#CROATIA – LIVE BLOG of Dora 2023 from 20:15 CET!

Dobra večer Europo i dobro jutro Australija! Tonight is Super Saturday with no less than 7 countries choosing their acts for the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 in Liverpool – so let’s see who Croatia choose with Dora 2023!

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!

Tonight’s show comes to us live from Opatija on the coast of northern Croatia from the Marino Cvetković Sports Hall. Our hosts for the evening are Mirko Fodor, Mario Lipovšek Battifiaca and Marko Tolja. 18 songs are all hoping for that ticket to Liverpool, and will be performing in the following order:

  1. Top of the Pops ft. Mario 5reković – “Putovanje”
  2. Yogi – “Love at First Sight”
  3. Boris Štok – “Grijeh”
  4. Tajana Belina – “Dom”
  5. Krešo & Kisele Kiše – “Kme kme”
  6. Maja Grgić – “I Still Live”
  7. Barbara Munjas – “Putem snova”
  8. Đana – “Free Fallin'”
  9. Patricia Gasparini – “I Will Wait”
  10. The Splitters – “Lost and Found”
  11. Hana Mašić – “Nesreća”
  12. Damir Kedžo – “Angels and Demons”
  13. Martha May – “Distance”
  14. Detour – “Master Blaster”
  15. Meri Andraković – “Bye Bye Blonde”
  16. Let 3 – “Mama ŠČ!”
  17. Eni Jurišić – “Kreni dalje”
  18. Harmonija Disonance – “Nevera (Lei, lei)”

The winner of Dora 2022 will be selected by 50/50 between regional juries and the Croatian public. In the event of a tie, the televote winner and choice of the public will take precedence. Each jury will be made up of 3 people representing one of the following regions of Croatia:

  • Zagreb
  • Čakovec and Varaždin
  • Rijeka
  • Pula
  • Osijek
  • Zadar
  • Knin and Šibenik
  • Split
  • Dubrovnik
  • Vukovar

If you want to watch along with all the fun yourself, you can watch HERE or on HRT’s YOUTUBE from 20:15 CET / 19:15 GMT. The show is scheduled to finish at 22:05 CET/ 21:05 GMT, but as we know, when does live TV ever go according to plan?! 

You know the drill: Just refresh this page to get the comments, points of view and all that Eurovision Ireland goodness you know and love!


Joj! Previše rano si! Oh! You’re far too early! Come back a little before 20:15 CET and we’ll find out who is off to Liverpool for Croatia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2023! 🇭🇷 🇭🇷 🇭🇷 🇭🇷 🇭🇷

It’s about 10 minutes to showtime! Grab your Šljivovica and settle in for a fun* night of Croatian music and hijinks (* fun is a relative term!)

Quick reminder if you want to watch via HRT’s website, scroll to the bottom of the page, tick the box and click “nastavi” – you’re agreeing to their terms and conditions etc… and you’ll then be able to watch all their content to your heart’s content   

If you’re currently seeing “Sadržaj nije dostupan zbog ograničenih autorskih prava!” on your HRT feed then don’t panic – HRT only want their lottery numbers broadcast in Croatia… which kind of makes sense! But we should be going live for Dora in the next few minutes!

While waiting for the show to start, I’ve noticed that you can watch previous editions of Dora on HRT’s website! If you’re looking for an recommendation, 2019 had A LOT of strong entries in it!

Here we go!

Once again, HRT is blocking screen grabs, so you’ll have to rely on my powers of description… there are some people in a place… and they’re doing things… like, lots of things…

Just kidding, a group of dancers looking not unlike Eliza Doolittle from My Fair Lady prance around stage with similarly well-to-do looking gentleman in top hats. They doing some very staccato moves to what sounds like dubstep with operatic vocals… that’s before we get onto the laser light shows… I’d forgotten just how much I love watching national selections!!

That went on just long enough for me to wonder if I was watching the right side, but Mia Dimšić has just arrived to sing Guilty Pleasure, last year’s winner of Dora. Really loved this song, understated but heartfelt… still listen to it today!

Pozdrave iz Opatije! Obligatory postcard-style tour around the host city, which I must say looks lovely!

Our hosts for the evening, Mario Lipovšek Battifiaca, Marko Tolja and Mirko Fodor. I missed they part where/if they said which was which… but it’s nice to see an audience back at the national final! Makes the last few years seem like a bizarre dream…

Our hosts (very candidly) explain why the contest is being held in Liverpool and not Ukraine following Kalush Orchestra’s victory in Turin last year. Wasn’t sure if that would be mentioned or not.

“Molim te, stop!” – got to love it when English and Croatian get mixed!!

