Croatia are neither here nor there when it comes to Eurovision, and over the years they haven’t always made a huge impact at the contest. Last year, the nation sent Nina Kraljić, a singer with a beautiful voice and a beautiful song which admittedly should have done better in the final. This year, Croatia went the internal selection route once again, and later on in the national selection season they announced that Jacques Houdek will be flying the Croatian flag. Interestingly, Jacques was actually Nina’s coach and mentor on the television show The Voice, so he must know what he’s talking about, or so you would think.
The song he will be singing, or duet-ing with himself is My Friend. Prior to the Eurovision song release, he released the instrumental of his song, and honestly, it was promising. I was curious and excited to see what Croatia had planned considering Nina had a cracking song in 2016. Give me strength. This song is just some next level insanity. The song begins with some inspiring spoken word, which gives a clue into how strange this song is about to be. The first personality of Jacques we hear is his sensitive high voice, which even though he is singing cringeworthy lyrics, it’s much better than Pavarotti Jacques (I shouldn’t say that, it’s an insult to Pavarotti) who chimes in every few lines to have his say in Italian. Honestly, if we gave this song to someone who knew nothing about this song, they would honestly think it was two separate people. Besides the really jarring switching of personalities within the song, the actual song itself is just not good. The instrumentation is great, and that’s as far it goes. The lyrics themselves are predictable in a bad way, and just plain cringeworthy.
What will probably be more cringe inducing is the staging for this performance. Although he has apparently confirmed no crazy costumes for his performance, surely he would have to wear a half suit-half dress number. Ok fine, even if he wears something vanilla, like a plain suit (party pooper), I can just envisage this song featuring some sort of strange staging. Picture this: Jacques is featured on stage with a mirror next to him. As English Jacques sings, the camera is focused on him, but as Italian Jacques breaks out in the opera, he looks towards the mirror and the camera focuses on the reflection. Croatia, feel free to hire me as head of staging. Jokes aside, it will be interesting to see how they play this one, because it would really take a Paula and Ovi Miracle to salvage this nightmarish duet for one.
I’m quite enjoying the fact that this is in semi-final 2, because this has so little chance of qualifying. With so many great songs in the second semi, I really can’t see this being rewarded by the jury or televoters. If this does get into the final, I will eat my words. I’m giving this a 1/10 – if this is Croatia trolling Eurovision fans, well played.