The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the most magical, fun and entertaining events of the year, musical or otherwise…and we’re definitely not the only ones that think so! (In case you can’t tell by the content of this page – we’re MASSIVE Eurovision fans!) But what has been the performance of Croatia at the Eurovision Song Contest over the years? We’ll gladly take a look here to see how the country has performed.
Croatia at Eurovision – First performed in 1993
Croatia’s first entry in Eurovision came in 1993. Back in those heady days of the early 1990s when the contest suddenly expanded with the new existence of all sorts of new countries, Eurovision required a qualification contest. Named “Kvalifikacija za Millstreet” (“Qualification for Millstreet” – the tiny Irish town that was hosting the event), this qualifying contest was held in Ljubljana, Slovenia in April 1993. Seven countries competed – Slovenia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Croatia (the top three in the qualifying contest who then through to compete at Eurovision) and Slovakia, Estonia, Hungary and Romania.
Croatia’s entry was Don’t Ever Cry by the band Put, sung in Croatian and English. The entry finished in 15th place out of 25 countries.
Croatia at Eurovision – Best ever placing
Croatia has, sadly, never won Eurovision – although it was hosted a contest! (As Yugoslavia – see below.) The country’s best ever placing has been 4th and it has achieved that twice; in 1996 with the song Sveta ljubav by Maja Blagdan and in 1999 with the song Marija Magdalena by Doris Dragovic.
Here is Doris’s excellent performance at the the 1999 Eurovision Song Contest:
Croatia at Eurovision – Famous acts and famous performances
The country has been represented by some of its most famous singers over the years. As well as Maja and Doris, the two ladies who have achieved Croatia’s joint best ever result, very famous acts such as Tony Cetinski (1993), Magazin (1994), Goran Karan (2000), Vanna (2001), Boris Novkovic (2005), Severina (2006), and Nina Badric (2012) have all taken to the Eurovision stage.
There have of course been some very memorable Croatian performances at the Eurovision Song Contest over the years. I mean, let’s face it – there have been some very memorable performances all round, so some are bound to have come from Croatia!
Who can forget Jacques Houdek performing a duet…with himself!…at the 2017 contest:
Or what about Nina Kraljic and her spectacular outfit at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest?
And some of you may remember the slightly bonkers entry in 2008 – Kraljevi Ulice and 75 Cents. 75 Cents was the stage name of the older gentleman (real name: Ladislav Demeterffy) who comes on to “rap”; his stage name referred to his age at the time – 75. He was in fact the oldest ever Eurovision performer at that time!
But if we’re talking bonkers, nothing can beat 2023’s entry for the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool – Rijeka band Let 3 with Mama ŠČ. It really has to be seen to be believed! The rest of Europe seems to think so – their performance from the first semi-final was the most watched performance of any country on YouTube. In the end Let 3 finished in 13th place overall, (having been placed a very lowly 25th by the juries but saved by the televoting public who positioned them 7th). This is Croatia’s best result since 2017 when Jaques Houdek (above) also finished 13th.
Croatia at Eurovision – As Yugoslavia
Croatia was obviously part of Yugoslavia prior to 1991, and that country started competing in Eurovision as far back as 1961! (Ahead of countries such as former Eurovision powerhouse Ireland, who first competed in 1965, and Greece and Iceland.)
Yugoslavia was the only Eastern European entrant in Eurovision until the break-up of countries such as Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia in the 1990s. Having said that, Croatia, Bosnia & Hercegovina and Slovenia were subsequently the “second” Eastern European entrants to the contest, all first competing in 1993.
We’re sure that viewers of Eurovisions in the past enjoyed watching the “unusual” Eastern European entrant – a communist one at that – that was Yugoslavia!
The Yugoslavian entry was chosen each year with Jugovizija, a televised sort of mini-Eurovision contest with the different Yugoslavian republics and provinces competing to send a song to Eurovision. (The hosting of Jugovizja also rotated around the different republics.) Croatia was the most successful Yugoslav republic in Jugovizija, winning 13 times.
Yugoslavia wins Eurovision
Yugoslavia in fact won Eurovision once – in 1989, when Croatian band Riva won with their song Rock Me. That meant that the 1990 Eurovision Song Contest was held in Zagreb. Who remembers the mascot that year, Eurocat?!