He does make a good point though… wonder how often The Beatles will be mentioned at the contest in May? What do we reckon, every 12 seconds? Every 3? ;-P

Time for the flag parade, except they’re all Croatian… still I like the idea of introducing all the contestants before the show, gives you an idea who the audience are really behind. Krešo & Kisele Kiše seemed to be their favourites judging by those reactions!

After a quick explanation about how voting tonight will work, we’re off with the first song!

Top of the Pops ft. Mario 5reković – “Putovanje”

With a gentleman sat at the piano in a white jacket and a singer in white gown, this rather 70s disco sounding track has a bit of a classy edge to it. Though I can’t quite shake the feeling I’m watching a cruise ship band – that’s not a criticism, I’ve seen some great bands on boats! Add in some shouting in English from someone who looks like a cross between Luke Evans and Gomez Addams, it’s a bit unusual and I’m not sure how much it works. That being said, it’s a solid effort and memorable way to start the night! I really like their enthusiasm and energy! “That’s the spirit brothers and sisters, hallelujah!” – couldn’t have said it better myself!

Yogi – “Love at First Sight”

From very boppy and bouncy to a real jazz lounge ballad… Yogi connects well with the camera for the most part, which is good as it’s otherwise a very static performance. It’s heartfelt and well performed, musically I wonder if it’s a bit too divisive. Yogi’s a great performer, no question, I’m just left wondering if this would get lost on a Eurovision stage. Still, a gentle sound to it and very pleasant.

Boris Štok – “Grijeh”

I love the rock edge to this as it starts, and Boris has the swagger on stage of a pro – someone who is used to holding the attention of an audience. BUT he makes that cardinal sin so many consummate performers make at these national selections: he is performing to the audience in the arena in Opatija, not the the thousands watching around Croatia – i.e.: where his votes will come from. That could prove costly come May. The song itself was enjoyable, though not sure it’s the right choice for Croatia to send to Liverpool…

Tajana Belina – “Dom”

Dressed in a large red frock, Tajana has a strong, clear voice and she connects well with the camera. Brilliant! The dancers wheeling around her add to the performance, which is a rarity! Musically it has a bit of a modern edge, feels fast paced and edgy. So far tonight, I think Tajana is the one to beat!

Krešo & Kisele Kiše – “Kme kme”

Black and white lighting, a band member arriving on stage by skateboard, it has instant impact! It’s a bit shouty and in your face, fronted by Croatia’s answer to John Lydon, but it’s got a strong driving beat and the brass adds depth to the punkish rock feel. It’s the kind of song that’s impossible to not move along to (I’m head banging as I’m typing!!) The audience really reacted to it, mores o than anything else tonight! Though what that last shot of dry spaghetti means, I have no idea… utterly bonkers, but I suspect that’ll be one to watch tonight!

Maja Grgić – “I Still Live”

Oh wow… it’s moments like this I really wish I could screengrab for you!! “I’m not longer alive” Maja proclaims, wearing half a shrubbery on her head, while two nymphs scramble out from under her voluminous green skirts. As performance art, this is strangely compelling and gentle. “You can find me in the forest, in the seas,”… will we find you in Liverpool? I suspect not, which is a shame – Eurovision loves costumes like these!! DID SHE JUST SHOW A HUMAN HEART TO THE AUDIENCE?! THAT TOOK A SINISTER TURN!! Wow… just… wow…

Barbara Munjas – “Putem snova”

Dressed in a sparkly blue dress with a throbbing beat that for some reason puts me in mind of Billie Elish, Babara’s performance is confident, slick and she connects well with the camera… strangely she also reminds me of my Croatian teacher from university!! Musically, the song is a bot of 80s pop that perhaps isn’t ground breaking, but Barbara shows brilliant how a performer can elevate a song that perhaps isn’t so strong by itself. Well done Barbara! Brava!

Đana – “Free Fallin’”

Another very confident performance from Đana, who pops and locks around the stage in a very modern/free style way. Her vocals aren’t quite there tonight, but she’s really putting herself through her paces warbling and trilling, which is to be commended. She also connects beautifully with the camera, though we might need to have words with her stylist… wow, just listen to that crowd! Another one to watch for victory tonight?

Patricia Gasparini – “I Will Wait”

“While you’re out there living your dreams, I’m chasing memories”… wow… that’s rather profound for Eurovision! Patricia is wearing a silver body suit while her dancers in black contrast nicely. She exudes confidence, and as a package, I’d argue it’s Eurovision ready. This is why I love Dora, it’s always such a high-quality affair!

