You are currently viewing 🇭🇷 Sneak Peek: Dora 2024 Semi Final 1

This week will see Dora return to our screens, with a fresh crop of artists hoping to represent Croatia at the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest.

Last year saw Let 3 win Dora, allowing Croatia to qualify for the Grand Final for the first time since 2017, eventually placing 13th. Therefore, Croatian broadcaster HRT will be hoping this year’s Dora winner can continue their upwards trajectory.

For the first time since 2011, Dora will be held in Zagreb instead of Opatija. It will be hosted by actor and radio host Duško Čurlić, alongside Maja Ciglenečki and Anja Cerar. It will consist of two finals with a 50/50 split between televote and jury (the jury will consist of a mix of regional and international jurors).

The first semi-final is being held on Thursday 22nd February and will see France‘s 2024 representative Slimane perform as the interval act. 12 acts will compete with 8 making it to the final on Sunday 25th February. Read on to learn about all the acts taking part!

Noelle – Baby, Baby

Ivana Crnkovic, best known as Noelle, was born in Osijek and grew up around music, with her musician father exposing her to a range of genres. However, Noelle is particularly inspired by 90s RnB when making her own music. She was initially a member of the hip-hop and RnB group AliBi. However, when they broke up, she decided to focus her attention on dance, opening her own dance studio called Illusion. She couldn’t stay away from music for long and in 2021 released her debut single ‘Halo’ which debuted at number 3 in the HR Top 40 and peaked at number 1. Her 2023 single ‘Bye Bye’ also spent five weeks at the top of the HR Top 40.

Noelle’s Dora entry ‘Baby Baby’ contains a dance beat and also the RnB elements much of her other music is known for. This could kick the contest off with a bang but will it stand out enough to reach the final? You can listen to it below:

Mario Battifiaca feat. Robert Ferlin – Vodu piti trizan biti

Mario Battifiaca is a singer and television presenter. He first began making music as a duet with Vesna Valenčić under the name Battafiaca. In 1997, they entered Dora with the song ‘Još vavek’ (‘Still Forever’) which was the first song in the Chavakian dialect to be featured in the contest. In 2000, Mario went solo and in 2009 he returned to Dora again with the song ‘Ma gdje bila’ (‘No Matter Where She Was’) which placed third in the final.

Robert Ferlin is a well-known television presenter in Croatia, having hosted ‘Dobro jutro, Hrvatska’ (‘Good Morning, Croatia’) and even Dora itself, among many other shows. He and Mario have hosted together at various festivals and events and will take to the stage at Dora, this time as performers, with their song ‘Vodu piti trizan biti’ (‘Drink Water to be Sober’). You can listen to it below:

Stefany Žužić – Sretnih dana dat’ će Bog

Stefany Žužić was born in Krk and has been involved in music since she was young. In 2016, she participated in the Croatian edition of The Voice where she was mentored by founder and lead vocalist of the band Vatra, Ivan Dečak. She placed fourth overall. She went on to release a number of singles before trying her luck in the TV show Superstar, which is part of the Idol franchise, in 2023. In her audition, Stefany wowed the judges with her rendition of ‘Talking to the Moon’ by Bruno Mars, making it through to the next round of auditions but unfortunately not to the live shows.

A first-time Dora participant, Stefany will be hoping for success with her song ‘Sretnih dana dat’ će Bog’ (‘Happy Days Will Be Given By God’) which is a piano ballad with an uplifting chorus. You can listen to it below:

Misha – One Day

One act creating a lot of mystery is Misha. Although their Dora entry is credited as being written by Nemanja Filipović, there aren’t really any other clues as to the identify of Misha, who wears a mask and in an interview with Eurovision Stars referred to “we” thoughout, implying Misha may be a collective rather than a single person. Speaking to Eurovision Stars about the decision to wear a mask, Misha said:

The mask has many different levels and reasons to be there. It makes you think about your reaction to it. Some people love it, some hate it. We are interested in those who hate it because we like to provoke questions about inclusivity and tolerance. Why do you hate it? Do you feel threatened by it? What exactly bothers you and why do you care? It’s just a mask. Do you make the same discriminations in your everyday life? These are all questions people need to think about and we hope to contribute to this conversation. We think different is good. We thing weird is great! Stay weird as long as you can!

Misha on wearing a mask, Eurovision Stars

Misha will be performing their song ‘One Day’ which has only generated further mystery, with its music video consisting of animations that again give no clue to the identity of those involved. However, they have indicated they would like to replicate “the Misha aesthetic” onstage and incorporate live backing vocals in their performance. We still don’t know what to expect from Misha but you can watch the video for ‘One Day’ below:

Erna – How Do You Love Me?

Erna Imamović is a musician who first started making music in 2012 with her debut single ‘Moj Svijet’ (‘My World’) being released in 2013. She now divides her time between Mainz in Germany, where she studied political science at university, and Zagreb. She developed her craft of singing as well as playing guitar and piano while studying in Mainz and now also makes her living through music.

Erna is participating in Dora with the song ‘How Do You Love Me?’ which, according to the singer, is:

a reflection of my own insecurities in relationships. In the sense, when due to previous bad experiences you don’t trust the way that someone loves you and you are not sure of that affection towards you, so you are constantly looking for reasons and confirmations of that love. I think that we have all been in a situation at least once, when because of some wounds from the past we did not dare to give in to love, but we constantly questioned that love, instead of relaxing and giving in to it.

