It has a reputation as being one of the most artistic national finals. And today Estonian broadcaster ERR revealed the 10 songs that will be competing in the first semi-final of Eesti Laul — proving its knack for avant-garde (and quirky) yet again.
ERR kept fans in suspense, releasing one song per hour, streamed live on the Eesti Laul website. The songs were revealed in random order on the hour. TV host Mai Palling and Vanilla Ninja guitarist Piret Järvis also chatted with the artists as their songs were revealed.
A total of 20 acts are competing to represent Estonia at Eurovision 2017 — and to hopefully give their country a better result than Jüri Pootsmann, who came last in his semi-final in Stockholm. On the list of confirmed semi-finalists for 2017 is Elina Born, who will be performing a song written by her Vienna duet partner Stig Rästa. Also returning is former Suntribe member Laura, 1996 ESC representative Ivo Linna, Vanilla Ninja lead singer Lenna Kuurmaa and 2015 Eesti Laul runner-up Daniel Levi.
The Eesti Laul 2017 semi-finals will take place on the 11th and 18th of February at ERR studios. The final will take place on the 4th of March at Saku Arena. wiwiblogger William thew down his opinions below as the songs came online, and you can read them below.
Eesti Laul 2017 – Semi-final one
“Somewhere in the sky there’s a rainbow,” she says. And if it’s as lovely as Lenna’s voice then we want to see it! She layers her ethereal vocals over piano, horns and electronic sounds, giving a modern take on the traditional Eurovision ballad.
No, this doesn’t reach the heights of “Goodbye to Yesterday”. But it does allow Elina to show off her sexy voice, which sounds gritty, gutterul and strong against the banging of drums and summery sound of the sax.
Nodding to Brit pop but pulling it firmly into 2016, Carl-Philip has created a song that’s current, dreamy, and memorable. We’ll never be the same again! This is definitely a contender — regardless of the quality of songs that follow.
Having been a performer for more than 50 years, Ivo is putting the old in old school. Sweet, tender, folksy — this song comes from another era and serves Hasse Andersson Melodifestivalen realness. It’d be the perfect accompaniment to a dance in your farmhouse. The thing is: Most voters don’t have farmhouses and the target audience — octogenerians — may not have smartphones with which to vote. But this is great for variety.
Ariadne has a breathy, quietly powerful voice and the song seems to mix balladry and digital polka. The electro backing is at times very Super Mario Brothers (from the original Nintendo). But despite all that this doesn’t have a particularly memorable shape or melody. It just sort of plods along. Beautiful singer, though.
The opening is electronic, on-trend and expensive. But then it slowly descends into sleaze and schmaltz with lyrics like “that body’s sexual the way you work it.” Well, thank you. We could look past that if there were a super catchy hook, but there’s not. This teases, but doesn’t get us to climax.
She rose to fame with rock band Ziggy Wild. And with “Hey Kiddo” she once again drops her unique brand of quirky, experimental pop. This mixes bubble gum sweetness with light beats, wooden drumstick taps and a bit of ukulele. We appreciate the tropical breeze and spirit, but this is ultimately just a tad boring.
This is electronic rock that really works. The instrumentation is so unique we can’t identify some of the sounds — but there appears to be a zither, an electro organ, a salt shaker, the rat-tat-tat of a digital drum and some kind of cartoon squeeze box. We hear shades of the Postal Service as well. The contrasting vocals — she all angelic and soaring, he all brooding and gritty — work so well together!
The opening bars of this hark back to The Smiths and R.E.M. — bands that reached their heights decades ago. Then comes a truly dated mid-section, and then an irritating, loud and largely unpleasant ending…all sung in Estonian. It’s inaccessible, dated and somewhat cheap — especially when compared to the well-produced entries that precede it.
Do you remember Ivo’s farmhouse from earlier? Well Leemet is probably singing in the dive bar down the street, no doubt with bales of hay at the bar and peanut shells on the floor. This is country music with a Wild West rock edge and I’m really not feeling it. I think Leemet would have to show up in leather boots — and nothing else — to make this more exciting.
The songs for semi-final two will be revealed next Thursday, 15 December.
- Almost Natural – “Electric”
- Alvistar Funk Association – “Make Love, Not War”
- Angeelia – “We Ride With Our Flow”
- Antsud – “Vihm” (Rain)
- Close To Infinity feat. Ian Karell – “Sounds Like Home”
- Daniel Levi – “All I Need”
- Kerli – “Spirit Animal”
- Koit Toome & Laura – “Verona”
- Liis Lemsalu – “Keep Running”
- Rasmus Rändvee – “This Love”