My goodness, we’re already half way through tonight’s songs… another reason I love Dora, no hanging around, no faff… Sanremo, are you taking notes? 😉

The Splitters – “Lost and Found”

The strange moment when I realise this is the first song tonight in English! Not that I’m complaining!! The top hat, cravat and Dick van Dyke cockney accent are strangely endearing for this mellow love song with indie feels. I did flinch a little when I saw the cartoons behind the band as they reminded me a bit too much of Heroes from Sweden in 2015 (which, unpopular opinion, I’ve never really rated!!) A little more connection with the camera would be nice, but it’s colourful, sweet and fun – not a bad little song!

Hana Mašić – “Nesreća”

Oh dear… Hana has a beautiful and emotive voice, but seriously… whose idea was it to have her wearing that head piece made of hair? The song feels quite brooding and has elements of the traditional in there, which I love… but one pony tail with Slavko was bad enough, she’s got a whole herd up there!! I was relieved when it finally came off! Musically, one of my favourites so far, great voice… but staging needs a complete rethink in my humble opinion… or at least a hairdresser!

Absolutely hilarious listening to Croatian hosts slip into Received Pronunciation British English… is this honest what they think we all sound like? They’re in for a shock when they get to Liverpool, right our kid?

Damir Kedžo – “Angels and Demons”

Poor Damir, he won Dora 2020 and got a ticket to Rotterdam that he never got to use… I knew he’d be back one of these days! He’s confident, easy on the eye, and his costume is just (just!) on the right side of that line between memorable and retina-detaching… Staging wise, it’s also fairly contest ready, and who doesn’t love a good key change? BTW, Vasil from North Macedonia called, he wants his sparkly top back! I came into tonight thinking Damir would be the one to beat and I suspect he still might be… lyrically I think it’s a tad trite, but that has never stopped anyone winning Eurovision to be fair!!

Martha May – “Distance”

Distance, existence, resistance… ouch… Martha May must have gotten a rhyming dictionary for Christmas! As a spoken word performance, this is compelling. The frilly lilac frock is nice, her makeup is stunning and she has a beautiful voice. It’s just a shame that while there is a story there in the lyrics, it’s just musically very bland and feels cliched. I hope Martha May returns to a future Dora with something stronger, because she clearly has the talent! Just this song doesn’t do much to sell it…

Detour – “Master Blaster”

What’s Croatian for mods? Anyone? The lead vocalist of Detour has stage presence by the barrelful and stares right down the camera and into your soul, even with her dubious dancing. But it’s so dubious, it ends up being brilliant! This song has a great beat, it’s fun and makes you want to move – it’s a good blend of quirky that could go down well with an international audience – Croatia could do a lot worse than sending this to Liverpool!

Meri Andraković – “Bye Bye Blonde”

Ooooh now! This is 80s-tastic! Got that synth beat, singalong lyrics and a slick and well choreographed performance that Meri leads effortlessly. Is it particularly deep and poetic? Nope, it’s gloriously and ridiculously pop and fun and I enjoyed that a lot more than I expected to! And yes, even if it was written with Martha’s rhyming dictionary, it’s still fantastic! Well done Meri! Could we be saying bye bye Meri, see you in Liverpool?

Let 3 – “Mama ŠČ!”

“Mother bought a tractor” they chant over and over… and as they did, I sat here in stunned silence for a good few seconds wondering what I’m looking at… wearing sparkly trench coats and heavy make up, gesturing and stamping their feet, I’m not sure if I’m looking at a Pride Parade or a Far-Right Rally… it’s gloriously bonkers and they looked like they were really enjoying themselves, which is lovely to see… I just wonder if Europe will even begin to understand it, let alone enjoy it… Let 3, I applaud you! Why, I’ve no idea, but I’m glad to have seen you!

Eni Jurišić – “Kreni dalje”

Still reeling from Let 3, I came around a bit late into Eni’s performance. She’s got a melodic voice and the moody black costume works well with the sensual red lighting… but I feel like it’s a case of outlandish costumes (especially those of her backing dancers) trying to make up for a bit of a plodding song. Not a bad song perse, I just wonder if it’s right for Eurovision

Harmonija Disonance – “Nevera (Lei, lei)”

Oooooh… now this I like! Very strong traditional instrumentals and the Old Slavic script at the beginning, the girls dressed in dark colours harmonise beautifully together and it’s a simple choreography but slick – sometimes keeping it simple works better than you can ever imagine! This puts me in mind a bit of River Dance, a bit of Nocturne… I loved that! Croatia, did you save the best for last?

Adverts! Since January, you can now spend Euros in Croatia!

And we’re back from the adverts to open the voting! To literally no reaction from the audience… that’s unusual!

While we listen to the recap, I’m going to summarise my thoughts from tonight and try and pinpoint who I think will win this thing! BRB!

Croatia have put on a great show tonight and reminded me why I always ask to blog this show (in addition to being the only Eurovision Irelander who understands a little Croatian!). There have been a few stand out moments tonight for a variety of reasons… and that’s before we talk about Maja’s living tree to Let 3’s general weirdness!

