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We are once again, back for another edition of Slideback Sunday. In this week’s edition, we head to the Balkans once again. For this week, I was allocated Croatia. After deliberating, I did not have any difficulty, in selecting the entry I want to review.
In this Slideback, we will ‘Come Together’ as we look back to the entry that guided Croatia back to the Grand Final. Of course, I am talking about ‘Nina Kraljić’ and her Eurovision entry ‘Lighthouse’.
The light that guided Croatia to the Grand Final
In 2016, we saw Croatia return to the competition, after a three-year break. With a big shoes to fill, HRT decided to select Nina Kraljić, who had just won The Voice – Najljepši glas Hrvatske (The Voice of Croatia) the year before. After my initial review of her performances in the competition, I was not surprised why she won.
To my treat, she even sang ‘Euphoria’ with her mentor and Eurovision 2017 representative ‘Jacques Houdek’ which you are able to watch below.
When I first found out about Nina’s entry ‘Lighthouse’, I was really impressed with how simplistic and impact the song was. In addition, I really liked how the song complimented her voice well. Even though the song had a tiny controversy (apparently the song is plagiarised from Zara Larsson’s ‘Uncover’), the song did great enough to stand on their own two feet.
Looking back to 2016, I got really nervous when the qualifiers were announced in the first semi-final. Luckily enough my fears when unfounded as they were announced halfway through. I was really happy that I got the chance to see Nina perform ‘Lighthouse’ live at the Globen Arena.
Despite having a great song, unfortunately it finished the right hand side of the scoreboard. Even though, I am disappointed with where the song placed. Along with the fact that Nina was awarded the Barbara Dex was just the cherry on top I did not need.
Lighthouse will always have a special place in my heart, and I would not mind to see Nina return to the competition, to try and give Croatia their best result.
What did the rest of the team think?
I distinctly remember not understanding the hype for Lighthouse in the lead up to the contest. A couple people close to me especially loved it, and I couldn’t get why. Then the live happened, and while I think this is an unpopular opinion, I really loved the performance. Yeah, the dress was a lot, but I think a lot of thought was put into everything else and her vocal performance was captivating. However, I feel like Lighthouse has aged pretty poorly, as has most of 2016. So despite being a personal favorite of that specific year, it’s a song I usually skip when it comes up on my playlist now.
Lighthouse tends to be the entry I forget about. It’s not bad at all, and the dress should make it more memorable, but in a strong year like 2016, it kind of disappears. However, in the unlikely event that it comes on shuffle, I do enjoy it. The studio version is really nice, with flawless vocals from Nina and no horrific dress to distract from a song that is actually quite good. It’s a powerful ballad that keeps me interested while I’m listening to it. The song itself captures the message, and does remind me of stormy nights at the beach, but in a good way. If Croatia had managed to transfer this vibe to the stage, it could have made a more memorable entry, for sure. Now it unfortunately carries the weight of both being a right side of the scoreboard ballad, and an 80kg Barbara Dex Award.
If I remember correctly, my first impression of Lighthouse was quite good. Even now, some 4 years later, I don’t mind it as a song, but that performance did it no favours. The elephant in the room is obviously the dress… To quote Regina George, it’s the ugliest effing thing I’ve ever seen, and someone should’ve put their foot down and said no. Nina is a good singer but I feel like she didn’t do the song justice at all with her wonky arm movements and staring into the camera like she’s recording a Big Brother confessional. So yeah, it’s a good song that had potential but they ruined it. Shame!
I remember my delight when news of Croatia’s return to ESC came back in late 2015. I had seen some of Nina’s performances on the Croatian Voice as she was rumoured to represent them in Eurovision, and was impressed. However, Lighthouse didn’t do much for me upon hearing it for the first time. In all honestly, it didn’t matter as I was just delighted to see Croatia being such a fan favourite. The performance was pretty good, but I was sorry for Nina when her vocals went a little off on the night of the final due to an illness. That costume though… reminded me of a ‘Yu-Gi-Oh’ card artwork for those who know what I mean!
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