In May Jacques Houdek placed 13th in the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest, giving Croatia its best result since Severina in 2006.
And on Monday it was clear that broadcaster HRT hopes to keep the momentum going, as it confirmed to Croatian site eurosong.hr that it will participate at Eurovision 2018 in Lisbon. The broadcaster did not reveal how it will choose its act.
Croatia, which joined Eurovision in 1993, enjoyed six Top 10 finishes in its first decade of competition. But at some point it lost its way, suffering four straight non-qualifications between 2010 and 2013. Its entry in Malmö was called “Misery”, providing an apt description of their fortunes at the time.
But after sitting the contest out in 2014 and 2015, Croatia returned with new-found desire in 2016.
The Voice of Croatia winner Nina Kraljic emerged as a fan favourite with the studio version of her song “Lighthouse” and she managed to get Croatia back to the final. Jacques, her coach on The Voice, did even better in 2017.
His freak show fantasy saw him portraying a smooth balladeer and an opera star, in falsetto and baritone, and singing to images of himself on stage. It may have been divisive, but it ultimately went down a treat.
The broadcaster threw its resources behind Jacques and gave him all the support they could. But afterwards Jacques revealed on his Facebook page that they were barely acknowledged, let alone supported, by Croatia’s top officials.
“To be honest and without bitterness, I can now tell everyone — there is no support from the state leadership,” he wrote. “They did not do anything to help us in order to be the best in Kiev.”
“Eurovision is a music competition, the biggest in the world, but we have seen how much politics is present, inevitably. If we ever think of winning there, we have to work together, and well in advance. There’s no other way — that’s absolutely clear!”
“For months we wrote to our esteemed presidents, we did not receive an answer for months…and we only finally received the answer from her office three weeks before the departure to Kiev.”
Are you excited about Croatia’s return? Which artists do you think can take them even higher? Let us know in the comments box below!