Eesti Laul 2021 Preview – My Top 24

14 February 2021

Eesti Laul 2021 is shaping up to be one of the most interesting contests with a very even field of songs, the uniquely Estonian mix of styles, and the usual mix of familiar and new names. Among those familiar names is 2020 winner, Uku Suviste, given a guaranteed semi final spot and hoping to finally set foot on the Eurovision stage after last year’s event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eesti Laul 2021 Preview - My Top 24

After listening to all the songs on and off since they were released in December, I’ve found it difficult to find a strong personal favourite – something that makes you giddy with excitement and eager for them to win. While I did watch all the preview videos early on, most recently it’s just listening to the songs. The videos altered the perceptions of a few songs, so I thought I’d stick to straight listening for this preview.

All songs can be heard on the official Eesti Laul website and all videos seen on the official youtube channel.

24 to 11

24 Redel – Tartu
23 Jüri Pootsmann – Magus Melanhoolia
22 Uku Haasma – Kaos
21 Andrei Zevakin & Pluuto – Wingman
20 Rahel – Sunday Night
19 Wiirat – Tuuled
18 Kadri Voorand – Energy
17 Sissi – Time
16 Egert Milder – Free Again
15 Tuuli Rand – Üks öö
14 Heleza – 6
13 Kea – Hypnotized
12 Ivo Linna, Robert Linna, Supernova – Ma Olen Siin
11 Alabama Watchdog – Alabama Watchdog

To spotlight a few, Tartu is noise and Wingman is annoying hip-hop. Pootsman is back from his disastrous semi final last place at Stockholm 2016 with the really drab Magus Melanhoolia. Kaos is just too dull. These are the only songs I don’t like of the 24. The rest are good, albeit those from Sissi, Egert Milder and Kea are inferior to their efforts in recent years, while veteran Ivo Linna adds his son and a band to his act to add variation to a song that’s in his usual familiar and infectious style. Alabama Watchdog is the most interesting song, especially for something out of Estonia, and it isn’t hard to pick the genre from the name. Heleza’s 6 is interesting for partially being in French. Like Kea’s and Tuuli Rand’s entries, it’s pleasant enough without standing out.

The Top 10

10 Tanja – Best Night Ever

Estonia’s Eurovision entry in 2014 and finished 7th at Eesti Laul two years ago as part of The Swingers, Tanja is not so amazing this time, and I struggled to put her in the top 10. It really only is because she is Tanja and the song instantly appealed, and it’s still good.

09 Hans Nayna – One By One

This one has grown on me a lot. There’s a nice raspy tone to Hans’ voice, and while sections of the melody seem familiar, overall it is a great package. The question is whether he can stand out from the solid pack of other pretty boys.

08 Suured Tudrukud – Heaven’s Not That Far Tonight

Nothing original about this other than it’s so damn catchy. For “schlager” style of a pop, that’s often good enough to get some attention. We’ll see how the two ladies go.

07 Helen – Nii Kõrgele

One that takes a few listens to really catch your ear, and once it does, it refuses to leave. It’s in that classic Eesti pop style that I’ve grown to really like over the years.

06 Karl Killing – Kiss Me

This has instant hallmarks of Kiss Me by Sixpence None The Richer, and Karl Killing looks like he could easily be someone out of Dawson’s Creek. I had this as my initial favourite due to its appealing nature and interesting journey. Others overtook it since. Who knows, it still could make a killing on Eesti Laul final night.

05 Kristin Kalnapenk – Find A Way

This is a really delightful jazzy number – something you find yourself swaying to while imagining yourself sitting in a smoky bar. I love the little vocal flourishes from Kristin. Such additions are synonymous with jazz, and often make or break a song – usually breaking it if they are used too liberally and with too much improvisation. Kristin gets it just right and her voice is lovely.

04 Uku Suviste – The Lucky One

Uku might need to be the lucky one as, while this is a quality song and follows the successful template of What Love Is – his winner from last year – it’s not quite to that standard, nor to that of his 2019 entry, Pretty Little Liar. He’ll need to rely on sentiment and a great performance to finally reach the Eurovision stage.

03 Nika Marula – Calm Down

A big, bold and quirky kind of ballad. It does take a few listens to really get into it, so Nika will need to rely on a stellar vocal performance to wow fans unfamiliar with it. Curiously, Calm Down is only 2.30 long and it feels like it should be longer. Nika finished 9th of 10 in 2018 with the vibrant Knock Knock so here’s hoping for a better reward this time. Curiously, she was my third favourite heading into Eesti Laul that year too.

02 Gram-Of-Fun – Lost In A Dance

More like ton-of-fun. With its funky, fast-paced energy and electronic vibe, this is the best pop song this year. While it may lack enough substance to win, who cares! It’s so much fun.

01 Koit Toome – We Could Have Been Beautiful

This is THE quality song of Eesti Laul 2021. Beautiful music, melody and exquisite vocals – it just depends whether it can break past its lack of originality. We’ve heard this sort of song so often before, so that quality and some Koit magic on stage with be the key additions to its success. Koit appeared at Kyiv 2017 with Laura Põldvere singing Verona, and by himself in Birmingham in 1998 with a piano ballad in Estonian. Curiously, Laura is competing this year in Finland’s UMK 2021 with a song called Play.

Semi Final 1

01 Tanja – Best Night Ever
02 Hans Nayna – One By One
03 Wiiralt – Tuuled
04 Kea – Hypnotized
05 Andrei Zevakin & Pluuto – Wingman
06 Karl Killing – Kiss Me
07 Nika Marula – Calm Down
08 Egert Milder – Free Again
09 Tuuli Rand – Üks öö
10 Koit Toome – We Could Have Been Beautiful
11 Kristin Kalnapenk – Find A Way
12 Ivo Linna, Robert Linna, Supernova – Ma Olen Siin

Semi Final 2

01 Sissi – Time
02 Gram-Of-Fun – Lost in a Dance
03 Kadri Voorand – Energy
04 Helen – Nii kõrgele

05 Redel – Tartu
06 Rahel – Sunday Night
07 Uku Haasma – Kaos
08 Heleza – 6
09 Uku Suviste – The Lucky One
10 Alabama Watchdog – Alabama Watchdog
11 Jüri Pootsmann – Magus Melanhoolia
12 Suured Tüdrukud – Heaven’s Not That Far Tonight

In bold are my personal qualifiers for the final. Six of my top 10 are in the first semi final and eleven of my top 12 would progress to the final. The only exception is the 12th ranked Ivo Linna for the 14th ranked Heleza. As to whether all 12 progress, I’d be satisfied with eight.

Who Will Win?

Betting markets have Uku Suviste as the warm favourite, with Koit Toome and Jüri Pootsman next. After that it’s a wide open field. Not sure how reliable they are for a competition only Estonians can vote in, so it could be just name recognition, especially with Pootsman up there.

Personally, it looks likely to be between Uku and Koit as both have excellent songs and are great performers. Public sentiment towards Uku should push him over the line. In the past two years he’s finished second and had his Eurovision dream cancelled, so another win and a chance at Eurovision seems appropriate.

Semi Finals
18 February 2021
20 February 2021

Final
6 March 2021

3 responses to “Eesti Laul 2021 Preview – My Top 24

  1. Pingback: Super Saturday Preview – Finland UMK21 and Norway Melodi Grand Prix 2021 | Mr Eurovision Australia·

  2. Pingback: Eesti Laul 2021 – Semi Final Review & Final Preview | Mr Eurovision Australia·

  3. Pingback: Uku Suviste wins Eesti Laul 2021 with The Lucky One | Mr Eurovision Australia·

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