The Veritons Song Contest 86 was held on 10-24 March 2016 in Alnwick, England, United Kingdom, following the country's win at the 85 edition. The event was staged at the Great Hall of Alnwick Castle. The presenter was Evanna Lynch.
The Harry Potter-themed edition ended with the House Hufflepuff as winners (during a special House Cup award ceremony) and Serbia as the winner. Following the decision to recognize Kosovo as a participant, the winner song is now under the Kosovar flag.
Era Istrefi is a Kosovo Albanian singer and songwriter. She rose to fame after releasing her debut single "Mani për money" in 2013, which gained positive feedback and attention from the public. Her following songs "A po don" and "E dehun", gained the same success. In June 2014, she won three Videofest awards for her music videos, including "Best New Artist" for her work in 2013. In 2015 Era gained success with her song "Njo si ti" with over a million views on YouTube in a week.
In January 2016, Istrefi began achieving international attention due to the release of her single "BonBon", reaching 30 million views on YouTube and drew comparisons to the work of Sia and Rihanna. Following the single's success, she was signed to American record labels Sony Music Entertainment and Ultra Music in February 2016
"BonBon" didn't conquer only the attention of international viewers, but of the VSC jurors alike. The song received 127 points. The runner up was Denmark, and New Zealand finished in third place.
"7 Years" is a song by Danish soul pop band Lukas Graham from their second studio album. In this edition, Lukas Graham managed to top their previous result (11th place) in collaboration with Hedegaard back in VSC58. This time they were with only 8 points behind the winner song.
The song was released as a digital download on 18 September 2015 through Copenhagen Records. It topped the charts in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the UK and gained successful chart appearances in other European countries, as well as Canada and the United States. A music video to accompany the release of "7 Years" was first released onto YouTube on 15 December 2015 at a total length of three minutes and fifty-nine seconds. As of March 2016, it has received more than 47 million views
The Frontman Lukas Graham Forchhammer described "7 Years" as a song about his life so far and what he hopes to achieve in the future. He said that the reason the lyrics go as far as the age of 60 is because his father died at 61 and he needed to "pass it to believe it."
As for 3rd place country, New Zealand, they managed to remain in top 3 for the second edition in a row since the New Zealander/Kiwi delegation has been replaced and the Head of Delegation is now Denisa, Former Juror of the United States, Switzerland, Austria and Singapore.
The debut single of the Auckland-based recording artist MAALA scored 108 points. Uploaded to SoundCloud on March 5, “Touch” is "an immediate head-turner, with a slow, powerfully resonant percussive beat filling an otherwise void entrance", according to the atwoodmagazine. MAALA is a 20-year old Auckland-based artist who spends his days working inside a Factory, and spends his nights making music.
Next edition we will travel to the capital of Kosovo, Prishtina. The Kosovar host broadcaster Radio Television of Kosovo (RTK) has promised to bring an unforgettable show.