23 February 2014
Eesti Laul, Estonia’s national final, rarely disappoints, especially since it returned a few years ago to its “Eesti Laul” (Song for Estonia) ideals from the few years of craziness as “Euro Laul”. Estonia does not pick songs for Eurovision, they pick songs for themselves. If the song cannot encapsulate the pride and history of Estonia and its music, it has no hope. Trashy songs just don’t stand a chance, and even English language songs rarely excel. Compare that to Sweden’s Melodifestivalen, where the opposite is true, to the point that Sweden’s pride comes from a good ESC result, not the song itself that they send.
This year’s Eesti Laul is of such quality that almost certainly a strong candidate will be sent to Copenhagen and do very well. Most spotlight will be on returning ESC artists Sandra Nurmsalu (with Randajad in 2009) and Lenna Kuurmaa (with Cool Vibes in 2005 with band Vanilla Ninja for Switzerland), while Tanja, Wilhelm and Brigita should be prominent from those that would be ESC debutantes.
Outside that top echelon, Kõrsikud, the three chubby guys that were the jury’s favourite last year, and Super Hot Cosmos Blues Band, could make a bold showing as the jury reveal their votes one by one. Both will be swamped once the televotes are added, like Kõrsikud dropped to fourth last year. From songs that didn’t make it, only Nion could possibly feel aggrieved. Even then, they only would a fourth or fifth ranked qualifier and with such borderline cases as that, it can be argued either way with some songs that didn’t make it.
Top 5 Finalists
From SF2, Sandra was clearly the best with Brigita next. From SF1 I add Lenna, Tanja and Wilhelm to round out the top 5. While I hope Lenna wins, I’m sure it’s either Sandra or Tanja. Both are so catchy. Sandra’s probably doesn’t do much else other than rely on the charm of Sandra and bouncy folk arrangement, while Tanja might be seen as a copycat of Sweden’s Euphoria two years ago. Tanja performs much of her song tossed about and on the shoulders of a dancer. Quite amazing. Lenna’s excellent song might just be too flat; she needs to amp it up somehow and sing it better. The long notes and strong requirement for vibrato, it’s a very technical song and she was wobbly in the SF, especially later in the song, and her normal sweet, soulful tone was mostly missing.
Estonia uses a 50/50 to decide the a top two “Super Final” and from there the televote solely determines the winner. Lenna has been there twice before, in 2012 and 2010, losing to Ott Lepland and Malcolm Lincoln respectively. Ironically, had her 2012 song of Mina Jaan been around in 2010, she’d have romped in, as that was a very weak year. As it were, it was the somewhat comical Rapunzel presented, which lost to a song that was only a last minute entry after another song was disqualified. Lenna’s previous attempt was 2007 with Vanilla Ninja and “Birds Of Peace”, finishing fourth.
Lenna’s hope is that the jury could push her into the top two, as it is more a song oriented towards juries. Or she can rely on sentiment from the public given it is her fourth attempt to reach ESC for Estonia. From there she will lose to either Tanja or Sandra – probably Sandra, as Tanja’s is probably not the jury “cup of tea”.
My heart says Lenna to win, my instinct says Sandra, while my head says Tanja. Sandra and Tanja in the super final, with the public swinging to Tanja.
Which ever song does make it to Copenhagen, dare we recall the winning countries of 1999, 2000 and 2001 were Sweden, Denmark and Estonia. For 2012, 13 and 14, the sequence is Sweden, Denmark and …..?
Refer to eurovision.tv for webcast details. The final is 1 March 2014.
Lenna – Supernoova
Sandra Nurmsalu – Kui tuuled pöörduvad
Tanja – Amazing
Brigita Murutar – Laule täis taevakaar
Wilhelm – Resignal