The Croatian broadcaster HRT has announced that Jacques Houdek will represent the country in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. Croatia returned to the competition last year for the first time since 2013. Houdek's song for Kyiv is call My Friend.
Jacques Houdek was born in Zagreb and is 35 years old. He has been singing professionally since 2002 and has previously entered the Croatian national selection, Dora, several times. He is well-known as a judge on The Voice of Croatia, the competition that last year's Croatian entrant, Nina Kraljic, won in 2015.
Immediately after the announcement Jacques, whose birth name is Zeljko, expressed his joy at being chosen to sing for Croatia. "I am extremely happy and thank Croatian Radio and Television for the trust they have shown", he said. "Being a representative of Croatia at the Eurovision Song Contest is a big honour for me and I'm grateful for the opportunity".
"I have been living for this for the past ten months, all of my artistic capabilities have been directed towards writing this song and I can barely wait for listeners to let it into their hearts", he added.
Croatia's song for 2017, My Friend, was premiered today on Croatian Radio’s Channel 2 programme The World of Discography. "We are confident that it will arouse interest", said Zeljko Mesar, Head of Delegation for Croatia at the Eurovision Song Contest.
Croatia in the Eurovision Song Contest
Croatia first entered the Eurovision Song Contest in 1993 and will participate in the second Semi-Final on Thursday 11th May. Croatia's best ever placing was fourth with Maja Blagdan and Doris Dragovic who represented the country in 1996 and 1999 respectively. Last year Nina Kraljic successfully qualified to the Grand Final with Lighthouse. It was the first time that Croatia has appeared in the Grand Final since 2009.