You are currently viewing 🇭🇷 Sneak Peek: Dora 2024 Semi Final 2

Friday 23rd February will see 12 more artists compete in the second semi-final of Dora, hoping to represent Croatia at the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest. Viewers will also be treated to a performance from Slovenian representative Raiven.

On Thursday, 8 artists progressed from the first semi-final to the final, which will take place on Sunday 25th February. They are:

  • Pavel – Do Mjeseca
  • Vinko – Lying Eyes
  • eugen – tišine
  • Mario Battifiaca feat. Robert Ferlin – Vodu piti trizan biti
  • Stefany Žužić – Sretnih dana dat’ će Bog
  • Saša Lozar – Ne plačem zbog nje
  • Let 3 – Baba roga

Let’s meet the 12 artists hoping to join them and learn more about their songs and their careers so far!

Lu Dedić – Plavi leptir

Lu Dedić is still young but she comes from an incredible legacy in Croatian music. Her grandfather, Arsenije “Arsen” Dedić, is a household name and was one of the most famous chanson singers and poets in former Yugoslavia. Her grandmother Gabrijela “Gabi” Novak was a famous pop and jazz singer in the 60s and together they had a son, Matija Dedić, who is a prominent jazz pianist and Lu’s father. Therefore, despite being a shy person, it is perhaps no surprise that Lu followed in her family’s footsteps. She released her debut single ‘Prava Stvar’ (‘The Real Thing’) in July 2023 and followed this with ‘Mijenjam Se’ (‘I’m Changing’) in November.

This emerging talent will make her Dora debut with her third single ‘Plavi Leptir’ (‘Blue Butterfly’). Speaking of being invited to participate in Dora, Lu said:

The song is genius and as far as I understand, I think that a lot of people experienced it in that way, which I am very happy about. But Dora simply seemed to me to be something unfathomable. When I found out that I passed, I said: “Wow, what now?”. Considering that I didn’t follow Dora or Eurovision, I didn’t know how it works. But somehow I processed everything and Miro Lesić [the songwriter] and I slowly started talking about what was waiting for me.

Lu Dedić on being selected for Dora,

You can listen to ‘Plavi Leptir’ below:

James Night – Nebo plače

Leonardo Šajin, otherwise known as James Night, is a 25-year-old singer-songwriter from Vinkovci. He learned to play the piano by ear when he was just six and first became known through TikTok for his covers, where he would perform English songs (such as ‘Flowers’ by Miley Cyrus) in Croatian and vice versa. He released his debut album ‘Weatherman’ in 2023.

While James has applied for Dora a few times before, ‘Nebo plače’ (‘The Sky is Crying’) will be his debut in the contest and was written by the artist himself. Can James go from TikTok fame to international recognition on the Eurovision stage? You can listen to ‘Nebo plače’ below:

Lara Demarin – Ne vjerujem ti

Lara Demarin was born in Pula but now resides in Zagreb. Her mother is a musician, which inspired her along with the music she grew up listening to in the 2000s, such as Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys and Whitney Houston. It is this sound that Lara aspires to in her own music. In 2016, she took part in the Croatian edition of The Voice and following her time on the show became a backing vocalist for The Funkensteins which gave her valuable experience of the music industry and performing live.

‘Ne vjerujem ti’ (‘I Don’t Believe You’) is Lara’s Dora debut and heavily features the 2000s R&B sound the singer is inspired by. In an interview with ESC United, Lara explained that she had carefully considered the whole package, saying:

Dora is one of the few stages in Croatia where you need to have the whole package: song, stage presence, choreography etc. I did consider competing previously, but I needed to be sure the song had what I wanted. While I was writing the song, I had the exact idea of what it should look like on stage. Bits of R&B, hip-hop and 2000s wrapped together in a modern production. It took me a while to decide to pursue a solo career, so logically I was postponing submitting an entry to Dora as well. I waited for the right moment for everything. We are offering a specific sound that’s not typically Eurovision-like. We wanted to stand out in that way and bring something different to ESC.

