Those were the days. Back in the noughties bookies still regularly placed the UK in the top 5, and we were still completely baffled when phone voters around the living rooms of Europe failed to vote for whatever tuneless noise we'd spat into the content that year. "The UK was robbed!", we'd say, like we say when we lose at every international competition involving a level of competitive skill ever except the Darts. And even that bloke off the Darts is dead now.
But try being Croatia. Amazing Spice Girls knock off act ENI obviously deserved to win with this work of almost complete genius, but only came 17th in 1997. Or take Doris Dragovic's haunting "Maria Magdalena" which only scraped fourth two years later. For a good 18 months this solid gold classic was my ringtone, my alarm clock and my start up sound on Windows XP.
So in a way it's lovely to have the Croatians back after a few years off in the 10s- but then again in a more accurate way it's a nightmare, because they keep entering awful songs that have no chance of making to the Saturday final.
Last year they managed to send Croatia's "homophobe of the year" Jacques Houdek, and this year they've sent a non-descript talent show graduate to sing a non-descript knock off of Alicia Keys' "Crazy" whose backing track had already been up on YouTube for months- so it's really a cover of Guez's "Ceea ce iubim", a song that opens with the inaccurate line "Maybe I was not what you wanted- now I'm exactly what you asked for".
"When I was two years old", lies Franka, "I was standing in front of our tv set, holding a remote control instead of a microphone, singing the lyrics of Tony Cetinski's "Nek' ti bude ljubav sva" from the Eurovision 1994". This is a song, lest we forget, that opens with the line "Rain from the north is coming, the pillow smells nice" which is one way of putting it.
Until now I thought Croatia 1994 was the worst piece of music I'd heard since Croatia took two baffled pensioners to Belgrade in 2008 to sing and rap about how the internet was invented by "monkeys" while a flamenco dancer played a xylophone made out of bottles of their own blood- but I think Franka's topped it. "That girl from 1994 never stopped dreaming. And now the dream is coming true" she says. That dream of checking out of your hotel early because you failed to progress to the final bringing shame your nation. That one.
My all time favourite Croatian entry was Severina's "Moja Štikla" from 2006, the first year me and Mrs D went to see the contest live in Athens. The costumes! The dancing! The Eukulele! The bit where she sings "Shits, Shits"! As Justin "difficult recovery from alcoholism" Hawkins said on our 2007 national final, they don't make them like they used to.