Stefan wins Eesti Laul 2022 with Hope

13 February 2022

After a succession of boring ballads, boring Stefan, full name Stefan Airapetjan, won Eesti Laul 2022 with the less boring and far more engaging, country and western styled, Hope. It was a story of perseverance, if not extortion, for boring Stefan, as he seemed intent on competing every year until Estonia picked him. Third in 2018 (as part of Vaje), third in 2019, and seventh in 2020, it seems the change in style was designed to reset him with the Estonian audience, and it worked.

Stefan wins Eesti Laul 2022 with Hope - Review - Eurovision Estonia
Stefan wins Eesti Laul 2022 with Hope – Image: Liisa Rull/ERR

Leading after the first round of voting in 2019 (comprises 50% jury and 50% public), boring Stefan was dumped on his backside in the super final behind Victor Crone and Uku Suviste. He was second after the first round in 2018 before being dumped to third behind Stig Rästa and the dominant Elina Nechayeva. In 2022, the super final finally looked after him where he got 62% of the vote, compared to 31% for Minimal Wind feat. Elisabeth Tiffany (with What To Make Of This) and 6% for Elysa (Fire).

While boring Stefan’s win wasn’t a surprise, very surprising was that Anna Sahlene missed the super final. Estonia’s delectable entrant on home soil in 2002, where she finished third with Runaway, Sahlene was only awarded fifth place by the public. In the jury phase, she finished third behind Minimal Wind and boring Stefan. These three songs were the top three for the public too.

Curiously, Minimal Wind and Elysa were the two finalists that didn’t compete in the semi finals due to testing positive for COVID-19, so the theory they may get an advantage by being fresh seems to have proven true. At least so for Elysa, whose entry, in comparison to Anna Sahlene’s, was rubbish. Minimal Wind were always interesting. The public vote meant Sahlene finished fourth overall, to just miss the super final. Eesti TV have yet to release the specific positions of the public’s top three or the combined top three (so not to influence the second round), although, it’s safe to presume boring Stefan won the public vote as Estonians typically validate their first round vote in the super final.

A special mention to Mr Lordi of Lordi fame (represented Finland in 2006, if for some bizarre reason you don’t remember), who was only one of two jury members to award Sahlene top points. The other being Natalie Horler of Cascada (Germany 2013). While I’d like to rail against the international jury for almost ruining another Eesti Laul with their diabolical voting habits, in this case, both them and the public liked boring Stefan, with the public effusive about him, so I’ll keep my powder dry for next time.

Final Order

01 Stefan – Hope
02 Minimal Wind feat. Elisabeth Tiffany – What To Make Of This
03 Elysa – Fire
04 Anna Sahlene – Champion
05 Black Velvet – Sandra
06 Andrei Zevakin feat. Grete Paia – Mis nüüd saab
07 Ott Lepland – Aovalguses
08 Elina Nechayeva – Remedy
09 Stig Rästa – Interstellar
10 Jaagup Tuisk – Kui vaid


01 Elina Nechayeva – Remedy

Never as good as La Forza in 2018, and Elina’s vocals even started a bit wobbly. Great to see her back; she just needs something to really showcase her abilities next time. 7/10

02 Andrei Zevakin feat. Grete Paia – Mis nüüd saab

Grete Paia is so much better than this lifeless, albeit somewhat hypnotic, collaboration with a marginally talented himbo. 5/10

03 Jaagup Tuisk – Kui vaid

Like Elina Nechayeva failed in comparison to her previous entry, Jaagup failed compared to Beautiful Lie in 2020. The song was nice enough. It’s just that it needed more than walking around fake trees, and that’s reflected in his last place. 5/10

04 Elysa – Fire

This was always the unknown given Elysa missed performing at the semi finals due to a positive COVID-19 result, and while this is decent song and got a serviceable performance, it didn’t light my fire. 6/10

05 Ott Lepland – Aovalguses

Ott seemed to tone the screaming down a bit. Or perhaps my ears are becoming desensitised to it? Either way, and much like Elina and Jaagup, compared to his glorious Kuula in 2012, this wasn’t much. 6/10

06 Stig Rästa – Interstellar

Surprising that Stig finished second last. Actually a really nice song, with a nice progression and finale. Perhaps Estonians are are just sick of Stig. Like boring Stefan (had he lost), Stig should take a break from Eesti Laul. Probably a long break. He’s not only had his go, he’s been to Eurovision too (with Elina Born in 2015). 7/10

07 Minimal Wind feat. Elisabeth Tiffany – What To Make Of This

No surprise this dominated the jury vote, being so artistic and unique. Also, it was really good, and Elisabeth provided some nice vocal touches. Jazz can be hit or miss in that sense, and this time it was a hit. Not to forget it had the verve of freshness after missing the semi finals due to COVID-19. 8/10

08 Stefan – Hope

I’ll admit, this is an engaging song and does get you humming along, and boring Stefan provided the most accomplished performance of the night. Also, credit to boring Stefan for persisting through the years. He’s a very likeable guy, and being of Armenian origin (born in Estonia), is a nice story of a migrant family embraced by their new country. It’s just that boring Stefan is so boring! Yes, “boring” will be the prefix for the foreseeable future whenever I mention boring Stefan. Just like I did now. 6/10

09 Anna Sahlene – Champion

Anna added a few extra touches from her semi final performance, was full of energy, sung great, the song was always my favourite, and she left the most memorable performance. I’m a bit puzzled that the public voted her so low in fifth. She was at least top three. Perhaps 20 years is too long ago for many to remember or even know her. 9/10

10 Black Velvet – Sandra

Highly addictive and engaging song – and performance. Fifth place is a decent result considering it’s a band of older gents and it a song in Estonian. More local appeal than broader appeal, as evidenced by the public ranking them fourth and the international jury sixth. 7/10

Average score of 6.6 means it was a really good Eest Laul. Already looking forward to next year.

My Top 3

01 Anna Sahlene – Champion
02 Minimal Wind feat. Elisabeth Tiffany – What To Make Of This
03 Black Velvet – Sandra


04 Elina Nechayeva – Remedy
05 Stig Rästa – Interstellar
06 Stefan – Hope
07 Elysa – Fire
08 Ott Lepland – Aovalguses
09 Andrei Zevakin feat. Grete Paia – Mis nüüd saab
10 Jaagup Tuisk – Kui vaid

Eesti Laul 2022 Final – Preview & My Top 10


4 responses to “Stefan wins Eesti Laul 2022 with Hope

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