Lara Demarin, ESC United

You can listen to ‘Ne vjerujem ti’ below:

Alen Đuras – A Tamburitza Lullaby

Alen Đuras might be making his Dora debut but it won’t be his first time on a Eurovision stage. In 2016, Alen auditioned for The Voice where he was mentored by Jacques Houdek. He placed third overall but was invited by Jacques to be a backing singer for his Eurovision 2017 performance of ‘My Friend’. Speaking of the experience to ESC United, Alen said:

I had the opportunity to see how Eurovision works and what level is expected of performers, which I consider valuable knowledge. Being a part of the Eurovision Song Contest with Jacques left a lasting impression on me. The magnitude of the event and the level of talent showcased by performers from all over the world were truly awe-inspiring. It motivated me to strive for excellence in my own music career and it motivated me to apply to Dora 2024 and give my best performance.

Alen Đuras, ESC United

Alen will be hoping to return to a Eurovision stage but this time with his song ‘A Tamburitza Lullaby’. The tamburica is a long-necked lute and is the national instrument of Croatia. Could the traditional elements to his song help Alen stand out from the crowd? You can listen to ‘A Tamburitza Lullaby’ below:

The Splitters – Od kad te sanjam

The Splitters are a Croatian rock band consisting of Josip Senta (vocals and bass), Marko Komić (lead guitar), Petar Senta (rhythm guitar) and Antonio Komić (drums). They formed in Split in 2017 and released their English language debut album ‘Love Sucks’ through Soundcloud in 2018. In 2020, they released their second album ‘Izvedi me van’ (‘Take Me Out’). Eurofans may recognise the band from their appearance in Dora 2023, where the band placed fourth with the song ‘Lost and Found’.

Now they are back and this time they’re singing in Croatian with the song ‘Od kad te sanjam’ (‘Since I’ve Been Dreaming of You’) which is a classic love song with the trademark rock sound of The Splitters. They did well last year; could they be successful again? You can listen to their song below:

Boris Štok – Can We Talk?

Boris Štok was born in Rijeka and is perhaps best known in Croatia as being the co-founder and member of the rock band Quasarr. The band formed in 2000 and released three studio albums in their fifteen year span. In 2017, Boris embarked on a solo career. He has released three albums as a solo artist with his 2018 debut album ‘Ispod kože’ (‘Under the Skin’) earning him a Porin award (Croatia’s answer to the Grammy’s) in the ‘Best Alternative Album’ category. Boris entered Dora last year, placing 14th in the final with his song ‘Grijeh’ (‘Sin’).

Hoping to be more successful this year, Boris is back and this time he’s singing in English with the song ‘Can We Talk?’ Will we see him in the final? You can listen to his song below:

Baby Lasagna – Rim tim tagi dim

Marko Purišić, best known as Baby Lasagna, is a 28-year-old singer, songwriter and producer from Umag. He served as the guitarist for the rock band Manntra from 2011-2016 and 2018-2022, accompanying them when they competed in Dora 2019 with their song ‘In the Shadows’, which placed fourth overall. He embarked on a solo career in 2023, releasing the singles ‘IG Boy’ and ‘Don’t Hate Yourself, But Don’t Love Yourself Too Much’. Baby Lasanga describes his music as a mix of pop punk, techno, metal and house, citing German industrial metal band Rammstein as his greatest musical influence.

Baby Lasagna has certainly gone on quite the journey in Dora. Although he wasn’t initially picked to be among the 24 competing artists, he was called in as a reserve when Zsa Zsa withdrew for undisclosed reasons. Since then, his entry ‘Rim tim tagi dim’ has entered the HR Top 40, peaking at number 4 and marking the first time one of his songs has charted. It is now the bookies’ favourite to win Dora! Despite its catchy, metal sound, ‘Rim tim tagi dim’ has a deeper meaning, with Baby Lasagna telling ESC United:

Youth leaving Balkan countries is a long-standing problem and I don’t want to get into the politics of it, but I felt the need to discuss it from the emotional side, and I did it this way. In this case, the title is the name of the folklore dance that comes from the village where the song’s hero is from.

Baby Lasagna on ‘Rim tim tagi dim’, ESC United

Could this underdog go all the way? You can listen to his song below:

ET – Pametnom dosta

ET, also known as Electro Team, are a hip-hop/eurodance band consisting of Adonis Ćulibrk and Meri Andraković. The band formed in 1987, founded by Adonis. They saw the most success in the 90s with the singer Vanna and their 1993 single ‘Tek je 12 sati’ (‘It’s Only 12 O’Clock’) was hailed by Croatian music critics as the hit of that decade. ET released seven studio albums between 1992-2010 before taking a break in 2016. However, in 2023 the band reformed with Meri on vocals.

