Read back: The return of Dora 2019

HRT will host Dora 2019 tonight which will decide the Croatian entry for Eurovision 2019. Sixteen artists will perform in which the winner will be selected through 50% tele-vote, to 50% regional jury. You can watch the show live via this link. This will require logging-in but live-stream is not geo-blocked. The final will begin at approx. 20:00 CET.

After tonight, the winner will become the twenty-fifth Croatian Eurovision entrant and will attend Tel Aviv for Croatia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2019.

The blog will be updated throughout the show, and the most recent comments will be at the top. Times will be in CET.


22:55 CET: The concludes tonight’s live-blog of Dora 2019. Thank you for joining. You can read the Croatia’s results article here.

22:45 CET: The winner has been revealed: Roko – The Dream! He reprises the Croatian entry for Eurovision 2019.

22:40 CET: As a result converting the jury votes means The Dream receives 12 points, Tower of Babylon receives 10 points and All I Really Want gains 8 points from the jury. Next is tele-votes here is the top three:

  • 8 points goes to: Tower of Babylon
  • 10 points goes to: Brutalero
  • 12 points goes to: The Dream.

22:20 CET: Time for the regional jury votes – I’ll be posting the top three for each region’s jurors:

  • Dubronik gives 8 points to Tower of Babylon, 10 points to All I Really Want, 12 points to The Dream.
  • Knin I Sibenik gives 8 points to Brutalero, 10 points to Tower of Babylon, 12 points to All I Really Want.
  • Osijek gives 8 points to The Dream, 10 points to All I Really Want, 12 points to Redemption.
  • Pula gives 8 points to I Believe in True Love, 10 points to Brutalero, 12 points to All I Really Want.
  • Rijeka gives 8 points to Redemption, 10 points to In The Shadows, 12 points to The Dream.
  • Split gives 8 points to Brutalero, 10 points to Tower of Babylon, 12 points to The Dream.
  • Zadar gives 8 points to Tower of Babylon, 10 points to I Believe in True Love, 12 points to In the Shadows.
  • Varazdin I Cakovec gives 8 points to Indigo, 10 points to Redemption, 12 points to Don’t Give Up.
  • Vukovar gives 8 points to In the Shadows, 10 points to Nisam to što žele, 12 points to I Believe in True Love.
  • Zagreb gives 8 points to The Dream, 10 points to Tower of Babylon, 12 points to Brutalero.

22:15 CET: Last of tonight’s interval acts. We’ve got an established female Croatian singer to sing her biggest hits. Not long to go!

22:05 CET: Voting has closed! Next up is an instrumental band playing an electronic percussion set-up. Actually sounds quite good and soothing. Nice chill music before the dramatic results is revealed. Commercial break before the all important winning entry reveal.

22:00 CET: Another recap now shown just before the voting lines will close. Not too long to go!

21:53 CET: We now have our interval act featuring a young female artist and male artist performing a Croatian Eurovision medley from entries such as “Dont Ever Cry” and “Neka mi ne svane”. Sung superbly by both but the female artist was exceptional.

21:50 CET: We’re now shown our first recap for tonight. Fifteen minutes left to vote. Results should come in approximately thirty-five minutes.

21:40 CET: We return to how the show began with the VT of a girl dancing outside a building to the classic Dora fanfare. We return to the hosts for the final artist chats in the green room.

  • Song #16: Manntra – In The Shadows

Did they save the best until last? I don’t believe so. It’s a hard-rock entry with some questionable vocal harmonisation from the male vocalists. Overall sounds quite pirate-y, I do appreciate HRT including an entry such as this, I worry this may do well if the band have a strong backing in Croatia that could influence the tele-vote, especially considering they were put to perform last, usually to keep the audience watching until the end. Quite catchy but not right for Eurovision in my opinion.

  • Song #15: Bernarda Bruno – I Believe in True Love

Bernarda wears a shimmering dress with black sunglasses giving me the impression this artist might be visually impaired. Vocally phenomenal and delivers her piano ballad soulfully with vocals shining through. Entry works far better on stage than in studio. Definitely one to watch tonight.

