Earlier this week, Croatia‘s broadcaster HRT confirmed that they would use their national final Dora to select their act for Eurovision 2021. But this also meant that 2020 winner Damir Kedžo would also not get a return ticket to Rotterdam. Now the “Divlji vjetre” singer has spoken out about the “rollercoaster of emotion” he’s been through.
Damir Kedžo spoke to the Croatian newspaper Jutarnji List, and talked about how he’s been affected by HRT not internally selecting him for Eurovision 2021.
Damir was honest with his emotions, saying he was “disappointed and sad” when he discovered he wouldn’t be heading to Rotterdam in May. He explained, “I am sorry that the people at HRT who decided who will represent Croatia at Eurovision 2021 in Rotterdam decided that it will not be me.”
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Cijelo ovo DORA 2020. iskustvo je bilo puni krug. Od sre?e do tuge, od pobjede do otkazivanja Eurovisona zbog Covida 19 , pa do otkazivanja mene kao izravnog predstavnika za Rotterdam 2021. Hvala svima, mom bendu, curama koje su sa mnom dijelile pozornicu u Opatiji i ovu virtualnu dok smo ljudima diljem Europe i svijeta pjevali “Divlji vjetre” online. Hvala svim ljudima iz mog tima i svima koji su dali srce i dušu u ovih par mjeseci da se za našu glazbu i našu zemlju ?uje u najboljem mogu?em svjetlu. Hvala svima na podršci i potpori sada kada znamo da je HRT odlu?io da ima novo natjecanje i da nas u Rotterdamu 2021. izravno ne predstavljam ja. Nije jednostavan ovaj roller coaster emocija i promjena izdržati, zato hvala još jednom svima i jedva ?ekam s vama prolaziti sve ono što ?e nam donijeti budu?nost. Ra?unajte na mene i najbolju mogu?u glazbu i emocije koje ?u vam donijeti, a ja ra?unam na vas. Ništa mi drugo ne treba. Volim vas ljudi. The whole DORA 2020 experience was a full circle. From happiness to sadness, from winning Dora to cancellation of Eurovision because of Covid 19 and at the end canceling me as a direct representative for Rotterdam 2021. Thank you everyone, my band, my girls who shared the stage with me in Opatija and a virtual one while we sang “Divlji vjetre” online to people all over Europe and the world. Huge thank you to all the people from my team and all of those who gave their hearts and souls in these few months with the intention that our song and performance is seen and heard in the best possible light. We solely wanted to represent our music and country the best way we knew. Thank you all for your support and support in the last 24 hours since we know that HRT decided to have a new competition and that i will not directly represented Croatia in Rotterdam in 2021. This roller coaster of emotions and change is not easy to survive, so thank you all once again. I'm happily waiting to go with you through everything that the future will bring us. You can expect the best possible music and emotions that I will bring to you, and I belive you will be with me. I don't need anything else. I love you people."
He notes that with many countries having confirmed their 2020 artists would return to Eurovision, it seemed reasonable to expect Croatia would do the same. As Damir noted, Croatia’s regional neighbours Slovenia and Bulgaria have invited back their 2020 acts, while Serbia’s Hurricane is strongly thought to be also returning.
To Damir, it seemed like a no-brainer that HRT would invite him back for 2021, especially with the work already done by him and his team.
Sadly, Damir didn’t get invited back by HRT. But he’s philosophical about it, explaining, “As difficult as all this may be, I believe it is my school of life. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I want to make my dreams come true more than ever.”
Croatian broadcaster HRT responds
Damir claims that HRT gave him a “red card” by not automatically letting him return to Eurovision. However, the broadcaster disputes this, saying he is still welcome to enter Dora 2021.
In a statement published by Croatian Eurovision portal Eurosong.hr, Croatia’s Head of Delegation Uršula Tolj explained, “Eurovision is primarily a song contest, not a performer contest”. She notes that many other participating broadcasters — such as Sweden, Lithuania and Estonia — will be holding their usual national final again.
But despite the disappointing news, Damir is still focused on the future. He has been working on his new album, which he describes as a mix of pop songs, a live session, and remixes “which you can party until dawn at a private party or at any club.”
But the most important question fans have is whether Damir will enter Dora 2021. While he isn’t confirming anything at this early stage, Damir does say, “Dreams are not given up, and I will never give up on going to Eurovision.”
What do you think? Should HRT have given Damir the ticket to Rotterdam? Should he enter a new song into Dora 2021? Tell us your thoughts below!