Despite never winning the contest, Croatia has some great results under their belt. In recent years however, the nation has struggled to qualify for the final, including the past two years. This year, it was up to Damir Kedžo with his song Divlji vjetre to turn things around, but would he have qualified from the tough semi-final?
Anita (Eurovision Union)
Song and Vocals
I would say that most Eurovision fans placed Croatia fairly low in their rankings, not necessarily because it is a bad song, but more so due to the fact that it’s probably not the most memorable song. Despite that, I actually really enjoy Divlji Vjetre. Vocally, I think Damir is a very confident vocalist, and I enjoy the strength in his voice especially during the choruses. The big note towards the end of the song is perfect as well, and I think perhaps juries would have at least appreciated the vocals.
Not only is it the vocal performance that I enjoy, but I also really like the melody. I find that it catches my attention straight away, and as it progresses, the song builds towards the powerful chorus. The instrumentals in this are great, and I especially like the strings section.
If you know me, you know bonus points also go out to the use of Croatian language, which in this song is beautiful. Big fan.
Performance and Act
Damir is both a strong vocalist but also a confident performer. Despite staying relatively static in his national final performance, I still see a lot of confidence in the performance. The staging in the national performance was nice, but I think if they adopted the tried and true balkan ballad formula of staging (Think Zeljko, Knez etc), this could have made a lot more impact.
Away from the performance itself, one other thing worth mentioning is that Damir is a Eurovision fan himself, and there’s always something endearing about a Eurovision entrant that has such pure love for the contest.
Next Up: 2021
Because of his passion for the contest, I really hope that Croatia will continue into 2021 with Damir. He is a strong vocalist ready to tackle Eurovision, and with another strong ballad, we could be seeing Croatia in the final again. If they can manage to find a songwriting team that really utilises his voice, but also introduces some ethnic elements other than just national language, this could be a recipe for success. I hope that it can play out like this!
I definitely think this entry was underrated by fans. I thoroughly enjoy this song, perhaps not as much as the earworms of the year, but this is not a song that I would turn off before the 3 minutes is over. With a stronger stage performance, this could have been the dark horse of the first semi-final, but I still think it would have struggled with televote appeal. Juries may have gotten on board, but probably not enough to carry this into the final.
Song and Vocals
Oof. This is a bit painful. I have to admit I forgot what the Croatian song sounded like, so I had to look it up to review. A big issue to me is that it is not an instant earworm, lacking a build-up or something surprising to make it memorable.
It is not there. Not in the composition but also not in the vocal delivery. And when I heard it again, in all fairness I cannot say that it is a bad song or bad delivery. It is just very, very forgettable.
Performance and Act
What I have written about the song, also applies to the visual presentation. When there is plain song, sometimes the visuals and camerawork can give it something extra to stand out after all. But also here, Croatia is using some standard camera shots. It looks a bit dutiful and uninspired, to me.
Next up: 2021
The good news is, Croatia has lots of time to fix this. Damir seems to be a good singer, and maybe needs a more challenging and interesting song. He also needs to start working with a professional stage designer on how to work the camera, when to look into the lens and get a connection with the audience. There is a lot of work to be done, but I believe it can work out with this artist, should Croatia decide to do so.
Despite loving the Serbo-Croatian language and entries of the past in that language, this song did not stand out for me at all. In that genre and language, we have had examples of far, far better and more impactful song, both in an outside of Eurovision. Croatia should be able to do better.
Additional Scores from Eurovision Union and ESCDaily editors:
Average Score: 5.125/10
What do you think of Divlji vjetre? Follow our Eurovision 2020 reviews here.