02 March 2014
Eesti Laul, Estonia’s national song contest, rarely fails to deliver, especially in terms of song variety on offer. This year had both that and quality. No weaknesses, and with a standard so high, a big favourite of the ESC community, flopped. That was Sandra Nurmsalu, returning to the national stage after a fifth place at ESC 2009 in Moscow. Also returning was Lenna Kuurmaa, who’s twice finished second already as a solo artist and fourth with her old band Vanilla Ninja. Notables in the Estonian music community like Traffic and Tanja were also back. Then there were the relative newcomers like Super Hot Cosmos Blues Band, Wilhelm and Maiken. Ultimately the prize went to the amazing Tanja, with her song “Amazing”, in which performed an amazing choreographed routine, while amazingly keep clean vocals, never running short of breath. Amazing.
Notes through the telecast…
01) Brigita – A really cute song 7
02) Traffic – one of their better efforts 6
03) Norman – ok 5
04) Wilhelm – excellent 7
05) Lenna – again flat, especially the start. Is it the low quality web stream? Voice not strong as familiarly known 7
06) Super Hot Cosmos Blues band – really good and original 7
07) Maiken – really pretty song 8
08) Korsikud – it’s good enough, I much prefer several others 5
09) Tanja – amazing 9
10) Sandra – do people expect more from her? 7
Rank: Tanja, Maiken, Lenna (sorry!), Sandra, Brigita, Wilhelm, SHCBB.
The jury had SHCBB and Lenna as first and second, with the TV host seemingly teasing Lenna about yet another second place. Traffic was surprisingly the jury’s third pick, with Tanja next and Sandra in 9th, only above Brigita. The televote went SHCBB, Tanja, Sandra, Traffic, Brigita and Lenna. That vaulted Tanja into second and dumped Lenna to fourth. Traffic remained third. Not surprisingly, Tanja won the super final, gaining 53% of the vote. Even though SHCBB won the preliminary televote, they capitalised on their uniqueness in the competition. Tanja would keep the televote that vaulted her into the super final, while gaining votes from artists like Sandra and Lenna that missed out.
Tanja was the best choice. Her performance was strongest of a great Eesti Laul. My heart wanted Lenna, instinct Sandra, head Tanja. Head won.
The comparisons of Amazing with Loreen’s Euphoria of two years ago will be many. Whether this becomes a burden, we won’t know. Maybe the only way Tanja separates from this is to not dance. Just stand there and be a singer. The arrangement then might need to change then, being more classical. Still keep the tempo, just dump the auto-drumbeat track. Else, she can offset any comparisons by producing such a super performance that no one will care. Fact is, the song is not that similar, it’s more the addition of the dancing that will trigger memories. Even as presented at Eesti Laul, Amazing is the best song so far of countries that have released their songs so far, so should represent Estonia well.
Sandra suffered from her legacy. When you come from Randajad, fans just expect so much more. The infectious melody was basically as far as her 2014 song went. Sandra herself, she looked not have one single hair that varied from 2009. She flopped more for expectation, than the song itself. This is especially so in situations where a song is well. entrenched. Most fans, including myself, that raved, did so after one listen. From there, we’ve seen Sandra, we heard the song, that’s as far as it goes. A new artist with that song might have done better because there will be a growth with the artist.
Watching Lenna’s performance later on ERR’s youtube song, her vocals proved fine. Compared to the semi, she held on to those long difficult notes well, sounded really nice in tone and ended on a stronger climax. The problem with the webcast were the harmonies with the backing singer seemingly not coming through sufficiently. It all mutated into one vocal, which made it seem Lenna trailed way off pitch during those long notes in the chorus.
Being in Australia, these national finals are on at 5am or so. Estonia is a bit better at 6.30 21.30 Eesti). There was some mild contemplation whether to wake up in the middle of the night to watch live considering my hours of sleep are between 2 and 10, or wake up as normal and watch as a replay. Last year without Lenna I watched the replay; the year before with her I watched live. As suspected, the anticipation woke me anyway. With a twitter stream on one screen and the webcast on another, it felt like being really involved.
Credit really goes to Estonia and the structure of Eesti Laul and their music scene in general. Ten songs took just 80 minutes to decide, whereas Iceland takes 150 minutes to decide from six songs. Two semis is also enough, whereas Sweden has four and a second chance week. This efficiency extends also to the Estonian people that are in harmony with their artists. There’s a national and independent pride that fosters a symbiosis in the music created. Being a small country also means everyone remains humble. It’s such a breath of fresh air, and no wonder Eesti Laul continues to gather reputation each year as the national final to watch if you only ever just watch one.
Final position with points
07 Brigita Murutar “Laule täis taevakaar” (7)
03 Traffic “Für Elise” (15)
06 Norman Salumäe “Search” (9)
09 Wilhelm “Resignal” (7)
04 Lenna “Supernoova (14)
02 Super Hot Cosmos Blues Band “Maybe-Maybe” (20)
10 Maiken” Siin või sealpool maad” (5)
08 Kõrsikud “Tule ja jää” (7)
01 Tanja “Amazing” (16)
05 Sandra Nurmsalu “Kui tuuled pöörduvad” (10)
02 Super Hot Cosmos Blues Band “Maybe-Maybe” (47%)
01 Tanja “Amazing” (53%)
ERR’s channel for all Eesti Laul 2014 songs:
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