To the delight of many long-term fans of Croatia at Eurovision, HRT announced the return of Dora for the 2019 season! Since the announcement, the Croatian broadcaster has slowly released details of the format and what to expect. First, the announcement that Dora will consist of three nights and will take place in Opatija. Then, the announcement that non-Croatian songwriters are able to take part in the selection for the first time. Following this, HRT have revealed the number of songs they received.
This week, HRT revealed that around 150 songs were received for the selection, with submissions closing on Thursday (10th January). This should give the broadcasters plenty of choice when selecting the 16 finalists who will complete on night three for the ticket to Tel Aviv. They will be selected by a jury, consisting of representatives from major Croatian broadcasters, as well as critics, singers, songwriters and composers. As previously reported, it is highly likely that Jacques Houdek, Croatia’s 2017 entrant, is among these 150 submissions.
The final of Dora will take place on the 16th of February, following two nights of programming from Opatija. On night one, there will be a televised concert of ‘Chansons and Optaija Serenades’ by the Symphony Orchestra. On night two, HRT’s Jazz Orchestra will be performing ‘Dora classics’. According to a statement released by HRT, we may not be hearing the competing entries until the night of the final. Further, there will be two additional ‘spare’ songs selected along with the 16 finalists.
Croatia at the Eurovision Song Contest
Croatia have competed in the contest 24 times as an independent nation. Previously, they competed as Yugoslavia alongside Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. As Yugoslavia, seven of the 27 entries were Croatian, including Riva’s “Rock Me”, which won the contest in 1989.
Croatia debuted in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1993, where they were represented by Put with “Don’t Ever Cry”. They finished in 15th place with 31 points. Earlier this year, Croatia was represented by Franka Batelić in Lisbon with “Crazy”, finishing in 17th place in semi-final 1 with 63 points.
Croatia’s best result came in 1999 when Doris Dragovic finished 4th in Jerusalem with “Marija Magdalena”, scoring a total of 118 points. Could we see a similar result when the contest returns to Israel next year?