At this year’s 63rd Eurovision Song Contest, Croatia’s Franka Batelić finished in 17th place in the first semifinal. HRT, the Croatian national broadcaster, has reflected on their results.
After Franka’s participation in Lisbon, many Croatians have reportedly strongly criticised the politics of HRT at Eurovision, but at HRT they do not see themselves as controversial. They are, however, reluctant to reveal how much they paid for their Eurovision entrant this year, according to an interview with net.hr.
“We point out that it is a competition that is hard to appeal to the public’s taste and that apart from the results, it is important to participate,” said a representative from HRT. Asked how much the total cost of sending Franka to Eurovision, they only responded to “not comment on the details of the contract” and how “the costs were in accordance with the foreseen and approved funds”.
Earlier in February this year and prior to the competition, Tomislav Štengl, presented by the media as “editor of the Eurovision project at HRT”, defended choosing Franka for Eurovision, despite numerous criticisms. Štengl said in February:
We tried to find something that was interesting and best for us, most of the performers in Croatia. Some performers failed because they did not match the terms or were not ready for such a big event, and there wasn’t much time before such a big event. You should have the courage to go into one such project. Franka was ready for everything and had a team who had already prepared the song. We had no reason to say, ‘It’s a little suspicious.’ Franka was certainly an excellent choice.
Many were already skeptical of this choice since Franka had only just returned to singing. The question on the lips of many Croats was how it is possible that she, without having held large concerts and without much musical material, goes to Eurovision? In the end, many believe that Franka was not a good choice, due to her non-qualification.
Plans for the future
In public, HRT are not worried and not specifically responded as to whether they will change how they select a song and an act. Many Croatians wish for a return to a national system, like Dora which ran from 1993-2011.
We consider different options for the next selection of the Croatian representative for the Eurovision Song Contest, but the decision will be taken later.
It should also be noted that Croatia have not officially confirmed their participation in 2019, which will be a contentious year given the number of countries already calling for a boycott of Israel.
HRT say that it is “essential to participate” (without confirming participation) and they say that they will thoroughly analyse this year’s project and “make timely a decision on the preparations for the new edition of Eurovision Song Contest.”