COUNTDOWN TO (CANCELLED) EUROVISION: #28 – CROATIA

#28 Croatia
“Divlji vjetre”
Damir Kedzo
Songwriters: Ante Pecotić

eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica has begun its Countdown To the now-cancelled Eurovision Song Contest 2020! Over 41 days I’m bringing you all the info on each song this year ranked in order of my personal preference from bottom to top. I’ll give the reasons for my personal rankings, and some background info on the song, artist, songwriters, and such.  Again, these are MY opinions, and I realize that the ESC fan community is a rabid one, and rarely everyone agrees with everyone else, so as they say, your mileage may vary. As of the official announcement on March 20 2020, ALL of this year’s songs are now officially “lost”; Eurovision’s executive committee has stated that all songs in the ESC 2021 contest MUST be new, so there will never be an “Official” winner of ESC 2020 thanks to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak causing the contest’s first-ever cancellation. So this is my only chance to rank them. The songs will all be spotlighted on a special called Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light, which will air LIVE on May 16, when the Grand Final should have been held, so that’s at least SOMETHING…

In at #28 this year is the official entry from Croatia, “Divlji vjetre” by Damir Kedzo. It is performed in Croatian. It was scheduled to be performed 11th at the first semifinal on May 12. Kedzo won the countries’ annual Eurovision national final, Dora 2020, on February 29. The song has already become his fourth #1 pop hit on the Croatian music charts. The song, English title “Wild Wind“, speaks of making sure that no matter what storms life may bring, the singer will protect his loved one to the end. Croatia has not yet indicated whether Kedzo will be retained to represent the nation at ESC 2021.

Kedzo has had quite a storied career. He first gained attention in 2003 on the Croatian television network Nova TV’s only season of the talent show Story Supernova Music Talents, then went on to form Croatia’s first ever boy band, Saša, Tin i Kedžo, with fellow members Sasa Lozar and Tin Samardžić; their first single “365” was a monster hit, spending 6 weeks at number one. After their breakup a year later, Kedzo took a year off before launching his mega successful solo career, which included acting in musicals as well as his recordings.

What I’m thinking about this song…this is one of those lush ballads that have been so popular in Eurovision over the years. But as where they used to almost always win in the earlier history of the contest, the 21st century Eurovision fans and judges have favored mostly uptempo numbers. In the past decade, only four of these lush ballads have managed a win – 2011’s “Running Scared” by Ell and Nikki, Azerbaijan; 2014’s “Rise Like A Phoenix” by Conchita Wurst, Austria (another of the all-time Eurovision greats); 2017’s “Amar Pelos Dois” by Salvador Sobral, Portugal; and 2019’s “Arcade” by Duncan Laurence, The Netherlands. And to be honest, the latter two winners on that list did very little for me personally. This song, however, is beautiful in its sentiment, and Kedzo’s performance is flawless. However, that having been said, it is also kinda dull. Each of the above songs has something special about it that made it a hit – and this song doesn’t really have anything that makes it unique, and that’s why it’s not going anywhere but the middle of the pack, at least IMHO.

Croatia has participated in EuroVision off and on since making their debut in 1993, a total of 26 times including 2020, and has yet to land a win in the contest; they have finished as high as fourth, which has happened twice, in 1996 and 1999. Their highly underrated 2019 entry, “The Dream” by Roko, was cut in the semi-finals. This year’s entry has mostly fallen flat with the rabid ESC Fandom, often in the bottom third of their picks for the contest.

Here’s the official music video  – check it out…

Join eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica throughout the next 41 days as I bring you the 2020 entries, and also updates on the status of the songs and artists for this year. Hopefully the EBU will find a way to salvage this year’s contest – and if you want them to do so, use the hashtag #SaveEurovision2020 in all your social media posts!

Beginning later this week, I will have a status list up over at The Kirkham Report site, with listings of what artists have had their fate decided for next year’s contest –  I am diligently trying to find the full status of each act so we can keep track of it.

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