Daria Kinzer for Croatia: "Break a Leg"

Croatia’s Dora 2011 finally drew to a close this weekend, after weeks of semifinal heats where 24 singers belted out covers of Croatian and international hits in order to reach the finals, where the top two performers would each get to sing the three candidate songs for Eurovision.  A combined jury/audience vote decided which song each singer would present, and then those top two performances were compared against each other to determine the ultimate winner.

The final two singers were the German-born newcomer Daria Kinzer and Dora veteran Jacques Houdek, with the song “Lahor (Breeze)” selected for both, even though the audience overwhelmingly favored ballad “Stotinama godina (Hundreds of Years)” for both Jacques and Daria.  After a second vote, Daria was selected as the winner, although Jacques rendition of “Lahor” was nothing to sneeze at, either!

I am a bit disappointed in the final result of Dora 2011.  While Daria is a completely capable singer and performer, I almost feel like she’s just another pretty face.  During the interview portions of the program, Jacques seemed more personable and animated, and he also has a larger following both in Croatia and the greater Balkan region.  Considering that a lovely performance from Feminnem wasn’t enough to get them out of the semifinals last year, Croatia needed something that would set them apart, and I just don’t think “Lahor” is the song to do it.  Even if they plan on singing it in English (with the less-than-elegant title of “Break a Leg”, an idiom that might not translate easily for non-English speakers), they will need an absolutely unforgettable stage show to really boost them back into the high results that they enjoyed back in the mid-to-late 1990s.

Update!: It seems that the song will be revamped, including a much-needed name change.  What once was “Lahor” and then “Break a Leg”, will now simply be called “Celebrate”.

Posted on March 7, '11, in 2011, Croatia. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I quite agree with you on this one. I think she looks like Erin Andrews, that ESPN girl who came in third on Dancing With The Stars!"Lahor" seemed like a good song title since it was short and memorable. Now I am not sure if I like the English title. The song seems awfully sedate for a song called "Break A Leg".Why does that girl under the turntable look exactly like Daria? I thought that was Daria, which confused me since I thought she was behind the turntable!I was not in support of Croatia adopting the German format from last year for the selection process, since performers like Lena are so rare. Lena had a very of-the-people image that was not at all bland, which made her so special. How did the Germans beat the Americans at their own game? No really; American Idol looks for stars that are everyday people that are talented performers who shine. Unfortunately for American Idol, it attracts the ego-fueled star performers that take second place and go on to have a successful career, and the home-made apple-pie types that win and are unheard of afterward. Lena, however, marries the star-power with the of-the-people image. Do you see what I mean? Anyway, Croatia was not bound to attain the same result as Germany did last year, since Germany was exceptionally lucky with the format I typically do not care for.If Croatia is stuck in the semi-final again, that is too bad, but at least it would make Feminnem's flop look less bad.-Finland

  2. I completely see what you mean by the "of the people" vs. "star power" image…the difference between Unser Star Für Oslo and Dora is that Dora is open to newcomers and veterans, while USFO was for new talent, if I recall correctly. And I wouldn't say that your assessment of American Idol is really accurate…the winners are generally quite deserving, and normally either came out of nowhere or had been toiling away in the independent music scene for quite a while (believe me, I'm a massive David Cook fan, and I'm waiting on pins and needles for his upcoming album release!). Ruben may have beaten Clay in Season 2, who went on to have a bigger career, but their styles were also completely different. Same with Adam Lambert and Kris Allen in Season 8…what were the egos you were referring to? If you meant Adam Lambert, I wouldn't call him egotistical, but rather incredibly confident in how he imagined himself as an artist. I don't mean to be argumentative, I just want to understand where you were coming from. 🙂

  3. I was not arguing that American Idol winners were not deserving. They represent the everyday American finding glory, which is in line with the American Dream. I just do not tend to look toward everyday people for a unique point of view, or at least a unique one that has mass appeal. I still think Germany was exceptionally lucky in its endeavours, since it found just that, and paired her with the perfect song.I am typically quite against "of-the-people" as an image, since it can be quite misleading. You know who my least favourite American president is? Andrew Jackson! He is vile! Have you noticed many (American) presidential candidates these days striving for this "of-the-people" image, like our "hockey mom" Sarah Palin, and our "basketball dad" Obama? Animal advocates I hear have complained about Obama pardoning this one football player who was a known animal abuser. Do you know anything about that? Do you know why? I hear some people saying that it was in the name of "being cool", a.k.a. "of-the-people". I cannot say for sure if this is true, but if it is, it appears that politicians too get misled by it.Anyway, enough about politics! People seem to get misled in at least the short-run by the "of-the-people" image, which is why the "of-the-people" people take home the trophy, but have a less eventful career post-Idol than the runner-ups. I read an interesting quote on the Wikipedia page under Critical reception: "For all its bloated, synthetic, product-shilling, money-making trappings, 'Idol' provides a once-a-year chance for the average American to combat the evils of today's music business." Well yes, the average American seems to be winning while the show is on, but what happens after?Does this view seem too polarized? What happens after depends on the goods they have to show for their time on American Idol, talent-wise and image-wise. Maybe they have more below the surface, which comes to surface after the show; winners had this "of-the-people" face on during, then, if they have any clue how, bump up their image after, to sell themselves to industry professionals who in turn sell them to the public.Adam Lambert appears arrogant to me, but with an image like his, which is not at all to my taste, I can understand why professionals would look to him to sell their works. His image (and even speculations that he might be gay, which eventually he was) kept him from winning in the short-run, but what happened afterward?American Idol, though, is not selecting for Eurovision, which makes its aims different from those of Dora and of Unser Star Für Oslo. Still, what they have in common is the type of pool from which they fish out talents, and I have concerns over whether this is a fresh pool from which to seek such unique points of view. Was Germany even looking to win the whole thing, or was it merely looking for a decent representation in the contest?I know what I wrote is quite long, but I hope this clarifies from where I am coming on this.-Finland

  4. If I were a judge on American Idol, I would have a hard time, I believe, because we have many undoubtedly talented people that have not really figured out who they are as artists, so they take after other established artists whose songs they like, and sing those songs without any thought of how they are going to sell THEMselves to us.I would find myself trying to talk myself into liking certain contestants just to make decisions, and is it really worth working to talk myself into it? I must be spoiled, since I am used to being impressed right away by artists who know who they are and how to sell themselves to us! Even if I do not buy into Adam Lambert, he pretty much knows who he is and how to sell himself, and we could see that all throughout season 8.Does this make more sense?-Finland

  5. I was just thinking, maybe these talent show formats are actually good… under pressure! Look what the United Kingdom got through Your Country Needs You!. Also, it seems that the first ever winner of a given Idols branch are the most successful, like Kelly Clarkson, Hanna Pakarinen, Anastasia Prikhodko, and others. During their inception, producers are under pressure to get the show off the ground and not flop, are they not?Croatia, though, seemed to feel no such pressure this time around.-Finland

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