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Thread: CROATIA 2017 - Jacques Houdek - My Friend

  1. Administrator escYOUnited's Avatar
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    #1

    CROATIA 2017 - Jacques Houdek - My Friend





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    #1531

    Re: CROATIA 2017 - Jacques Houdek - My Friend

    Croatian juiry voting at HRT

    Dino Jelušić (the winner of first Junior Eurovision 2003.)
    Sanja Doležal (Crotian/Yugoslavian representative at Eurovision 1987.)




    they made remake of the old classic"Dino staring at Sanja's boobs" when Sanja worked as a TV host

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    #1533

    Re: CROATIA 2017 - Jacques Houdek - My Friend

    I don't find anything wrong with his words.
    He said that he had the best song in the contest, and that's true.
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    #1534

    Re: CROATIA 2017 - Jacques Houdek - My Friend

    Quote Originally Posted by GRE View Post
    I don't find anything wrong with his words.
    He said that he had the best song in the contest, and that's true.
    This is signature worthy
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    #1535

    Re: CROATIA 2017 - Jacques Houdek - My Friend

    In my Opinion he is one of the biggest Surprises this Contest. In March, when all Songs were released he was my #42, but live he was my #15.

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    #1536

    Re: CROATIA 2017 - Jacques Houdek - My Friend

    He also took aim at Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, criticising her lack of support and the fact she has time to attend fashion shows but not endorse his song.
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    #1537

    Re: CROATIA 2017 - Jacques Houdek - My Friend

    My review of "My Friend":

    -To me, Croatia is part of the underrated Balkan nations in ESC. This decade, they've sent several entries I really liked ("Lijepa Tena", "Lako Je Sve", "Nebo", "Lighthouse"), yet they never went anywhere with them sadly. I prefer their songs in Croatian, but like everyone else, the English fever took over them. Pity. This year, when I saw here lots of people reacting (mostly negatively) to their new effort, I believed we were in for an out there contribution... which wasn't far from the truth, even though I personally don't find "My Friend" that strange in hindsight within the framework of the contest. Jacques's song is a musical theatre ballad wavering between Disney's the Lion King legacy (in English) and operatic realness (in Italian), which is a combination that would have been difficult to go unnoticed, especially because Houdek constantly switches between those two facets throughout the song. It started with a short saccharine introduction (a piano base, a violin and a cello), followed by beats and a quotation from Einstein... Honestly, I think it was a tasteless and cringe-making beginning, it sounded forced - like it tried too hard to be deep and intellectual - it would have been better to incorporate the quotation into the lyrics at some point, rather than "throwing" it in our faces like that imo. The actual verse began right afterwards with Houdek's relatively high-toned pop voice (which imo sounded rather plain, maybe because he sang in English), closely followed by his lower-toned operatic one in Italian (which gave texture and interest to an otherwise saccharine melody). Personally, I would have liked the song more had it been entirely sung in an operatic way (while Hele wished it were all pop ), but that's not the point imho since the main interest behind the concept was to switch between both voices/genres, which was unseen in Eurovision (since Malena Ernman's pop and operatic voices were clearly partitioned in "La Voix"). The strong point of this is that - apart from the novelty factor - I wouldn't consider it a gimmick because it is totally in line with the message of the song, presented like a conversation between two people (as I interpret it). The chorus was actually rather memorable overall, I liked the "my friend" lines at the end of it with each voice. Then there was an instrumental break featuring an intricate string part reminiscent of classical music. Afterwards, the usual vocal switch resumed, this time with a musical one as well: the pop voice had beats and backing voices while the operatic one had strings only. Eventually, the second chorus started and featured some ad-libs and high notes, and ended with the effective contrast of the "my friend" lines succession. Overall, I totally supported the concept which was fresh, crazy and made Croatia stand out big time. However, the melody is too saccharine and the arrangements too Disney for me to genuinely appreciate the actual song. To sum up, objectively I think it was a stroke of genius overall; but subjectively I fail to like this effort on a purely musical level. Pros: the vocal switches. Cons: the overly Disney atmosphere, the cheesy spoken Einstein quotation.