Watching the recap, Krešo & Kisele Kiše, Đana, Damir, Detour (all the Ds!), Meri and Harmonija Disonance all stand strong, while admittedly, Patricia and Hana didn’t quite have the same impact they did the first time around (shame for both). I’m still not entirely sure about Let 3, but part of me thinks send it to Liverpool just to see how Europe reacts!!

While I came into tonight thinking this was Damir’s to lose, I’m now leaning more towards Harmonija Disonance… though something is telling me Đana, Meri and even Martha might not be out of the running just yet… though that might be because last year the Croatian public responded really well to Mia and I feel like Martha has a similar sounding song… and with each recap Đana puts me more in mind of Albina and Tick Tock… no matter how many selections you watch and how many winners you see get crowned, some shows are still very hard to call! And something is telling me (call it moja intuicija) that this isn’t going to be as clear cut as people imagine!

For those of you interested, other songs being selected tonight: Alika will represent 🇪🇪 Estonia with “Bridges”, while it’s Reiley and “Breaking My Heart” for 🇩🇰 Denmark

3… 2… 1… GOTOVO – Croatia, your Eurovision 2023 fate is sealed. Did you make a good choice?

While we’re treated to some interval acts in Opatija, I’m going to look and see if any other results are in… Romania and Latvia should be fairly soon!

The Green Room seem to be really into these songs, which is awesome to see – sometimes you watch a Green Room during a national selection and it looks more like a hostage situation… I still remember one edition of EMA that looked like its Green Room was Ljubljana bus station… and Beovizija’s Green Room always looks like a riot!!

We’ve a result in 🇱🇻 Latvia! It’s Sudden Lights with “Aijā”

3 songs down, 4 to go! Though let’s face it, Sanremo isn’t going to end any time soon… the winner of Sanremo has to run from Italian riviera straight to the airport and off to Liverpool!

Song #4 from Super Saturday! 🇷🇴 Romania are sending Theodor Andrei with “D.G.T. (Off and On)”

I think we’re about to start getting some results in Croatia…

First jury up is Rijeka, somewhere I’ve always fancied going. They award 10 points to Free Fallin’ and 12 to Lost and Found

Next is Čakovec and Varaždin, Damir gets 10, Let 3 gets 12

Split give 10 to Let 3 and 12 to Lost and Found

Osijek in eastern Croatia gives 10 to Harmonija Disonance, and their maximum 12 to Let 3… Let 3 looking like they’re taking an early lead…

Let 3 are currently 1st, Harmonija Disonance in 2nd and Damir in 3rd – but still plenty to play for!

Knin and Šibenik giving their points now, 10 to Detour and 12 to Let 3!

Vukovar gives 10 to Let 3, Meri gets 12

Pula (which means something filthy in Romanian, but thankfully not Croatian!) give 10 points to Let 3 and their 12 goes to Lost and Found

Zadar up now – lovely place, I loved my trip there! Their 10 goes to Detour while their 12 goes to Let 3… I think this is fast becoming a done deal, isn’t it?

Indeed, they have a 32 point lead over second place Harmonija! And only a handful of juries left to declare… I have a feeling Liverpool isn’t going to know what hit it…

Zagreb, Croatia’s capital awards 10 points to Kreni Dalje and 12 points to Let 3

The Pearl of the Adriatic, fair Dubrovnik up next. Their 10 goes to Top of the Pop and their 12 goes to Detour

Let 3 are currently in the lead with 105 points, and a substantial lead over 2nd place… unless the Croatian public have had a VERY different response to tonight’s songs, I think we have a winner…

According to the slider on the bottom of my screen, we should have a result in the next 2 minutes… unless HRT decide to cut the feed, which has happened with other broadcasters in the past!!

Televote results are in!

Dom gets 8 from the televote, I Will Wait gets 3

Yup, was kicked out of the broadcast as the timer ran out! Ooops…

I’ve made it onto YouTube, seeing these results, I think whoever has won the televote has done so by a big margin… Damir’s 59 points isn’t enough to knock Let 3 off their top spot…

Harmonjia Disonance get 88, which gives them a 50 point lead over Let 3… can they do it?

174 points for Let 3 from the televote… well, that was fairly decisive, wasn’t it!

So it’s Let 3 off to Liverpool in May with Mama ŠČ! – I think we can safely say that’ll be a talking point of the show, won’t it!

Thank you Croatia for a great night, and we look forward to seeing Let 3 onstage in Liverpool! Thanks for reading along tonight, I hope you’ve enjoyed my thoughts on goings on in Croatia!

Thank you Europe, and goodnight!

Author: James Scanlan
Source: HRT

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