The Shortlist (3): Croatia

Who is the big favorite for Stockholm? In the next couple of weeks we will highlight some interesting participants, based on the odds they have been given by the bookmakers. This week we will first give you a shortlist of the four countries that lead the board in the first semi final. Today’s report is about Croatia.

Nina Kraljić
Nina Kraljić won the first edition of The Voice of Croatia in early 2015, with an overwhelming one million votes in the final. She had previously tried to break into the Croatian music scene through the show Croatia Got Talent, but only reached until the tenth place here. Her first single after The Voice was in Croatian language: “Zaljuljali smo svijet”, an indie-like ballad with folk instruments. It became a hit in Croatia and Nina was highly praised for her voice in live performances during the process.

Record label Universal Music approached broadcaster HRT in 2016 when it became clear that Croatia was set to return to Eurovision. They felt that Nina Kraljić would currently be the ideal candidate to represent her country in Europe, and HRT soon came to feel the same way.

Much like her previous hit in Croatia, “Lighthouse” is a traditionally instrumented song with lots of celtic influences. The song is filled with difficult and high notes which should enable Nina Kraljić to convince the jury members at Eurovision of her vocal capacities. Written by two Austrians and produced by a German, “Lighthouse” is a metaphorical song about someone lost at sea, her mind filled with stormy thoughts and no easy way out available – until, thankfully, the lighthouse will guide her through. In that sense, the meaning of the song strongly resembles that of Ireland in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2015.

Explaining the odds
To many people’s surprise, Croatia has taken a strong position in the early odds, placing no lower than third in the battle for victory at roughly 7-1. This means that for every 1€ you invest in a victory for Croatia, you still get 7 in return. There is still a gap to close between Croatia and frontrunners Sweden and Russia.

However, seeing where Croatia comes from – their last qualification for the Grand Final was in 2009 – perhaps the qualification odds will be broadcaster HRT’s first concern. According to current odds at Betfair at the time of this article, Croatia has nothing to worry about there, giving roughly 0,10€ profit on every 1€ invested.