Ivan Mikulic who represents Croatia with You are the only one celebrated his 36th birthday today by having his second rehearsal and press conference. The conference started with everyone singing Happy birthday to him, and then later on encouraged by the moderator the Turkish speaking members of the audience sung the equivalent in Turkish for him.
Also present in the audience was Vesna Pisarovic, who has composed this years Bosnia & Herzegovina entry, and who represented Croatia in the 2002 Eurovision Song Contest. She too joined in wishing Ivan a happy birthday, and good luck for the contest. When asked about whether former artists had given any advice, the Croatian delegation joked that maybe they could use the talents of Vesna over the next seven days.
Comparisons were drawn with last years entry, which was sung in approximately two thirds Croatian and one third English, which broadly reflected the percentage that the Croatian audience had voted for. This year the percentages were roughly half and half for English or Croatian, with English just ahead. Therefore it was suggested that surely this years' song should reflect that result, and not be entirely in English? The Head of delegation replied that although it was a small percentage win for English, that was the decision they would abide to. Last year they sung it in Croatian, but as they wanted as many people to understand the song as possible, they did just a bit of the song in English. The English lyrics this year had been changed a bit from the direct translation, however Ivan is satisfied with them. The song is currently number one in Croatia – this is based on airplay on the various 26 radio stations in the country, as opposed to sales of a single. There is though a promotional CD Rom of the song, which the assembled press were more than eager to acquire!
He has been singing professionally for nine years now, and has been performing since the age of six. He has competed several times before in the DORA (the Croatian national final for the Eurovision Song Contest), and also received critical acclaim for his role in Jesus Christ Superstar. Although at the start of the press conference he commented that he wanted to save his voice for the contest, he ended up by singing a piece from that musical.
The Croatian delegation were also content with the new system of a qualifying round and e final, which they felt to be the only fair solution, and that it gives the audience two shows. They obviously hope next year to proceed direct to the final, and even better would be to win the contest and be the hosts!
Croatia participates in the qualifying round on 12th May.