21:30 CET: Back into the green-room now to chat with the remaining artists that haven’t spoke. Two entries remain!

  • Song #14: Lorena Bućan – Tower of Babylon

Tonight’s final of the fan-favourites is Lorena who fittingly has Babylon projected around her during her performance. This is a strong entry with a good concept. Lorena is dressed a warrior goddess and her vocals showcase that also. The track seems to sample the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ soundtrack for one specific part of the track. If this is selected, I hope it won’t become a plagiarism issue.  Overall this would be a solid entry but I still fear non-qualification if this didn’t have a spectacular performance to back it up.

  • Song #13: Lidija Bačić – Tek je počelo

Lidija is dressed in a black bikini with a fish-net outfit on-top – quite risque. Her backing dancers are dressed in brass covering her face. She’s only on-stage with an elderly man who whistles throughout the track which surprisingly works. A little dated in production but performance saves it. Can’t see this doing well with the jurors but could do well enough in televotes.

  • Song #12: Ema Gagro – Redemption

Ema dresses in a two-piece outfit and isn’t afraid to move around the stage which suits her entry and it’s meaning. Quite enjoy this entry but unfortunately performing after Roko doesn’t help Ema’s chances. Catchy and upbeat with great star quality from Ema herself.

21:10 CET: We return to the green-room to speak to the artists who have yet to speak in the green room. Now onto song twelve!

  • Song #11: Roko Blažević – The Dream

Roko is dressed with angels wings in a white blazer. This sounds incredible and immediately piqued my attention. Dramatic with the focus on Roko’s flawless vocals. Intercuts between Croatian and English. Builds to a powerful high and features a key change. Brilliantly produced, very much hoping this can be the Croatian entry. Very strong contender and my clear favourite so far.

  • Song #10: Domenica – Indigo

The three girls remind me of Moje 3 but their outfits are simple and sweet. The song is quite repetitive lyrically and musically but harmonisation is well done. Solid song but stronger contenders in tonight’s show most definitely.

  • Song #09: Elis Lovrić – All I Really Want

Elis dressed in red strums an acoustic guitar with words being projected around her i.e. authentic, life, rebel. Quite a sweet song but vocally not the greatest to hear from Elis. I enjoy the entry but think it could get lost easily on the Eurovision stage. Nice calm entry to follow after Luka.

21:00 CET: We randomly intercut to the hosts who showcase Raiven’s performance on EMA in Slovenia’s national final. Was it a random coincidence or do they expect Raiven to win?

  • Song #08: Luka Nižetić – Brutalero

Spanish entry next with a very different performance utilising the LEDs to showcase Luka in comic-book style graphics for the performance opening. A very trippy performance with Luka dressed in a neon-yellow and seeming to sit on the floor for half the floor. He takes out a comic-book pop-out megaphone before going behind a superhero cut-out. He’s joined by two brightly coloured dancers wearing Sia-inspired coloured wigs. This performance is wild but gets a strong reaction from the audience.

20:50 CET: Unexpected commercial break after song seven. When we return we will hear the remaining entries including tonight’s three favourites: Luka, Roko and Lorena.

  • Song #07: Gelato Sisters – Back to the Swing

This has Eurovision written all over it. Gimmick, concept, performance – check, check, check. The Gelato Sisters dressed in black and white maid outfits with red high-heels and gloves. Reminscient of postmodern jukebox. This could do very well tonight, I see this as a dark horse however I hope for better from Croatia. Captivating performance even if the music track doesn’t have the greatest melody.

20:45 CET: We’re back to our hosts who have quick chats with the artists who have performed already in the green room.

  • Song #06: Lea Mijatović – Tebi pripadam

Hallelujah, our first coloured outfit and it’s jewel-encrusted pink for Lea! Quite a strong entry with many acoustic elements. Vocally superb from Lea and a decent entry. If chosen, I do suspect non-qualification however but I quite enjoyed it nonetheless. Simple staging with Lea in centre of the stage and felt fresh in performance.