    To me, the highlight of the song is merely the chorus, which I found memorable. I would say the instrumental break is also quite noteworthy.

    -Vocally, Jacques was THE vocal master of the year, hands-down. I honestly didn't think he would be able to replicate this song live (which really sounds like a duet in the studio cut), yet he succeeded in doing it with confidence and professionalism. Regardless of what one might think about the song, he objectively gave awesome performances both in the semi and in the grand final. Props also to his backing vocalists who helped him perform some overlapping lines during the last chorus. Personally, I genuinely enjoyed his live perfs because of the vocal technicality it required, he was the main interest of the whole package imo.

    -Visually, Croatians actually did their work (unlike last year...) and put some effort into their presentation, which turned out to be less over-the-top than one would have expected. It started with a shot from the violinist and cellist playing their instruments in the dark, until the LED screens displayed a mountain outline on a starry night. Houdek first appeared in closeup with the audience behind him during the notorious quotation part (I think that shot was actually effective). The camera work was on point and helped emphasise the schizophrenic nature of the song since each voice had a "profile" Houdek needed to show, it was a simple yet brilliant idea to visually "separate" both voices. In the background, two Houdeks were singing and looking at each other in front of a Lion King-looking landscape... THAT was over-the-top and cheesy, but it worked if it was meant in an ironic way, even though I'm not sure whether Houdek took that seriously or not. The white/black/blue/green colour scheme was nice and classy imo. During the chorus, white light points briefly appeared on the scenery, which lightened with the sunlight: the white spotlights surrouding the stage contrasted nicely with the overall dark shades used otherwise. I really liked Houdek's gestures which changed everytime he switched voices to fit the characters. During the instrumental break, both musicians took the spotlight by engaging in a "musical duel" under blue strobe lights. I loved that part actually, it was rather original and memorable imo. Then backing vocalists arrived on stage and pyros and darkness were used to emphasise the vocal duality. For the final chorus, a pyro curtain appeared (an element that seldom works for me) - along with sunflowers - and the wide shot allowed me to appreciate how well positioned everyone was on stage. The performance ended with a rainbow completing the background scenery and all backing vocalists/musicians gathered around Houdek. Honestly, all in all, this is probably the best Croatian staging ever to me, I don't know who was responsible for it (Houdek implied he was involved in it), but it looked great: despite some very cheesy elements, it gave entertaining visuals to the song while remaining quite classy. The camera work was just what the performance needed to work on viewers and the background was elaborate for once. Fashion-wise: Houdek wore a unique outfit made up of half a black suit and half a leather jacket, perfect for the occasion. I approved everything in the visual department, and I don't say that very often for Croatia.

    -Results-wise, I was quite surprised Croatia was the only Balkan nation to qualify, because they don't have a high qualification rate to begin with and I thought either "In Too Deep" or "Dance Alone" would have appealed to people more, but I was wrong! The biggest surprise however was their 13th place finish, thanks to people ranking them 9th on the big night (what a dark horse!). In hindsight, such a result wasn't strange because operatic works have always been positively received by Eurovision televoters ("Cvet Z Juga", "La Voix", "It's My Life", "Grande Amore"). Ironically, the "musical experts" never appreciated that style which is normally considered high-end and superior to pop music. Each to their own - I myself wasn't fond of the song - but 22nd place just didn't feel right imo. Someone pointed out the fact juries liked to support flat and conventional vocals to the detriment of true vocal prowesses, and I agree: "My Friend" and "Yodel It!" (like it or not, yodelling is harder than belting out x-factor-style) for instance were much more vocally worth points than other songs with plainer vocals tbh. 13th place is a decent result for that song though, I'm glad for Croatia. In my personal ranking, "My Friend" is in the higher half of the middling category because I just can't like the heavy Disney vibe the song has. See you in Lisbon guys, whatever you'll send next year, please don't sabotage yourself visually like in 2016, you did a good job this year. I would love you to return to Croatian language (I hope "Amar Pelos Dois" will have an influence in this regard), but I don't hold my breath yet. Kisses from Paris to Zagreb
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