14 January 2018
Estonia – Eesti Laul 2018
Another year, another great Eesti Laul. Officially it is now a broken record. I opened with the same statement in last year’s preview and spontaneously did it again. Of course, it really is another great Eesti Laul. While not quite the match compared to 2017, first impressions is that what it lacks in big names and powerful songs, it makes it up with eclecticism and a strong curiosity. From the traditional Estonian alternative/rock/indie/pop type stuff, there’s folk, opera, ballad and even some fast food music!
There are a few familiar names too. At Eurovision, Stig Rästa performed Goodbye To Yesterday with Elina Born in 2015 and Gerli Padar performed Partners In Crime in 2007. Her brother, Boyi Padar, won for Estonia in 2001, performing Everybody with Dave Benson. Wait, that was Tanal Padar. Rolf Roosalu/Junior will also be familiar to regular Eesti Laul viewers in what’s at least his sixth attempt.
There’s a clear top 5 for me with the favourite overall a clear favourite. The top 10 picked themselves easily too. I only fussed about the ranking between second and fifth.
The Top 5
5) Stig Rästa – Home
A “homely” style of song and quite catchy, where Stig talks about watching “G.O.T”, whatever that is. For return winners to succeed, they typically need a significantly better song or their return is after many years so sentiment kicks in. It’s neither the case for Stig, so I’m expecting Estonians to look elsewhere, especially after his partner of 2015, Elina Born, finished dead last in the Eesti Laul 2017 final with quite a decent song.
4) Etnopatsy – Külm
Folk music can be hit or miss (usually miss) without some sort of contemporary edge to it, and this delivers. Following Portugal’s win last year with a song in their national language and style, Estonians might feel empowered enough to send this.
3) Eliis Pärna & Gerli Padar – Sky
While not breaking any moulds, this is quite a beautiful song, with lovely vocals and harmonies.
2) Elina Netšajeva – La Forza
Quite a sumptuous opera style of song, this will be popular if Elina can deliver those haunting vocals peerlessly on stage.
1) Sibyl Vane – Thousand Words
A thumping, infectious indie/rock song, and so characteristic of the Estonian music scene. Estonians have voted for similar bands in the past, although not quite for the win. Needs a quality live performance to transmit the song’s energy, and possibly a big crescendo into an epic final chorus to really leave its mark.
– Eesti Laul is the traditional two semi finals and a final (the best national final format!), scheduled for 10 & 17 February and 3 March.
Czechia – Eurovision Song CZ
It’s so good other countries are following Estonia’s lead and releasing their national final songs early. Particularly for Czechia as normally they are a blip through the national final season, and often a blip when their song is finally revealed. So we get the privilege to sample a bit of Czech music, and you know what, it will make the announcement of the winner almost compelling viewing.
While four songs appeal to me, the other two might appeal as easily to fans of their respective genres. It’s a nice, varied bunch and I found it difficult to split my top two. So, you decide! High On Love is the more immediately impressive, while Fly is the more intriguing one and likely the more memorable on the Eurovision stage. Stuff it, I’ll vote for that. Wait! I’ve just listened again to High On Love. I’ll vote for that. Wait! I have changed my mind again. It’s Fly!
1) Eva Burešová – Fly
2) Debbi – High On Love
3) Pavel Callta – Never Forget
4) Eddie Stoilow – We Rule This World
5) Doctor Victor – StandUP
6) Mikolas Josef – Lie To Me
– Sadly there’s no actual national final, only voting on the official ESC app, which you can do now. While anyone can vote, only Czech votes, along with an international jury of former Eurovision entrants, will decide the winner, to be revealed 29 January.
Switzerland – ESC 2018 Die Entscheidungsshow
Knock me down with a giant Eurovision feather, the Swiss have provided a solid six songs too. Again it was a duel between two songs and this time the better first impression of Stones just pipped Redlights for favourite song.
1) Zibbz – Stones
2) Vanessa Iraci – Redlights
3) Angie Ott – A Thousand Times
4) Chiara Dubey – Secrets and Lies
5) Naeman – Kiss Me
6) Alejandro Reyes – Compass