The duo will be making their Dora debut with the song ‘Pametnom dosta’ (‘Smart Enough’) which contains the eurodance sounds fans of ET will know and love. Can it make it through? You can listen to ‘Pametnom dosta’ below:

Vatra – Slatke suze, gorka ljubav

Vatra are a Croatian rock band consisting of Ivan Dečak, Irena Celio, Robert Kelemen, Tomislav Franjo Šušak and Tario Robert Kasumović. They have been making music since 1999, releasing ten studio albums together. Their 2014 single ‘Tango’ and 2021 release ‘Vidi kako se smiješ’ (‘Look How You Smile’) both peaked at number 1 in the HR Top 40, and they have had a number of other singles in the top 10.

The band will be making their Dora debut with the song ‘Slatke suze, gorka ljubav’ (‘Sweet Tears, Bitter Love’) which is about the feelings of heartache and betrayal experienced when a loved one leaves you. You can listen to the song below:

Damir Kedžo – Voljena ženo

Damir Kedžo is a 36-year-old pop singer who first became known when he participated in the Croatian TV talent show Story Supernova Music Talents at just 16, making it to the top 7. Following this, Damir formed the boy band Saša, Tin i Kedžo along with Saša Lozar who will compete in the Dora 2024 final. The group participated in Dora 2005, finishing 10th overall. After embarking on a solo career, Damir became more well-known to Croatian audiences when he won the third season of Your Face Sounds Familiar in 2016. In 2020, Damir won Dora and the chance to represent Croatia at Eurovision with the song ‘Divlji vjetre‘ (‘Wild Wind’). However, the contest was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He entered Dora again in 2023, placing fifth with the song ‘Angels and Demons’.

Now Damir is back for the third time as a solo artist with the song ‘Voljena ženo’ (‘Beloved Woman’). As one of the most recognisable artists on the Croatian music scene, can Damir finally get the chance to perform on the Eurovision stage? You can listen to his song below:

Natalie Balmix – Dijamanti

Natalie Balmix is a singer who became known in Croatia and other former Yugoslav countries through her participation in the Serbian music contest IDJ Show in 2022. She was mentored by composer Darko Dimitrov who also wrote her debut single ‘Lomi me’ (‘It Breaks Me’).

Darko has collaborated with Natalie once again for her Dora 2024 entry ‘Dijamanti’ (‘Diamonds’). Speaking of the process with ESC Bubble, Natalie said:

‘Dijamanti’ was specifically crafted as a song for Eurovision. The idea took shape back in 2022 during my performance at the IDJ Show […] In Darko’s eyes, I became his “diamond,” a symbol of something precious and unique. This sentiment laid the foundation for the creation of ‘Dijamanti.’ The song, like a gem, reflects not only our collaborative effort but also the depth of our artistic connection. It’s a testament to the journey we’ve shared, evolving from acquaintances in a music competition to creative partners with a shared vision for success.

Natalie Balmix on ‘Diamante’, ESC Bubble

Can this emerging artist shine on stage? You can listen to ‘Dijamanti’ below:

Marcela – Gasoline

Marcela is a singer who made her musical breakthrough in 2011 when she was a runner-up on the Croatian version of Idol. She then joined the girl band Luminize, who took part in The Voice of Holland. The band broke up in 2019 to pursue other projects and Marcela embarked on a solo career. She has released a number of singles and also a covers album, which includes a version of ‘I Wanna Be Your Slave’ by Eurovision 2021 winners Måneskin.

‘Gasoline’ marks Marcela’s first time competing in Dora but as a huge Eurovision fan, the singer has been wanting to compete for some time. In an interview with ESC Bubble, the singer explained she wanted to apply when she knew she had the right song and that as soon as she heard the chorus of ‘Gasoline’ she said “This is the one!” Will she be successful? You can listen to her song below:

So now we’ve met the 12 artists taking part in Semi Final 2 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.

You can keep up to date with Phoenix on TwitterInstagramYouTube and TikTok for all the latest Eurovision 2024 news.

Our podcast, Instead We Made A Pod, is available to stream on all platforms.

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