Tere Eesti! The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — has taken the ferry to Tallinn. After admiring the city’s Old Town, we gathered in a cafe to discuss Estonia’s entry for Eurovision 2017 — “Verona” from Koit Toome & Laura. Did it have us dreaming of star-crossed lovers? Or just the unfortunate deaths at the end? Read on to find out!
Koit Toome & Laura – “Verona”
Koit Toome & Laura
Koit Toome and Laura Põldvere are both veterans of Eurovision. Koit previously represented Estonia at Eurovision 1998 at the age of 19. His song “Mere lapsed” placed 12th in the grand final. Laura represented Estonia at Eurovision 2005 at the age of 16. She was part of the girl group Suntribe, whose song “Let’s Get Loud” placed 20th in the single semi-final. Both Koit and Laura have built careers in the Estonian music industry, with Koit focusing on musical theatre and Laura on jazz and pop. The duo won Estonia’s national final Eesti Laul 2017 with their dramatic duet “Verona”, ensuring them a return to Eurovision.
William: Did Laura say we wake up with a “butt” in our hands? Enunciation issues aside, her voice is rich and melodic, and works well with his sexy intonations. Unlike so many Eurovision duets, which sound like they’re stuck in another era, this manages to straddle eras. At times it harks back to Phil Collins and Glen Menderios. But the production pulls it firmly into 2017 — especially the supersonic, Nordic chorus. The more I hear this, the more I heart it. Visually it’s dynamic and perfectly pitched — from the close-up facial expressions to the back-and-forth camera shots, capturing the distance between lovers stuck in limbo. I’m starting to think Romeo & Juliet has a happy ending.
Bernardo: Take me to Verona already. Estonia is bringing a classic mid-tempo ballad that comes with great voices and memorable staging. A captivating love story brought to life with well-crafted production. Will this be enough to conquer the hearts of Europe? While it lacks a bit of power, the drama and the mystery grab you from the first note and only let you go after the last verse.
Deban: The story of Romeo and Juliet has inspired a thousand tales, and in its wake shaped how generations define eternal love. Estonia’s “Verona” is on a similar path. Where other acts have shown up to the contest with a single story, Koit Toome and Laura are competing with an anthology. Furthermore, their entry crosses several decades with substance, vocal conviction and an insanely catchy hook. With the right resources, this should peak in the top five.
Luis: My love/hate relationship with this song is similar to the one Koit and Laura sing about. Their vocal harmonies are fine, the first verses are engaging and the camera work at Eesti Laul was sleek. However, as much as their harmonies sound beautiful, I can’t get past their lack (or rather, absence) of chemistry. Also, the last 90 seconds of the song transform an acceptable song into a kitsch 90s throwback.
Robyn: I love this song a bit too much. I love the Giorgio Moroder-style disco comeback sound, I love Koit and Laura’s duetting, I love the super dramatic lyrics (“This western type of woman; western type of man”), and I love the staging with all its lingering glances and intense eyebrow acting. If Estonia can improve on all of that (and I expect they will), this will be a highlight of Kyiv.
Chris: In a year where the field may seem so close, could a surprise duet come through to win? Well, if it’s “Verona”, then it’s going to need a lot more help than Azerbaijan did in 2011. The final minute of the song, when the drama finally comes through, is stunning. Before that, we’re lost in a mire of cheesy guitar and tepid chemistry between Koit and Laura. If they can improve on the staging from Eesti Laul, this could rise a little more.
Sinan: Ok, that’s a super typical Eurovision song! Just listen to those vocals with that instrumental — the lyrics are so amazing. And I love the chemistry between Laura and Koit — they are going to bring the stage down with their vocals. I see this song in the top ten of the final. Good luck, guys!
Jovana: There is something that makes me like “Verona”, even if I can spot several flaws. I suppose that the key is in its catchy chorus and Koit and Laura’s harmonies. However, that doesn’t change the fact it sounds a bit cheesy and outdated, like it was taken straight from the 1990s.
In our Wiwi Jury, we have 38 jurors but only room for eight reviews. The rest of our scores can be found below:
Before calculating the average score, the highest and lowest scores are dropped. This is to remove outliers and reduce potential bias. We have removed a low of 4 and a high of 10.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 7/10
What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!