#CROATIA – LIVE BLOG of #Dora2021 from 20:10 CET

Dobra večer Europa i dobro jutro Australija! This is Zagreb calling! It’s time to find out who will be flying the flag at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 for Croatia! Da! Sad je Dora!

Sit back and relax, and let Eurovision Ireland’s own James Scanlan entertain and inform you. As always, feel free to tell me what you think and give your opinions about tonight’s Final and who your favourites are! I might even shout out to you in the blog!

Our show tonight is coming to us courtesy of HRT 1, live from the Marino Cvetković Sports Hall in Opatija. Daniela Trbović, Barbara Kolar, Jelena Lešić and Doris Pinčić Rogoznica will be overseeing the show as we find out who will sing for Croatia at Eurovision this May. Our 14 acts tonight and their running order are as follows:

  1. Alkonost of Balkan (Nina Kraljić) – Rijeka
  2. Eric Vidović – Reci Mi
  3. Ella Orešković – Come This Way
  4. Bernarda Brunović – Colors
  5. Sandi Cenov – Kriv
  6. ToMa – Ocean of Love
  7. Filip Rudan – Blind
  8. Beta Sudar – Ma Zamisli
  9. Cambi – Zaljubljen
  10. Ashley Colburn and Bojan Jambrošić – Share The Love
  11. Brigita Vuco – Noći Pijane
  12. Mia Negovetić – She’s Like A Dream
  13. Albina Grčić – Tick-Tock
  14. Tony Cetinski and Kiki Rahimovski – Zapjevaj, Sloboda Je!

Tonight’s result will be split 50/50 between a set of 10 juries from different regions in Croatia and a public televote. In the event of a tie, the entry ranked higher by the public televote will be favoured.

If you want to watch too, have a look here HERE from 20.10CET / 19.10GMT. You will need to register and create a free account with HRTi to watch live.

Click on “Nemate račun? Registrirajte se besplatno!” at the bottom of the page, you will the be able to set the page’s language into English. After filling in the required fields, a confirmation e-mail will be sent to you, simply click on the link in the e-mail and your registration will be completed!

Alternatively, you can log in via Google/Facebook. If you can’t log on, I’ll be posting pictures here so you can still see what is going on!

UPDATE: HRT 1 doesn’t see to be working, so try HERE instead


Prerano si! You’re too early! Come back later when we’ll be live in Opatija and find out who gets to fly the grb for Croatia this year at the Eurovision Song Contest!!

Still a bit of time before the show! Why don’t you set up your account with HRT 1 now so you don’t miss the beginning of the show? You can find the instructions on how to do this further up on this page ⬆️

It’s about 15 minutes to go till show time! Are you ready? Got your flags? Snacks? You’ve still got time, but hurry back!

Blimey! -8 in parts of Croatia tonight!

Right… I’ve just been thrown out of HRT 1’s online streamer with a message about copyright – hopefully that’s just the Croatian lottery and not Dora! Please stand by, hope to be back very soon!

If you are having trouble viewing HRT 1 through their own link, try HERE instead – thank you OnEurope for saving the day!

Show time! And it’s just not Dora without a fashionable trot down the red carpet! Who are your wearing? And why are you wearing that???

Last year’s winner, Damir Kedzo… poor guy, shame he declined the option to take part again this year. Still, must be hard to win something like this then have the prize taken away from you…

A socially distanced venue in Opatija tonight… yes, our hosts are right, it does feel like it’s been years since we were last here!

Our lovely hosts, bidding us welcome to beautiful coastal Opatija! Don’t know which one is Dora… (I’m kidding!!)

Good luck everyone, let Dora 2021 begin!

And first up is Nina Kraljić, who you may remember has Eurovision experience from 2016 with Lighthouse!

Alkonost of Balkan (Nina Kraljić) – Rijeka

Wow!! How’s this for a start to the night! Looking like a Slavic deity, Nina belts out quite a dark and moody sounding song as traditional vocal back her up and dancers wheels around the stage. Some fans were saddened to learn Nina was singing first and feared for her chances in the competition, but that was an incredibly strong opening for Dora! Croatian hasn’t really sent something like this to Eurovision before and I think this would make a fine addition to Eurovision 2021. Once again, Croatia sets the bar very high from the very start! Brava Nina!

Eric Vidović – Reci Mi

As I feared, we’re not waiting around tonight, so I’m going to be typing like a thing possessed! Eric carries himself with the confidence of a performer much older than he appears and looks like he’s loving being up there – which always is a big plus! The song has a bit of a modern R&B beat and he performs it well with a cheeky bit of flair, and the beat is very catchy, all of which are big points if you want a memorable Eurovision performance. My one concern is he looks around a lot and doesn’t connect with the camera too well, but details like that can be ironed out. Great job Eric!

