Croatia’s national selection, Dora 2021, will take place on Saturday 13 February with a big line up – fourteen artists, including two former Eurovision entrants as well as the runner up from Dora 2020. One minute snippets of the studio versions of the fourteen songs have been released in advance of the final, so it does mean this can only be a partial preview and leaving potential for novelty and surprises on the actual night.
I will confess Dora 2020 passed me by somewhat – I can’t be sure, but it may have fallen on quite a busy national selection night and there are only so many devices or browser tabs one can keep on top of! Last year’s winner, Damir Kedžo, is a lovely guy and has a great voice, though his classic Balkan ballad wasn’t high my top 41 of 2020’s songs. He has not returned, feeling that he didn’t have a song that he wanted to enter, which I think speaks positively of his integrity as an artist.
Dora 2021 is looking to be quite a big final – at least in terms of songs – fourteen is a lot of songs to get through in just one programme but such a long list has enabled quite a diverse mix of genres. There are ballads (Balkan and otherwise), some modern pop, and some 80-sounding/influenced tracks (more towards the late 80s pop rock/ballad sound). Two former Eurovision contestants are in the mix: Tony Cetinski, who represented Croatia back in 1994 (only their second Eurovision contest as an independent country) and Nina Kraljić, the 2016 entrant, whose song “Lighthouse” brought Croatia back to the grand final for the first time since 2009.
The favourite (?): Nina Kraljić (Alkonost of Balkan) “Rijeka”
With just one minute snippets of the studio versions, it’s hard to discern who will win Dora 2021, but currently the fandom (and me also) are favouring Nina to make a return to Eurovision. It’s a very dramatic song, with Nina being backed up by a sort Croatian version of Poland’s Tulia. It certainly has the potential to be impressive live, though it’s been put first up in the running order which might count against it.
One that intrigued me: Eric “Reci mi”
I am pretty certain this one will sink without trace in the final, but it perked my interest – uptempo chorus and in native language. Maybe slightly repetitive but I quite enjoyed it. It’s in the death slot in the running order (second) so I don’t expect it will do much!
Dora 2021 takes place from 7.05pm (UK time) on Saturday 13 February.