ESCXTRA: Live from Kyiv

Day 4: Jacques Houdek completes first rehearsal for Croatia – REVIEW

ESCXTRA are live from Kyiv for day four of rehearsals ahead of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest! The countries rehearsing today, in chronological order, are San Marino, Croatia, Norway, Switzerland, Belarus, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Estonia and Israel. Furthermore, read our handy guide for a more detailed look at this contest’s rehearsal schedule.

In addition, for our immediate reactions to every single rehearsal, you can follow our live stream from the press centre at the International Exhibition Center by visiting our YouTube channel.

The latest artist to rehearse is Jacques Houdek from Croatia. We have just watched his first run through of My Friend live on screen and here is our initial reaction.

Summary in a sentence

This is certainly a memorable performance which Jacques carries off effortlessly, we shall see if it is too niche for a mainstream audience.


The LED backdrop begins dark, gradually brightening throughout the song. Jacques himself also appears on the backdrop towards the beginning. The LED ends in a colourful sunflower/rainbow image. Jacques keeps turning to each side when he changes voice, the camera isn’t quite picking these up at the right time yet. He is joined on stage by 3 backing vocalists and 2 instrumentalists. One of the instrumentalists did drop their bow on this first run through, all part of the fun! The performers all come together at the end of the song.


Jacques was both vocally on point with his pop voice and his opera voice, the backing vocalists succeeded in recreating the operatic backing vocals in the final chorus too.


All performers were wearing black, with Jacques wearing a black jacket and trousers.

Watch the rehearsal!

Stay tuned for our reaction to JOWST as they rehearse Grab The Moment next for Norway. Meanwhile, remember to tune in to our live stream from the press centre for instant reactions to each rehearsal.

Ryan Cobb

My first memory of watching the Eurovision Song Contest was back in 2001 and, over the years, my passion and enthusiasm for the contest has very much turned into an obsession. I adore music and I love geography, so this contest is a natural fit for me. If la la loving Eurovision was a crime, I'd certainly be a criminal!

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