Croatia have had their fair share of Top 10 finishes, however the closest result to a win still remains as 4th place in the final – a result they achieved back in the 1990’s. In more recent years, Croatia often struggled to even reach the final, and if they do, they often finish towards the bottom end of the results table. This year the nation dreamed big, hosting a national final in which Roko won with his song, The Dream. Will their dreams of winning the contest this year come true?
Song + Vocals
It’s both exciting and daunting knowing that a nation is going back to selecting their act through a national final, because the public are allowed to have their say, however on the flipside, you have to trust the public to make the right decision. Although Croatia’s selection featured jury and televote, Roko won the selection, and his public vote was miles ahead of the second placing song. Must be a good song right?
Where do I begin with this song? Let’s start on a positive note – Roko has an incredible voice. Because of that alone, it’s easy to see why Croatia voted for his performance. Without any backing in the national final, Roko belts out that big chorus with ease and although it could do with some backing harmonies, Roko could definitely carry it out alone at Eurovision if he had to. I do also like that they will be using two languages through the song, and would actually much prefer that the whole song was in Croatian – and I’ll tell you why…
Now onto the critique – The English lyrics of this song are the most cringe worthy of the Eurovision class of 2019. There are some pretty tough competitors in this category, but the first few lines of this song is truly enough to make me want to not listen to this song. The kindergarten rhyming is reminiscent of our old Friend, Jacques Houdek, and surprise surprise, he is part of the song writing team for The Dream. It’s a shame as the message of the song feels genuine, but it’s hard to take this seriously when we are handed the most basic lyrics of ‘I dream of love, you dream of love.’ And THAT’S why I think this song should have been totally in Croatian.
This has such potential to be a strong ethno style ballad from Croatia, but the song alone is not one I enjoy. Again, it is a shame considering how strong Roko is as a vocalist, and I think he deserves a song that is a little less cliché.
Act + Performance
Let’s talk about the national final performance. Dressed in all white, colour of peace and also historically the colour of Eurovision winners but to top it all off, angel wings. If the song wasn’t cliché enough, add some angel wings and you have reached peak cliché. Why is there just no risk?
There has been some news of how this will be staged at Eurovision, with planned backing dancers and likely the angel wings. Will he be wearing white? Almost certainly. It feels like a lot of novelty and fuss considering Roko is such a good vocalist, and truly all he would need is some backing singers to help give the vocal performance more dimension. I suspect Croatia will be using the ‘more is more’ method, especially based off knowing that Jacques is involved with the song – just remember back to his stage performance!
This is one of the songs from 2019 that I really just can’t get behind. It’s a song with a good message but packaged in such a cliché, cringe way. That being said, there is a place at Eurovision for cliché entries and I wouldn’t be surprised either way if this does, or doesn’t reach the final. Roko’s vocals alone are impressive, and that is the factor that would score votes.