  • Song #05: Beta Sudar – Don’t Give Up

Beta gives a Jessie-J vibe in the image while accompanied by two backing, female dancers that bring out gold fabric for the final chorus (first bright colour on-stage). Much more of an energetic entry while sounding relevant yet not revolutionary in terms of music production. Lyrics repeat quite heavily unfortunately.

  • Song #04: Jure Brkljača – Ne postojim kad nisi tu

Jure’s entry is a great emotional ballad that is reminiscent of “Kula”. He stands in the centre of the stage while four backing singers stand to the side like you’d of seen in Eurovision decades ago. Enjoyable song with Croatian ethnic charm. Oh and yes, he also is dressed fully in black.

  • Song #03:  Kim Verson – Nisam to što žele

Great belts from Kim here wearing yet again black. Song is a strong belter and keeps the focal point on Kim’s voice. Works quite well and is a step in the right direction for Croatia. Quite repetitive with no real pay-off but really enjoyed Kim as an artist.

  • Song #02: Jelena Bosančić – Tell Me

Jelena is on-stage with five tuxedo-dressed backing singers as she belts her disco-retro song. This sounds quite dated and with little authenticity compared to the previous entry. Not bad vocals from Jelena but the songs lets her down in my opinion. Don’t see this entry as a contender for the Dora “fan” trophy.

  • Song #01: Bojan Jambrošić & Danijela Pintarić – Vrijeme predaje

Balkan duet to start the night. Both Bojan and Danijela are dressed in black, common theme also from our hosts and Franka. Slight harmonisation issues during the pre-choruses but fixed during choruses. Builds up exceptionally and keeps your attention.  They’re joined by six backing dancers wearing black outfits once more. Good start from Dora 2019 however I believe there is better entries to come.

20:22 CET: Time for tonight’s first entry sung by Bojan Jambrošić & Danijela Pintarić.

20:16 CET: We’re now joined by tonight’s three hosts which are Mirko Fodor, Jelena Glišić and Iva Šulentić. This is followed by a VT explaining tonight’s voting. 50% public vote to 50% regional juries consisting of three jurors for each of the regions within Croatia.

20:13 CET: Franka is now performing her new single on the stage. No more aerobatics for now. She’s accompanied by backing dancers wearing black t-shirts with the letter “F”. Perhaps for Franka?

20:10 CET: What a seamless transition from the drummers to Franka sitting in the audience performing “Crazy” before being transported to the arena ceiling to perform a remix of her 2018 Eurovision entry. This show has already exceeded my expectations.

20:05 CET: We open to five hooded drummers banging on oil rigs with neon drum-sticks. Already captivated by this broadcast.

20:00 CET: The show has begun! We open to the artists coming in through a red-carpet to an eerie yet retro fanfare soundtrack. I already feel 10% more Croatian and it’s not even been a minute since it began.

19:45 CET: Good evening! Fifteen minutes until the show begins. Here is tonight’s running order:

  1. Bojan Jambrošić & Danijela Pintarić – Vrijeme predaje
    (ENG: Time to surrender)
  2. Jelena Bosančić – Tell Me
  3. Kim Verson – Nisam to što žele
    (ENG: I’m not what they want)
  4. Jure Brkljača – Ne postojim kad nisi tu
    (ENG: I don’t exist when you’re not here)
  5. Beta Sudar – Don’t Give Up
  6. Lea Mijatović – Tebi pripadam
    (ENG: I belong to you)
  7. Gelato Sisters – Back to the Swing
  8. Luka Nižetić – Brutalero
  9. Elis Lovrić – All I Really Want
  10. Domenica – Indigo
  11. Roko Blažević – The Dream
  12. Ema Gagro – Redemption
  13. Lidija Bačić – Tek je počelo
    (ENG: It only started)
  14. Lorena Bućan – Tower of Babylon
  15. Bernarda Bruno – I Believe in True Love
  16. Manntra – In The Shadows