We haven’t heard a lot from Croatia this season, but suddenly buzz is developing around a potential artist for Kyiv. Singer and The Voice of Croatia coach Jacques Houdek has long had his eye on Eurovision and it’s now rumoured that 2017 may be his year.
Croatian media is reporting that the six-time national final contestant has “convinced the key people who make the decision” at broadcaster HRT and is looking likely as Croatia’s act for Kyiv. While HRT has not denied the rumours, Jacques’ manager has said he doesn’t know anything about it.
Jacques studied at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in the United States and sang backing vocals for the band Colonia before launching his solo career.
He is a veteran of Croatia’s national final, having previously competed in Dora six times, and usually co-writing his entry.
In 2002 Jacques debuted with the “Carolija” (“Magic”), which placed 13th. That performance launched his career and he became a familiar face on Dora in the 2000s.
He returned the following year with “Na krilima ljubavi” (“On the wings of love”) which managed fifth place. In 2004 he had “Nema razloga” (“No reason”), which earned him his best yet result in fourth place. In 2005 he sang “Nepobjediva”, and while the song title means “Unbeatable”, it only placed fourth. In 2006 Jacques performed “Umrijeti s osmjehom” (“To die with a smile”) and only managed 15th place, his worst result.
Jacques took a few years off, before returning for the revamped national final, Dora 2011 – Let’s go to Eurovision! He survived seven weeks of X Factor-style eliminations, before ending up in the grand final where both he and Daria Kinzer performed the winning song “Lahor”. In the end, it was Daria who won the superfinal televote and took the English-language version “Celebrate” to in Düsseldorf.
2011 marked the last time Croatia has used Dora, instead switching to internal selection for future contests. Jacques kept himself busy with his music career, and in 2015 he became one of the judges of The Voice of Croatia.
And it just happened that one of the singers on his team, Nina Kraljic, won the first series and went on to represent Croatia in Stockholm. Here’s an extremely Eurovision moment: Nina and Jacques duetting on “Euphoria”:
What do you think? Should Croatia send Jacques Houdek to Kyiv? Share your thoughts below!