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  • Writer's pictureFleur Menezes

Croatia’s Eurovision entries that have finished in the Top 10

Today is Statehood Day in Croatia. The public holiday was introduced to celebrate the constitution of the first modern multi-party Croatian Parliament in 1990. To mark this day we take a look at all the Croatian Eurovision entries that finished in the top 10 in Eurovision Grand Finals.

Croatia first debuted at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1993 and have participated 28 times. In their first seven years, the nation achieved six top 10 finishes with their best result being 4th. They did this twice. Croatia, along with Sweden were never relegated in the 1990s-early 2000s. They have failed to qualify for the final in 2007, 2010 to 2013 and 2018 to 2022.

Croatia's Eurovision 2023 participation with Let 3 achieved the country's best result since Jacques Houdek in 2017 which also finished in 13th place.

Now, let us look back at Croatia’s best results at the Eurovision Song Contest, their six Top 10 entries.

Vanna - 'Strings of My Heart' (2001) 10th place, 42 points

Ivana Ranilović won Dora on her second attempt to represent Croatia. She finished in second place in the previous year. Just before competing in Copenhagen, Vanna gave birth to her daughter. Vanna has been performing since 1990 but started her professional career in 1992 when she joined the electro dance group Electro Team where she was one of the primary songwriters. The group became very popular in the former Yugoslav nations. Vanna has released four albums since competing at Eurovision, she primarily performs music within the pop, dance and RnB genres. Vanna lives with her family in Zagreb.

Goran Karan - 'Kad zaspu anđeli' (2000) 9th place, 70 points

Croatian tenor Goran Karan defeated 2001 winner Vanna at Dora by just 8 points to compete at Stockholm in 2000. Karan is known for performing Dalmatian Folk music and frequently worked with famed songwriter Zdenko Runjić. He was the lead singer for the band Big Blue from 1995-97 which were popular in Austria, Germany, Italy, France as well as his native Croatia. Karan also toured Australia and New Zealand in 2003. Afterwards he was a judge on Croatia's version of 'Idol'. Goran Karan has won numerous awards and released many albums.

Magazin and Lidija - 'Nostalgija' (1995)

6th place, 91 points

Spilt band Magazin formed in 1979 and are also known for Dalmatian Folk music. The band have had many line up changes in their 44 year history. Currently their lead singer is Andrea Šušnjara who competed at Eurovision in 2004 with ‘Lijepa Tena’ (Beautiful Tena) which she performed with Igor Cukrov. The song was written by former Magazin member Tonči Huljić. The only original band member is guitarist Željko Baričić.

Lidija Horvat-Dunjko is a Croatian soprano who trained with the Zagreb Academy of Music. Horvat-Dunjko has been awarded the highest Croatian national decoration for her achievement in culture, which is the Order of Danica Hrvatska. Some of her operatic roles include The Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute, Gilda in Rigoletto and Rosina in The Barber of Seville. She has performed around the world including Johannesburg, Toronto and Montevideo. She still performs today and opened the Opera School of Mirula in 2003 on the Croatian island of Brač.

Danijela - 'Neka mi ne svane' (1998)

5th place, 131 points

Another Split native, Danijela Martinović also fronted Magazin. Her tenure went from 1991 to 1996 but she continued to work with Tonči Huljić during her career. Additionally, he wrote Vanna’s 2001 Eurovision entry. Martinović went on to compete in her country’s version of 'Dancing With The Stars', where she was eliminated in the fifth episode. She has continued to release music although her last album was released in 2011, her latest single ‘Čovjek bez adrese’ was released in 2019. Her 2012 single ‘Brodolom’ (Shipwreck) was a huge hit amassing three million views on YouTube in less than one month.

Maja Blagdan - 'Sveta ljubav' (1996) 4th place, 98 points

Maja Blagdan was the runaway winner at Dora in 1996 defeating the second placed entry by 58 points. Blagdan was the vocalist in rock band Stijene, which was later fronted by Danijela Martinović’s sister, Izabela. Blagdan also hails from Split, she released her first solo album in 1993 and her latest album ‘Za Nas, 30 Godina’ was released in March 2023. She has won numerous awards and has performed at many festivals.

Doris Dragović - 'Marija Magdalena' (1999) 4th place, 118 points

Doris Dragović is probably the biggest name when it comes to Croatia atEurovision. She is a two-time contestant as she previously competed for Yugoslavia in 1986 with the song ‘Željo moja’ which finished in 11th place.

Dragović has been performing since she was a child and has fronted quite a few Split-based bands, most notably the group More which she joined in the early 1980s. She has performed as a solo artist since 1986. Dragović is one of Croatia’s most famous pop singers as well as being popular in many of the former Yugoslav countries. 'Marija Magdalena’ also did well in the Greek music charts.

At the Eurovision Song Contest in 1999, the Norwegian delegation objected to Dragović’s performance as they claimed that there was use of simulated male vocals on a backing track. The EBU investigated the incident and found that the Croatian delegation was guilty. They were sanctioned by the EBU with the loss of 33% of their points for the purpose of calculating their average points total for qualification in following contests although Croatia’s position and points at the 1999 Contest have remained unaffected.

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