We’re on the home straight now, with songs coming in thick and fast for Eurovision 2016. Today, we welcomed Croatia back to the fold, as Nina Kraljić finally unveiled her entry, ‘Lighthouse’.
It’s the first time we’ve seen Croatia at the contest since 2013, and the song is already climbing the betting odds, but does the song meet with the escXtra stamp of approval? As usual, here is our team to have their say…
Simon: If this vocal sounds as good live, then this should do very well. It has a different feel from most in this year’s pot, as although in familiar mid-tempo territory, it’s atmospheric and memorable. I’ll happily forgive the Croats for changing key by just clicking +2 as the final chorus launches. Good, but the vocal execution will determine Nina’s fate.
Nathan: I get immediate shades of Zara Larsson’s ‘Uncover’ when it comes to the chorus, it almost seems a nod to that tone of voice and well-produced contemporary ballad. Naturally, this therefore means that despite the clunky key change, I adore it. I’ll put my bias to one side, however, and say that from a stacked first half of Semi 1… this will need to be KILLER live in order to slide through to the Final.
Wivian: I really like her voice! If she can do this live on stage in May; I’m a fan! And I like the song too, – tonartshöjningen… It’s quite modern and and it has this flowy, airy sound that I like so much. There is something funny about it, though. It’s like it’s building up to a mad change into some sort of dance track with canned drums, but then it never happens. Which is of course brilliant, but it’s still kind of annoying. I was nervously waiting for those drums to show up through the entire song and ruin everything, and then they don’t… Left side of the scoreboard for me…
Peter: Very pleasantly surprised by this! Nina sounds very much like Ellie Goulding but the overall package is more like Emmelie De Forest musically and Mariette atmospherically. It takes a bit longer to get going than it should, but once it does it’s pretty big, and they’ve managed to strike the balance perfectly between something that sounds credible and modern with something that’s very very “Eurovision.” Hopefully this will see Croatia back into the final.
Nick: I get what they’re trying to do here. It’s mixing the alternative voice (and to some point, looks) Nina has and they’re mixing that with the Emmelie de Forest sound. I can see why this is flying up with bookmakers (currently top five), but I don’t think it’s a winner. It has a decent shot of qualifying, but even that I’m not 100% sure of, looking at the semi and the half she’s in. If this is vocally stunning and visually appealing, this is going in the right direction for Croatia. Once again – a winner, probably not. A decent entry – yes.
Matteo: Probably the best attempt so far from the Balkans for 2016. I’m not really sure on the refrain: it could have gone more powerful, but they decided to keep it breezy and I don’t think it will appeal that much. Probably an easy qualification, but not the best product that we could have expected from Croatia.