On the 29th of December 2021, Albania chose its entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2022. Seventeen acts performed on the final night of Albania’s annual music competition Festivali i Këngës, which was celebrating its 60th edition, for the opportunity to represent Albania in Turin, Italy.
The winner of the contest was determined by a combination of the votes by a seven-member panel of juries, some of them representing Albania in Eurovisions past, including their 2021 representative Anxhela Peristeri. Before the end of the show, it was revealed that Ronela Hajati had won the ticket to Turin with her entry “Sekret” (EN: Secret).
Who is Ronela Hajati?
Ronela Hajati is currently one of the biggest names in the Albanian music industry, and her participation in Festivali i Këngës brought much excitement from Albanians and international Eurovision fans alike.
Born in September 1989, Ronela took part in several music competitions as a child, and studied both ballet and piano in her youth. Rising to prominence through her appearance in Kënga Magjike in 2013, in which she won the Internet Award with her song “Mos ma Isho”. Her follow-up single, “A do si kjo”, reached number 13 in the Albanian music chart in 2015.
Her most successful track to date has been her single “MVP”, which reached number 1 on the Albanian charts in 2019, her sole chart topper to date. She has also released 5 top-10 hits, including “Prologue” and “Aventura”, which went to numbers 2 and 3 respectively in 2021.
How did Ronela Hajati win?
Ronela was announced as one of the twenty entries competing to represent Albania in their annual music competition Festivali i Këngës and, along with the 13 other ‘established artists’, was fast-tracked to compete in the final night, which would decide Albania’s Eurovision entry for 2022. Three out of the six entries that made up the ‘new artists’ category were eliminated on the first night.
Ronela performed 12th out of a field of 17 on the final night. Her performance included some high-energy dance sequences with a dozen backing dancers, mixed with extreme close ups on her face as she looked up in a reflective manner. The performance lasted for over three and a half minutes, meaning this will have to be revamped at some point in order for the song to fit into the allotted three minute slot at Eurovision.
Alban Ramosaj, another tipped by many to represent Albania at Eurovision, was announced as finishing in the runner-up spot with his song “Theje”. Newcomer artist Eldis Arrnjeti and Festivali i Këngës veteran Rezarta Smaja finished in a tie for third place with their songs “Refuzoj” and “E jemja nuse” respectively.
For my reviews of the recorded versions of all twenty entries who competed in Festivali i Këngës, please click on the link here.
Ronela Hajati will be performing “Sekret” in one of the two semi-finals at Eurovision 2022. The draw to determine which semi-final each participating country performs in has yet to have taken place, however for reference, in both 2020 and 2019, the draws took place in the 28th of January in that year.
What are your thoughts on Albania’s entry for Eurovision 2022, does it have the potential to once again get Albania to the Grand Final, and which changes would you like to see to the song and performance?
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