I come from a neighbouring country and I’ve been watching and following your channels since I went to kindergarten. My first memories were granddad nagging us with your 12 o’clock news every Sunday, but it soon became a tradition, which I learned to appreciate. Your programmes were often inspiration to what was to come in my country (Slovenia), but there is one thing you used to be so brilliant at, one thing our artists used to copy yours, one thing which made stars and songs classics. Well, it’s two things, but same context – Dora and Eurovision.
After Yugoslavia broke apart, you and we made a debut in Eurovision the same year. One cannot really say it went very well for both of us. We came 22nd and were relegated a year later and you came 15th and did just well enough to make it into 1994. And that’s when your years of brilliance kicked off. Dora was the name of your national selection and in short time it became one of the most anticipated finals among Eurovision-fans and – what is more important – among the media and the artists/songwriters in your country. Dora used to make artists enter the very elite of the whole of Ex Yu’s music business and many songs are still played even on Slovenian radio stations, like 15-20 years later. You were our major role model in terms of Eurovision, in Slovenia there used to be this mantra among the media and the public: “It’s not about doing well or winning Eurovision, but about doing better than Croatia.” – which was (in most cases, bar 1997 and 2001) an impossible dream and a wishful thinking. Not that our entries were bad, no. Some of them were very good. But yours were just way superior to ours. You had a winning desire and I guess it was supposed to happen somewhere around 1998/1999 already.
In 1999 Doris Dragović, who was one of the favourites to win, finished on 4th place and some points had to be taken off from your score, due to the pre-recorded backing allegations. One could say that around that time, your winning desire faded a tad (probably you felt you’d been unfairly treated by the EBU, I can just speculate at this point), but you still had a strong national final and you were still scoring reasonably well in the following years. However, somewhere in 2003/2004 the results of Dora were starting to get… odd. Suddenly, the public and/or juries were rejecting entries with a potential to bring you back on top of the score in Eurovision. 2005 was the last time your entry (almost) entered top 10. A year later Severina’s entry made a lot of controversy all over the region and that controversy made her one of the outsiders for the eventual victory – again, you were snubbed of a top 10 position and after that you – to be frank – lost the plot. Dora suddenly became weaker, the songs weren’t those classic anthems and the artists didn’t become such big stars anymore. And of course, the results. The victory of Dado Topić is, for me, still a big mystery, which was followed by a failure to qualify, when European televoters had their say. In the years that followed, you barely made the final and when in the final you didn’t really set the scoreboard on fire. But the year, which – seemingly – really broke you was 2010. You sent Feminnem, the fan favourites from the 2005 contest, with a modern pop ballad with some ethnic touch and suddenly you were among the favourites – or dark horses – for the victory again. This was supposed to be the year you would finally come back, stronger and better than in many years. However, Feminnem’s performance was again not good enough for European juries and televoters and you once again, failed to qualify for the final. After 2010, it seemed as if you gave up. The 2011 selection was a mess, a complete and utter mess, with some dodgy decitions and a song, which just didn’t match your entries from 10 years earlier at all. A year after, you indeed sent one of your biggest stars, but again the song was a letdown and you had some really bad luck with the running order in the semi-final (being on before the major favourite of the year didn’t really do you any favours). In 2013 you suffered from the same bad luck again and then you decided to throw in the towell and to call it quits. Although you broadcasted the 2014 Eurovision final, you made it clear you had no intentions coming back in 2015. You name finances and bad results as your reasons.
Now, I’m again only speculating and guessing, but this could be EBU’s fault too, in a way. It seems they haven’t really made a big effort, in order to bring you back in this time. And could be you’re really running out of finances for now. But dear HRT – please come back as soon as possible. Your country’s so full of musical talent, so full of wonderful songs, great artists in many different genres and has a very rich musical market. You, with all the potential that you posess, refusing to showcase that potential to the European audience, is a great shame. You’re so lucky really. You have so many amazing artists and songwriters to choose from and you can only make a little effort, for you to come back in a proper way. You know, several countries know how you feel. The Netherlands for example, was suffering a real Eurovision-crisis in 2005-2012, with Dutch ESC-fans almost losing hope in their country forever. Out of the blue, however, Anouk emerged and offered to represent the country in the contest in 2013 And ping! The success was there and Dutch showing even improved in 2014 with an amazing second place a a big mainstream hit by The Common Linnets. Same story was happening with Denmark back in the 90s, the period, which was your strongest to date. Denmark was relegated from Eurovision 3 years in the 90s and the level of their national selection, Dansk Melodi Grand Prix, was suffering. After Trine Jepsen and Michael Teschl’s top 10 result, Denmark went on to win the whole contest the year later. Unfortunately, another crisis emerged just some years afterwards, but both Netherlands and Denmark kept on fighting. Yes, maybe there had been some dodgy deals going on among certain countries, which pushed both NL and DK on the sideway, but all those dodgy deals were forgotten once DK and NL started sending entries with clear international appeal, entries which gained lots of love from both Eurovision-fans and the general, mainstream audience. And YOU too have the potential to rise like a phoenix (pun intended), you only need a singer and a song strong enough to convince Europe to vote for you.
It was said you were to become the new Czech Republic. Czech Republic, ironically, announced their comeback in autumn, citing the promotion of their culture as one of the reasons for their return. Which, I think should be your goal too. To promote your country, your culture, your musical diversity. And you CAN do this. You’re way too good to throw your talent to produce good entries away, like you’re doing right now. Yes, you came back to Junior Eurovision, but that I’d rather forget, because – you didn’t really make an effort to do well. But that’s not important now. What is important, is that you get your winning desire for “adult” Eurovision back and that you start making a proper effort again, may that be an effort from one of your artists (like with Anouk) or you announcing Dora’s comeback and accepting only the very best songs, it’s up to you. But I miss you and I hope to see you back soon, if not in 2015, than in 2016.
Love you all,
Georgina de Mylius