There has been an internal selection by the Croatian broadcaster HRT this year. The responsible people have chosen one of the biggest Croatian pop singers Jacques Houdek, who is in the music business since the year 2000.
Jacques Houdek was born as Željko Houdek in Velika Gorica, close to Zagreb in 1981. He studied music at the Berkeley College of Music in Boston to become an opera singer, later on he decided to concentrate on pop music. By now he has recorded 13 albums with many silver, gold and platinum status. Jacques participated in the British TV show X Factor, where he was given the nickname "Croatian Sensation" and has also acted as mentor in the Croatian version of “The Voice, where he helped last year’s singer Nina Kraljić to victory.
He is also the Croatian singer with the most attempts to become the Croatian representative, he had six attempts:
2003 “Na krilima ljubavi“ (5th)
2004 “Nema razloga“ (4th)
2005 “Nepobjediva” (4th)
2006 “Umrijeti s osmjehom” (15th)
2011 three songs, but no one qualified.
The song “My Friend” is a very special one, maybe it sounds like a typical Eurovision song at first and is getting more voluminous with every note, ending in a bombastic final – far too much. It includes pop elements and opera elements, with violin snippets.
Furthermore the lyrics are in English and Italian and it seems that there is a duet of two singers there, but Jacques is playing with his different voices. It will be interesting how this will be adapted on the stage in Kiev. The whole arrangement appears a bit out of time very kitschy, too, but it will certainly appeal to some people. Let’s hope that the meaning of the lyrics to respect each other’s differences will be lived by Jacques as well.
Finals: 17 (6 since 2004)
Top 10: 6
Chances for Top 10 placing: 27 %
Chances for Final: 55 %
This year Croatia will have its 23rd entry in the Eurovision Song Contest. As a former part of Yugoslavia, Croatia immediately participated in the 1993 Eurovision Song Contest with the debut entry “Don’t Ever Cry” sung by Put and made a good 15th place. In that year Croatia had to enter an international pre-contest, which was held in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Only Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Slovenia could qualify on that special occasion for Millstreet, Ireland.
The former Yugoslavia has joined the ESC in 1961, there were 27 contributions and one victory “Rock me” by Riva in 1989. In the following year the ESC has taken place in the now Croatian capital of Zagreb which was hosted by Oliver Mlakar and Helga Vlahović. A truly memorable contest with very nice intro, postcards and interval act.
With all the new countries in the ESC since 1993 not only the number of the participating countries has increased, also the variety of music has grown. The ESC gives a lot of artists a great opportunity to step on an international platform. It has often been criticised that the ex-Yugoslav countries vote for each other in a preferred way. It should not be forgotten that all these countries have singers which are popular all over the Balkan so it’s more than natural that such a singer gets votes from the whole region.
The most successful Croatian entries were: “Sveta Ljubav” by Maja Blagdan in 1996 (4th), “Neka Mi Ne Svane” by Danijela in 1998 (5th) and “Marija Magdalena” by Doris Dragovic in 1999 (4th). Croatia has qualified six times for the Grand Final, but no Top10 place could be achieved. Croatia has officially paused for the last two years due to financial reasons. Last year in Stockholm Nina Kraljić could make it into the Grand Final with “Lighthouse” and reached a 23rd position.