Ella Orešković – Come This Way

Our first song tonight in English, and I must admit, something seems off. It seemed so promising at the start, a bit of a 80s sound going for it (very in at the moment!) but honestly, Ella looks and sounds incredibly bored. She slumps around the stage with no real conviction, no dramatic flair… some of the comments on the streaming site are suggesting she looks like she’s singing karaoke and I’m inclined to agree. Sorry Ella, you clearly have the voice, but I feel like more needed to go into the staging of this song. Shame…

Quick break in the songs to have a look at everyone looking at their phones in the Green Room and to chat a little about how voting tonight works – but we’ll get to that later! Back to the music!

Bernarda Brunović – Colors

I’m immediately put in mind of 2 other Eurovision songs – SuRie’s storm with that prism like cage, and Michela’s Chameleon with those “oh-wo-wo” backing vocals. Vocally Bernarda is very strong and it’s a very accomplished performance. Musically, the song is a little bland for my liking and I’d have liked a key or tempo change instead of a big note. Not my favourite song of the night, but that’s more to do with my musical taste. She still did a fantastic job and should be very proud!

Sandi Cenov – Kriv

Sandi crones into the microphone and I’m immediately taken back to another time… you can’t fault his vocals, his voice had that kind of quality that this song could have come from any national selection in the last 50 years… which is both wonderful on one hand, but makes me wonder if the song is a little too dated for 2021… I really like it though, has that 90s light ballad feel to it, and he performs it will – I will say though, Sandi, you need to open your eyes a touch more and fire your stylist… sorry, that suit looks like a bus seat…

ToMa – Ocean of Love

From “at any point in the last half century” bang up into 2021! ToMa has an incredibly strong visual start to the show (see the pictures!) and you’re instantly hooked! The music is so upbeat and almost gospel in places, it’s light, fun and makes you want to dance – and let’s be honest, he’s easy on the eye and wearing Mans patented winner’s leather trousers! – I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ve just seen the winner tonight. That was a lot of fun!

Another quick natter about Rotterdam being a city of young people, then back to finding our next Croatian Eurovision star!

Filip Rudan – Blind

Filip pulls us in straight away with a very moody performance. Subdued lighting, his warm vocals, bitter sweet lyrics and a guitar… this song screams “I’m troubled and moody but I’m hot too” – if teenager girls were the only voting power tonight, I’d say he’s won it hands down!! It’s a pleasant enough ballad, competently performed, but feels a touch underwhelming. Sometimes that’s the issue with running order and coming after quite a bop! Still, a strong performance nevertheless and he’s doubtlessly a talented singer!

Beta Sudar – Ma Zamisli

Don’t you hate it when you’re working from home and a busty blonde Croatian woman keeps trying to distract you from your reading? LOL Beta oozes a sultry confidence and is giving one heck of a polished performance – this has everything, memorable staging, solid vocals… I’m pleasantly surprised at how much I like this! Croatia could do worse than sending this to Rotterdam! Well done Beta, amazing job!

Cambi – Zaljubljen

From sexy pop to very traditional and dark… it’s a big gear change, but so hypnotic…. the darkness, the deep male voices that harmonise beautifully. I’m put a bit in mind of the Game of Thrones theme tune. Croatia have dabbled in traditional sounding boybands in the past with decidedly mixed results, but this is an entirely different animal. It looks and sounds very memorable, and someone on the stream chat suggested ‘Molitva-vibes’ – and I think I agree! That was quite dramatic and special!

Ashley Colburn and Bojan Jambrošić – Share The Love

I cringed when I saw this song title, and seeing it on stage I haven’t stopped cringing… ouch! This kind of song would have won Eurovision 30 years ago, with is very twee and sweet lyrics, but the world is decidedly more cynical now. And this ooey-gooey sweety stuff just makes me uncomfortable… the fact she’s being lowered down like a canary should be spectacular but looks daft… and the less said about that key change the better…. sorry guys, I think there are much stronger songs on offer tonight.

Brigita Vuco – Noći Pijane

As I discussed with Big Daddy Karsten from Norway recently, rap at Eurovision has a bit of a chequered history. This is song is interesting because there’s a bit of a traditional wailing going along with it, which is an unusual and memorable take on things, but other than that it’s pure 90s angry rap. Brigita swaggered around the stage throwing her hands in that street gangster style and looks hugely annoyed and surly… not sure that’s the look you want to go for on one of the world’s biggest stages…

Mia Negovetić – She’s Like A Dream

The 80s really are back, aren’t they? The music, the visuals… that dress! Mia is giving us a very solid performance, it’s obvious she has rehearsed a lot and every movement is performed and has purpose. She looks past the cmaera as though she’s performing to the very small audience in Opatija, which will need work for Rotterdam if it goes. The song itself makes you bop your head and is very radio friendly, not convinced it’s right for Eurovision though. But Mia is an outstanding performer and dare I say, I suspect we’ll see her on the Eurovision stage eventually. Just not sure she’s ready just yet.

