She was the fan favourite to win Dora 2021 with her ethno-ballad “Rijeka”. But 13 February, Eurovision 2016 singer Nina Kraljić lost out to the eventual televote and jury winner Albina and “Tick-Tock”.
Ursula Tolj responds to Nina Kraljić’s Dora 2021 claims
During the live TV broadcast, the singer seemed disinterested as she was seen sipping wine and staring at her phone during the points reveal. And after the show, the “Lighthouse” hitmaker made a series of sharp comments on her Facebook page.
Kraljić claimed that her fans encountered televote irregularities during the show, which supposedly prevented Nina from winning Dora. On top of that, the information has surfaced that her in-ears played “Tick-Tock” for 10 minutes during the final rehearsal, suggesting that the now-selected Eurovision 2021 entry might have been favoured by the organisers from the off.
Croatia’s Head of Delegation and Dora’s editor Ursula Tolj was fast to dismiss the claims, telling portal that:
“We sought an explanation from the telephone operator, and we were told that the requests at the increased volume of calls caused a certain load on the telephone system, but within the framework of normal behaviour. Translated: at certain moments it was not possible to cast a vote, but the blockade was not on a certain line but also on all lines at times of system overload,”
Ursula also noted how Nina Kraljić sent her two private emails concerning the issues:
“As far as I was able to understand, she thinks we let her compete at Dora so that we could then work together against her. She couldn’t explain to me why we would do such a thing, at least I couldn’t understand why Nina Kraljić thought so. And it’s not that I haven’t read those emails carefully. Did Nina complain about something during Dora? Yes, there were some minor issues with her hairstyle and makeup which, however, she doesn’t mention now, and we solved that on the go. Did Nina ever object to me at one point during the competition that I favour Albina or mentioned that I set up the competition, the answer is: No! She also didn’t complain that she was the first to perform, but now I see that she also thinks it has ‘damaged’ her”.
“Albina received 8,297 votes in ten minutes. To illustrate, the runner-up Nina Kraljić received 5,320 votes. Albina received 78 points from the jury and Nina 69. Judge for yourself if we can talk about a close victory, and as far as the winner is concerned, the fact that we all made a good choice is evidenced by the fact that ‘Tick-Tock’ is in trend not just here but in several countries outside Croatia. And I, as the editor of Dora and the head of our Eurovision delegation, am happy about that “.
Head of Delegation denies claims from Bernarda Brunović’s sister
Ursula also found herself facing accusations from Bernarda Brunović’s sister who claimed her sister’s team was on Ursula’s so-called black-list:
‘I am aware, of course, that immense ambition, a strong desire to win and a great ego can lead people straight into the abyss, but I think that even when falling into that abyss, some measure of morality and good taste should be maintained. Instead, in the last few days we have been witnessing the emotional performances of some dissatisfied competitors who have not been able to congratulate the better ones, but, behold, they have the guts to tell huge lies’.
Albina on Nina Kraljić snub after winning Dora 2021
Croatia’s head of delegation probably also referred to when Nina refused to congratulate Albina on her win. Speaking to Slobodna Dalmacija, Albina held no grudges: “I’m not disappointed that Nina didn’t congratulate me, I want to surround myself with positive people as before, that’s the only thing that matters to me. Everyone else congratulated me, she is just one drop in the ocean”.
This isn’t the first time Nina complained about her experience with HRT. Responding to her followers’ comments, Nina reflected on her Eurovision 2016 journey, stating how she”was thrown in as a little sacrificial lamb and forced to bring Croatia back to the final with no money and resources”, while other acts who failed to qualify with a bigger budget, namely Franka, never faced critiques like her.
In the lead up to Dora, Kraljić also discussed her career from the first beginnings via a weekly blog, and most of the content focused on HRT not allowing her artistic freedom at Eurovision. The majority of criticism came for her dress. As an example of that, Nina used an event where a cashier mocked her Eurovision dress in front of the queue, something Nina found very irritating. She also came out as bisexual in another blog. In one of her last posts before leaving social networks, Nina voved never to work with HRT again.
Damir Kedzo’s absence from Dora
Nina isn’t the only one feuding with the broadcaster. Traditionally, the reigning Dora champion gets to open the show with their winning entry. However, the Dora 2020 victor Damir Kedžo was notably absent from the show. Instead, viewers were treated to a postcard-esque report on Opatija, the host city, layered by the studio version of Damir’s “Divlji Vjetre”.
It now appears that his management and the state broadcaster couldn’t reach an agreement. To be more precise, Kedzo wanted to perform his winning song and his latest collaboration with Serbia’s 2017 singer Tijana Bogicevic (read our review here), but instead received the cold shoulder.
“I think that when some reasonable agreement cannot be reached then it is best to stay home sometime in life. So many things, which were ugly to say the least, happened in 2020 in all that collaboration that I simply decided to preserve some of my dignity as a man and a performer. But there is really no bitterness in me”, he emphasized speaking to tportal.
What do you think of the drama? Which side are you on? Let us know in the comments.