Time to look lively, the national final schedule is only just starting, with countries selecting every weekend from next week onwards. So let’s take care of the last of the early birds, Albania.
Albania have never been major players in Eurovision, but they can be relied on to provide something that’s usually decent, often overlooked, but always entertaining. Since their debut at the contest in 2004, their entries have been selected by the long-running Festivali i Këngës contest, now in its 52nd year.
I had a soft spot for this festival after reviewing it last year, mainly for their use of a live orchestra in the show, and you know how I like those. Last year wasn’t entirely successful, with a creditable but dated entry by Adrian Lulgjuraj and Bledar Sejko winning, and ultimately fell way short of qualification in the 2013 semi-finals.
As always, a few former Albanian representatives are trying their luck; 2006’s Luiz Ejlli and 2007’s Frederik Ndoci both entered their year, but could they become the first Albanian entrant to take the Eurovision stage twice? A seven-strong jury decided. Let’s see what they came up with – as always in reverse order, finishing with the winner.