Just two songs left to go, but time for a quick check in on the Green Room

Albina Grčić – Tick-Tock

Another song that wouldn’t sound out of place in the 80s, Albina delivers quite a sophisticated routine with her backing dancers lifting and wheeling around her. As a song, Tick-Tock might not be particularly deep or emotional, but it’s got a thumping beat that drives it forward and she sells it with aplomb. Am I cynic for thinking she might be hoping for a sponsorship deal with TikTok? Well done Albina, a great performance!

Tony Cetinski and Kiki Rahimovski – Zapjevaj, Sloboda Je!

Tony Cetinski having another go at Eurovision almost 30 years after his first foray for Croatia in 1994. This song immediately puts me in mind of a Bond theme and I love the concept of the staging. with the chess board. The singers harmonise well together and the song has a great rock edge to it. I enojyed that more than I expected to – what a way to end the show!

So that’s it! 14 songs, but only one can go to Eurovision! The phone lines are open and while the Croatian public gets 10 minutes to vote, I’m going to have a thing and try to predict the winner from what I’ve seen. BRB!

So as usual, being a lover of music from Croatia in general I’m struggling to pick out a single winner (anyone who read along with my blog of 2019 will know what I mean! As much as I enjoyed Nina Kraljić’s performance, I do wonder if going on so early in the running order will hamper its chances. There are several songs I think will do well, but if it were down to me then I think either ToMa or Cambi would be Croatia’s best choices from tonight – depending on whether they want to go down the route of modern or more traditional. Also special shout outs to Eric, Beta and Tony Cetinski and Kiki Rahimovski, for stellar performances that I really enjoyed. In a way, I’m glad I’m not in Croatia and can vote, because I have no idea how I’ll decide!

Wow, has it been 10 minutes already? Time flies when you’re having fun with Croatian music!!

Gotovo! The vote is closed! Or Happy New Year, according to one host…

While we wait for the votes to be tallied, Vesna Pisarovć gives us a very intense interval act


Vesna treating us to a Croatian, slow tempo version of her 2002 Eurovision entry “Everything I Want” – nice!

Time for some adverts – not bad this far into a show, other national selections I could (but won’t!) name throw adverts in every few minutes! Make sure you buy things, the economy needs stimulating!

And we’re back in Opatija! Is a result getting nearer?

Zagreb voting first, 12 points to Blind – told you the teenage girls would be out in force!

Pula next, 12 to Colours

Čakovec and Varaždin give 12 to Colors and Spilt give their 12 to Ocean of Love

Dubrovnik gives 12 to Tick-Tock

Ocean of Love in the lead at the moment, with Tick-Tock hot on its heels

Osijek up next, and their 12 goes to Tick-Tock

This is what I love about the voting in Dora, each Croatian region votes so wildly different from each other!!

Knin and Šibenik up now, 10 to Nina’s Rijeka, 12 to Tick-Tock

Vukovar’s 12 goes to Blind – Tick-Tock have edged quite a way ahead now…

Zadar up last – beautiful city, love it there! Their 12 goes to… Blind

Whoops, I forgot about Rijeka! They get to vote too! And their 12 goes to Color

So here are the results of Croatia’s juries – but is the Croatian public about to throw a spanner in the works?

I’m surprised Ma Zamisli is so low…

After a quick chat with those near the top fo the scoreboard, it’s time for the results of the televote!!

Votes will be revealed in Eurovision style – so whoever is at the bottom of the scoreboard get their votes first – and Kriv gets an extra 7 points

Noći Pijane gets 8

Ma Zamisli gets 8 too

Share The Love (inexplicably) gets 34 (??)

Come This Way gets 26

Reci Mi gets an extra 16 points

Zapjevaj, Sloboda Je! gets 47

Zaljubljen, 71! Very well deserved!

Ocean of Love, 39 points – Croatia, I think you made a mistake there!!

Blind gets 53, and is now tied with Zaljubljen

She’s Like A Dream gets 52 and is currently in the lead

Rijeka gets 77 and is now first with 145!

This is getting tense!

Color gets 22 points – that’s a bit of a shock!

It’s Tick-Tock or Rijeka… but who will it be??

Tick-Tock gets…

120! Albina wins!

Must admit, I wasn’t expecting that, but then again, that’s what makes this job so much fun! Hvala lijepa Opatija i Hrvatska! And thank you for reading along tonight, hope you’ve enjoyed the show and my thoughts on things. Thank you Europe, and good night!

Author: James Scanlan
Source: HRT 1

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