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Croatia at Eurovision Song Contest: Brief History

Croatia at Eurovision – Our journey kicked off officially in 1993, but even before that, Croatian singers had been part of the competition. They were representing Yugoslavia. What makes Croatia unique is that it’s the only country to have organized the Eurovision Song Contest without ever winning or participating. The first Croatian selection, known as Crovizija, happened in 1992. Magazin won with “Alleluia,” but Croatia couldn’t debut due to some timing issues, so the group Put took the stage a year later.

Croatia at Eurovision Song Contest: Brief History

Getting to that first performance was no walk in the park. Croatia had to go through a pre-competition called “Qualification for Millstreet” in Ljubljana. There, seven countries vied for a visa to Ireland. Given the tough circumstances, it was a surprise that Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Slovenia all made it to the big Eurovision stage. Croatia’s song “Don’t Ever Cry” made history, winning enough points to secure a spot. 

The real breakthrough came in 1995 when Magazin and Lidija secured a sixth-place finish. The next year, Maja Blagdan’s “Sveta ljubav” achieved an impressive fourth place. However, the most memorable performances were in 1998 and 1999. Danijela Martinović’s performance in 1998, where she transformed from a black to a white dress, made waves and revolutionized Eurovision shows. Despite finishing fifth, it left a lasting mark on Eurovision history. 

A Stolen Victory

In 1999, Croatia had mixed feelings when thinking about Jerusalem. The amazing Doris Dragović and “Marija Magdalena” brought us the best result ever by securing fourth place, but it wasn’t all joy. We were seen as top contenders to win, but the Norwegian team accused us of having a male choir secretly recorded in our song. 

Although these male voices were more like singing “aaa” and not actual lyrics, the Eurovision folks threatened to disqualify us. Even though we still performed, we faced consequences later. Ksenija Urličić believed that all this trouble happened because the Eurovision organizers didn’t want little Croatia to host the “Millennium Eurosong 2000.” 

In the following two years, our country did well, securing spots in the TOP 10 at Eurovision. However, things took a forgettable turn after 2001. Goran Karan’s “When the Angels Sleep” was a hit, and then Aleksandar Kostadinov took over the Croatian team from Ksenija Urličić. The next year, we went with the experienced team of the Huljić couple and the popular Croatian singer Vanna. Their song, “Strings of My Heart,” didn’t quite meet expectations, but it still stands as one of the better results after Urličić’s time. 

At the 2002 Dora, Vesna Pisarović, who was popular in the region, won over Croatian viewers with the song “Sasvim sigurna.” It’s still a mystery why the Croatian delegation changed the great Croatian version into a pop-rock arrangement for “Everything I Want.” In a not-so-competitive year, Vesna landed in 11th place with the weak pop arrangement, leaving fans wondering about the unexpected shift. 

Fast Forward to 2006 and „Moja štikla“ (My heel)

Croatia’s beloved singer, Severina, took the Eurovision stage with the song “Moja štikla” by Boris Novković and Goran Bregović. This song stirred up a lot of talk in Croatia and the region. Political experts discussed the folk elements in the song, and Severina’s every move made headlines. Media columns were filled with her news, and press conferences were regularly held, drawing a crowd of regional journalists. 

HRT even made a special show called “Severina in Athens,” adding to the excitement of fans. Despite all the buzz, Severina only secured 12th place along with North Macedonia. There’s a lingering question of whether Croatia would have even reached the final without a direct spot, thanks to the withdrawal of Serbia and Montenegro. 

Croatia at Eurovision: A Rollercoaster of Highs and Lows

After Severina’s performance, Croatia faced a tough time and couldn’t make it to the finals of the Eurovision Song Contest for quite a few years. Dado Topić and Dragonfly couldn’t lead Croatia to the grand finale for the first time, marking the beginning of a less successful period. Sending Kraljeve ulice with Romanca to Belgrade resulted in a 21st-place finish, and the following year, despite high expectations, Feminnem’s “It’s Easy” group shocked fans by failing to qualify for the finals. 

Daria Kinzer represented Croatia in Düsseldorf with Boris Đurđević’s “Celebrate,” but they were eliminated in the semi-finals. Even the regionally popular Nina Badrić faced a similar fate, receiving points mainly from former Yugoslav countries for her song “Nebo.” Klapa s mora, formed specifically for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2013, didn’t achieve notable results and landed in 13th place in the semi-finals. The following years saw Croatia struggling to make a mark on the Eurovision stage. 

Croatia's Eurovision Revival in 2023

In 2023, something special happened for Croatia at Eurovision. The legendary and sometimes controversial group Let 3, winners of Dora, made their way to the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool. Their anti-war song “Mama ŠČ!” and a performance that only the Let 3 singers could pull off captured the hearts of Europe. This triumph marked Croatia’s return to the finals of the Eurovision Song Contest. 

Leading up to the final, many thought Let 3 might make it to the Top 10. However, when the results were in, the Croatian representatives secured 13th place. It’s interesting to note that they won a significant 112 points through televoting, putting them in seventh place according to the audience’s votes. This is the highest ranking achieved by a Croatian representative in televoting. Unfortunately, the jury awarded the boys from Rijeka only 11 points, resulting in the final placement of 13th. 

What's in Store for 2024?

The Eurovision Song Contest 2024 is the upcoming 68th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. The competition will be held in Malmö at the Malmö Arena on May 7, 9, and 11, 2024. Below is a list of performers from Croatia who are fighting for their place at Eurovision. As usual, although it is not yet known which song will be chosen to defend the colors of our country – there are certain favorites and interesting artists. 

The list of performers on Dora (Croatian Eurovision Song Contest):


  • Alen Đuras – A Tamburitza Lullaby
  • Baby Lasagna – Rim tim tagi dim
  • Barbara Munjas – Nepobjediva
  • Boris Štok – Can We Talk
  • Damir Kedžo- Voljena ženo
  • Erna – How Do You Love Me
  • ET – Pametnom dosta
  • Eugen – Tišine
  • James Night – Nebo plače
  • Lana Mandarić – More
  • Lara Demarin – Ne vjerujem ti
  • Let 3 – Babaroga
  • Lu Dedić – Plavi leptir
  • Marcela – Gasoline
  • Mario Battifiaca feat. Robert Ferlin – Vodu piti trizan biti
  • Misha – One Day
  • Natalie Balmix – Dijamanti
  • Noelle – Baby, Baby
  • Pavel – Do Mjeseca
  • Saša Lozar – Ne plačem zbog nje
  • Stefany Žužić – Sretnih dana dat’ će Bog
  • The Splitters – Od kad te sanjam
  • Vatra – Slatke suze, gorka ljubav
  • Vinko – Lying Eyes 

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