Erna on ‘How Do You Love Me?’,

Can this Dora debutante make a lasting impression and get through to the final? You can listen to her song below:

eugen – tišine

eugen is the stage name of actor and singer Eugen Stjepan Višić who has appeared in such Croatian TV series as ‘Ko te sisa’ and ‘Metropolitanci’. His Dora entry ‘tišine’ (‘Silence’) is his first musical attempt and was written, as he said in an interview with ESC Bubble, “out of an inner need to express myself after a stressful event”. His friend Anja Grabovac wrote the music after reading his lyrics and the song has peaked at number 3 in the HR Top 40. Not bad for a first attempt!

Setting his sights on representing Croatia at Eurovision, eugen has enlisted the help of performance director Jasmin Cvišić, who supported Serbia 2022 and 2023 representatives Konstrakta and Luke Black with their performances at Eurovision. Promising a “dim and emotional performance” to ESC Bubble, could eugen be in with a chance? You can listen to ‘tišine’ below:

Vinko – Lying Eyes

29-year-old Vinko Ćemeraš will probably be recognisable to Croatian audiences as the man who won the third season of The Voice in February 2020. Following his victory, Vinko released music with the alternative rock band Talvi Tuuli (who now just perform under the name Vinko) with their debut album ‘Na Putu’ (‘On The Way’) coming out in October 2020.

Vinko will be making his Dora debut as a solo act. His song ‘Lying Eyes’ is entirely in English and Vinko will be using this in the hopes of propelling himself towards a more international audience. You can listen to the song below:

Barbara Munjas – Nepobjediva

35-year-old Barbara Munjas was born in Ika and is well-known in Croatia as the former vocalist of the folk band Gustafi and of the rock band Barbari. She first participated in Dora in 2007 with the song ‘Ti si tu’ (‘You Yes You’), although failed to reach the final that year. After embarking on a solo career in 2018, Barbara released her debut album ‘Right Place & Right Time’ in 2022. In 2023, Barbara participated in Dora again with the song ‘Putem snova’ (‘Through Dreams’), this time placing eighth overall.

Now Barbara will be hoping the third time’s a charm with the song ‘Nepobjediva’ (‘Invincible’) which was written alongside the composer Zoran Majstorović and is about the superhuman feelings being with the right person can give you. You can listen to the song below:

Let 3 – Babaroga

Performing ninth and an act that need no introduction are 2023 Eurovision representatives Let 3. Having formed in 1987 in the epicentre for Croatian punk music Rijeka, the band are no stranger to a stunt: be it sticking corks up their anuses, producing blank CDs for albums and even claiming they would perform their winner’s reprise naked if they won Eurovision, Let 3 are all about the shock value. However, behind the shock tactics is often a deeper message, with the band supporting the rights of women, ethnic minorities and the LGBTQ+ community and also openly criticising political figures, such as in their Eurovision 2023 entry ‘Mama ŠČ!’

Let 3 are back again, this time with the song ‘Babaroga’ whose title and lyrics derive from a mythical hag who kidnaps children. However, given that in January the band publicly denounced the song as theirs, claiming it was a product of AI, it’s almost certain that the song will be part of a wider satirical message. Will it come alive with the staging? We don’t know yet but you can listen to ‘Babaroga’ below:

Lana Mandarić – More

Lana Mandarić is an emerging artist but got her first experience on TV talent shows from an early age, having appeared in Zvjezdice (Stars) when she was just 14. Speaking of the experience, Lana said:

It was my first experience performing on television and I remember it with great nostalgia and love. Of course, at that time I was immature for such a big show, but after that I realized that music is my passion and that I feel the stage as my natural environment, where I can show myself and my talent in the best way.

Lana on ‘Zvjezdice‘,

In 2023, Lana then appeared in Superstar, impressing the judges with her rendition of ‘Shallow’ from ‘A Star is Born’. Her Dora entry ‘More’ (‘Nightmares’) is her debut single and is sung in Croatian. Could it put this young singer on the map? You can listen to it below:

Pavel – Do Mjeseca

Pavel are a Croatian pop rock band who formed in 2006 and consist of eight members: Aljoša Šerić (vocals and guitar), Antonia Matković (vocals), Jurica Hotko (piano), Stipe Mađor (trumpet), Dean Melki (violin) and their latest members Toni Tkalec (guitar), Filip Hrelja (drums) and Josip Radić (bass) who joined the band between 2020-21. Their 2020 single ‘Ne daj na nas’ (‘Don’t Give It To Us’) reached number 3 in the HR Top 40 and they have released five studio albums to date.

The band will be competing in Dora for the first time with the song ‘Do Mjeseca’ (‘To the Moon’) which features uplifting lyrics to accompany its piano beat. Will it do well? You can listen to Pavel’s song below:

Saša Lozar – Ne plačem zbog nje

Last but not least is 44-year-old Saša Lozar, who was born in Laduč. He first rose to prominence in 2003 when he placed runner-up in Story Supernova Music Talents, Croatia’s then equivalent to Idol. In 2004, he became part of the boy band Saša, Tin i Kedžo whose debut album ‘Instant’ sold 10,000 copies in its chart run, with their debut single ‘365’ topping Croatian music charts for six weeks. In 2005, the band disbanded and Saša released his solo debut ‘1 dan’ shortly after. In 2015, he participated in the Croatian version of Your Face Sounds Familiar and he won the series.

Saša participated in Dora with Saša, Tin i Kedžo in 2005, where the group placed tenth in the final with their song ‘Zašto’ (‘Why’). However, Saša will be hoping to stand out as a soloist with his song ‘Ne plačem zbog nje’ (‘I Don’t Cry For Her’). Will he be successful? You can listen to his song below:

So now we’ve met the 12 artists taking part in Semi Final 1 of Dora, which 8 artists will qualify for the final and who will be heading home? Who are you hoping will make it through? You can watch the semi on the HRT website or their YouTube channel from 20:15 CET.

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