Just missing out on the top 5 by the narrowest of margins is the last of the Balkan countries and a country who we haven’t seen since 2013, but like their neighbours Bosnia, are returning this year – Croatia. They hadn’t missed a contest between their first appearance in 1993 and 2013, but a string of non-qualifications for the final between 2010 and 2013 and financial difficulties led to Croatia’s withdrawal but they’re bouncing back with this entry by Nina Kraljić, sung all in English (quite rare for a Croatian entry). Can they make an impact on their return to the annual extravaganza?
It’s been a while since Croatia has done well at Eurovision – their best recent result was 10 years ago when they came 12th. Nina’s song has become popular amongst Eurofans and was hotly tipped to do very well, maybe even challenging for top 5 (and almost made the top 5 in this countdown too). Yet, as has been the case for a number of other pre-contest favourites, Croatia has slipped dramatically down the betting after first rehearsals. One of the main Eurovision blogging sites have suggested that this could be a shock non-qualifier (given the original buzz around it).
Certainly the first rehearsal didn’t blow people away and to be fair when I saw this live at the London Eurovision Preview Party I wasn’t blown away either. The studio version comes across as haunting, though not as great a song as perhaps this countdown suggests, but it seems to lose something when live and I didn’t feel very connected to the song or performance when I saw it live. I think the second rehearsal might give more of a clue on whether this can still qualify but it’s looking harder than expected for Croatia.
Live at London Eurovision Preview Party:
Croatia at the Eurovision Song Contest:
First entered: 1993
Appearances (excluding this year): 21
Best result: 4th in 1996 and 1999
Last year’s result: Did not enter