocation draw was held which placed each country into one of the two semi-finals, as well as which half of the show they would perform in. Albania was placed into the first semi-final, which was held on 10 May 2022, and was scheduled to perform in the first half of the show.[25]

Once all the competing songs for the 2022 contest had been released, the running order for the semi-finals was decided by the shows' producers rather than through another draw, so that similar songs were not placed next to each other. Albania was set to open the show and perform in position 1, before the entry from Latvia.[26]

In Albania, all shows were broadcast on RTSH, RTSH Muzikë and Radio Tirana, with commentary by Andri Xhahu.[27][28] The Albanian spokesperson, who announced the top 12-point score awarded by the Albanian jury during the final, was Andri Xhahu, who previously announced the points for Albania every year from 2012 onwards.[28]

Semi-final

Ronela Hajati took part in technical rehearsals on 30 April and 4 May, followed by dress rehearsals on 9 and 10 May. This included the jury show on 9 May where the professional juries of each country watched and voted on the competing entries.

The Albanian performance featured Ronela Hajati alongside five backing dancers. Ronela wore a black and pink bikini on stage. Hajati was supported by 4 bare-chested male dancers and one gymnastic female dancer. Blue and pink tones dominated the staging with shoots of steam jets from the stage during the chorus and buildup of the song. Prior to the first semi-final, the EBU stated that the Albanian performance was overly provocative and requested the delegation to make changes to the performance. This was then later dropped by the EBU and the Albanian performance remained unchanged for the semi-final.[29]

At the end of the show, Albania was not announced among the top 10 entries in the first semi-final and therefore failed to qualify to compete in the final, despite being a bookmakers and fan favourite. This was Albania's first absence from the Eurovision final for the first time since 2017. It was later revealed that Albania placed twelfth in the semi-final, receiving a total of 58 points: 46 points from the televoting and 12 points from the juries.

Voting

Below is a breakdown of points awarded to Albania during the first semi-final. Voting during the three shows involved each country awarding two sets of points from 1-8, 10 and 12: one from their professional jury and the other from televoting.[30] The exact composition of the professional jury, and the results of each country's jury and televoting were released after the final; the individual results from each jury member were also released in an anonymised form.[31][32] The Albanian jury consisted of Aulon Naçi, Ermela Alliu, Kamela Islamaj, Marsela Çibukaj, and Roberto Radoja.[31][32] In the first semi-final, Albania finished in twelfth place out of seventeen entries, marking Albania's first non-qualification for the Eurovision final for the first time since 2017. The first semi-final saw Albania receive twelve points from Greece in both the jury and public vote. Over the course of the contest, Albania awarded its 12 points to Ukraine (jury) and Bulgaria (televote) in the first semi-final, and to Italy (jury) and Greece (televote) in the final.[33][34]

Points awarded to Albania