3 March 2018
After one epic semi final, then a rather ordinary one, Estonia is set to send something quite unique to Lisbon. Of the 10 finalists, only a couple are of the bland generic type, with the others representing a broad sweep of music categories and, indeed, some might just be in their own category. The semi finals were strange in that they were so lopsided in terms of favoured songs. Seemingly eight of the top 10 were in the first semi final, including 7 of my top 10. Consequently there was one surprise exit from the first semi, and if you have any “WTF” moments when watching the final, no doubt they will be some of the finalists from semi final 2.
As a reminder, from the song preview, my top 10:
The big question is whether my favourite, Thousand Words by Sibyl Vane remains so. It was a clear favourite too, with La Forza by Elina Nechayeva in second. Among the Eurovision community and by views on Youtube, La Forza is the clear favourite, and that’s it. While I had to correct a few people online that Thousand Words was easily a deserved finalist, there hasn’t been too much buzz about it. That’s ok, because Estonians have their own mind, while Eesti Laul remains steadfast against the insanity of international juries. On their jury panel, it sticks to locals in the industry and media, who have an Estonian mind, not like the derivative types prominent among international juries.
My Top 5
1) Thousand Words – Sibyl Vane
Yes, Thousand Words still holds the title – just! It’s such a great energetic song, with an interesting lead singer with a pleasant voice, and the band presented the song really well. Credit to those for the graphics, as they have a (good!) hypnotic affect, and suit the song well. The key to success in national finals is often to stick out, so it would not surprise to see Thousand Words reach the super final (which is based on results from the jury and public). They’ll also have all of Parnu voting for them a thousand times. From the super final, the sole decision is the public’s, and that will be the difficult part to overcome the more publicly popular songs.
2) Elina Nechayeva – La Forza
If La Forza reaches the super final, it’s all over. After Elina’s semi final, it’s only just behind Thousand Words as my favourite song. If La Forza won, I wouldn’t be disappointed either. It’s not just that La Forza is a great song, it’s that Elina’s vocals are peerless. Sometimes trying to merge opera with a contemporary style, the vocals can sound quite hollow. Not here. Elina has maintained that pure operatic projection and resonance to perfection. To top it off, the staging is superb, and she’s as stunning as she sounds. Potentially this is a Eurovision winner.
3) Nika – Knock Knock
Seventh in the song preview, to third overall, and that’s all thanks to the superb presentation. While I always liked the song, it lacked that something special – until now. The well choreographed routine camouflages any deficiencies the song might have. Knock Knock was easily the best song from semi final 2, and probably only one of two songs from that semi that really deserves to be in the final. It’s likely to reach the super final too.
4) Iiris & Agoh – Drop That Boogie
Another than benefitted from a great presentation. It was only my 10th overall, so has had the biggest jump in place. Iiris reminds me so much of Lady Gaga in her style and performance, and is an astute musician.
5) Eliis Pärna & Gerli Padar
Even from the weaker semi final 2, this only squeaked through thanks to the public wildcard. I always thought it was a guarantee, and having a public wildcard probably makes that guarantee stronger as this was always the nicest and most pleasantly sung song in the semi and the public would reward that. Other than those qualities, it doesn’t do much special, and while the presentation was done quite well, I’ve never been a fan of mirrors or glass panels as a prop. It sort of breaks the connection of the duet, and therefore the connection between the duet and the audience. The other option for fifth – Stig Rästa with Home – I could basically say the same. Nice pleasant song, sung well enough, doesn’t do much different, strange props with all the violins on stage. Ultimately I stuck with Eliis & Gerli.
Etnopatsy – Külm
This was the unfortunate (not surprise) omission from that super strong first semi final. It’s sad in a way because you like to see distinctive songs rewarded, and Etnopatsy did a superb job of combining folk and contemporary, and presented the song really well. The use of the acrobat on the ribbon was outstanding. Vajé with Laura (Walk with Me) was the fortunate song to progress. While it was my 11th pick overall, it’s all a bit on the bland and generic in style, and if that’s your thing, go watch Melodifestivalen.
Indrek Ventmann – Tempel
Dare I say, “Only in Estonia”?
Snippets of all songs
The history of Eesti Laul. Your browser should be able to translate it into English.
After Eesti Laul 2018, check back to the main page for the review!