Yesterday the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — travelled to Estonia, where we wandered around Tallinn’s Old Town, before gathering at a local cafe. There we discussed Jüri Pootsmann‘s song “Play”. Did we want to play along? Or were we calling a time-out? Read on to find out!

Jüri Pootsmann – “Play”

“Play” reviews

Deban: Dreamy-pop veiled with silky sex — totes j’adore! Pootsmann’s voice penetrates the soul and the song smoulders with clever production values. The key change at the bridge provides enough sensory variety without departing from its core. Yes, Stig Rasta composed this, but Pootsmann gives it life!

Score: 7.5/10

Kristin: Stig has done it again! For me, “Play” is slightly better than “Goodbye to Yesterday”, and it has everything to do with Juri himself and his deep and seductive voice, along with the rhythm of the song, and its sultry yet mesmerising beat. I just want to say: “Thank you Stig and Juri, and thank you Estonia”. This is one of strongest entries this year, and hopefully Estonia will see another top-ten result. At least you’re in my top ten.

Score: 9/10

Angus: Estonia burst out of the gates early in the year, but “Play” has been falling back since. Jüri’s vocal is super strong and emotive, but during the lower registers the song verges on boring, before it is pulled back into a big balladeer chorus. The staging needs more than colour changes to give it real power.

Score: 3/10

Bogdan: It wasn’t my favourite song of the Estonian selection (I will never forget Mick Pedaja’s extraordinary performance of “Seis”), but I can’t deny the qualities of “Play”. Jüri’s performance is layered and complex and, despite uneventful staging, the singer managed to convince me of what he was singing about. But still, a middle-of-the-road entry, inferior to Stig and Elina’s brilliant “Goodbye To Yesterday”.

Score: 7.5/10

Padraig: In some parallel reality, Michael Bublé and Draco Malfoy had a sordid love affair and Juri Pootsman was born. To be fair, it’s probably a touch harsh to put the Estonian singer in the same category as Bublé. Pootsman’s voice possesses a unique timbre that sets him apart from your typical crooner. If only he knew what to do with it. For on “Play” he completely loses perspective. In his bid to capture the dark and moody nature of the song, he ends up coming across as sinister and creepy. The stage show in particular is the stuff of horror movies. If he had a song more like his current single with Cartoon he’d qualify with ease. But as a spawn of Slytherin he’s borderline at best.

Score: 4.5/10

Denise: Juri is making me scared. They way he’s looking into the camera, like he sees right through your soul. He has the same rawness in his voice as Justs and Freddie, but the songs are really different so each and every song will stand out. “Play” is really good, but what do you want with a songwriter like Stig?

Score: 8.5/10

Robyn: “Play” is one of my big favourites for 2016. I love how seductive the song feels, with the staging making Jüri seem like a lounge singer in a 1960s bordello. He has a great voice, so smooth and expressive. I’m not totally convinced by the staging at Eesti Laul, but given that Estonia usually has good staging game, I’m expecting it to fully come alive in Stockholm.

Score: 8/10

Mikhail: This song is simple, but at the same time astonishing. Jüri becomes some kind of dark master — he gives you chills, tears into your soul, manipulates you, lures you, captivates you — all by looking at you through the camera. When Hovi Star sings “You hypnotise me”, it’s definitely about Jüri. And the song just adds something to the atmosphere. It is dark, mystical and it really plays with your mind.

Score: 8.5/10

Mike: When Jüri Pootsmann looks into the camera he makes me feel guilty I am watching him that closely while he performs. This song is a masterpiece and I doubt there is anyone in Estonia or wherever who could perform this song better than Jüri. If the Estonians stage this song as well as they staged their entry in Vienna, it will be a really strong outsider for the competition and we might have to travel to Tallinn next year.

Score: 10/10

William: Composer Stig Rästa loves throwback sounds and “Play” is doused in them, serving 1960s cool-cat realness. At Eesti Laul, Jüri reflected those sounds with his mod styling and his porn star voice, which is deeper than the ocean and sounds like it has been soaked in testosterone for several decades. Boring, dull, uninspiring — it does absolutely nothing for me. Let the ’60s live in the past.

Score: 3/10

Judit: Jüri has a George Ezra-feeling — a baby face with a man’s voice. This song is a slow poison — maybe you don’t fall in love the first time, but I bet you will adore it in May. Well done, Estonia! Simple but awesome!

Score: 8/10

Patrick: Jüri is a really mysterious person both visually and vocally. The song is very radio-friendly, carries a nice melody and good lyrics, and is delivered with a dark, fantastic voice. He knows how to work the camera, how to to move and everything seems on point. Unfortunately with a bad draw it may get forgotten. Let’s hope the staging in Stockholm gives this even more lift. I hope Estonia will do well again!

Score: 8/10

In the Wiwi Jury we have 40 jurors but only have room for 12 reviews. The remaining 28 scores are below.

Anthony: 8.5/10

Antranig: 9/10

Bernardo: 7.5/10

Chris: 7/10

Cristian: 5/10

David: 5/10

Dayana: 8.5/10

Diego: 7.5/10

Edd: 6.5/10

Forrest: 9.5/10

George: 7.5/10

Gökhan: 10/10

Jason: 7.5/10

Josh: 7.5/10

Liam: 10/10

Luis: 9/10

Marek: 8/10

Maria: 7.5/10

Mario: 3/10

Max: 8/10

Renske: 7/10

Rezo: 4/10

Sami: 9.5/10

Sinan: 7/10

Steinunn: 9.5/10

Tobias: 2/10

William C: 8.5/10

Zakaria: 4.5/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The highest and lowest scores are dropped prior to calculating the average score. This is to remove outliers and reduce potential bias. We have removed a low of 2 and a high of 10.

WIWI JURY SCORE: 7.29/10

SEE OUR CURRENT EUROVISION 2016 REVIEWS AND RANKINGS

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Maëlle
Guest
Maëlle

Last year Estonia was my favourite, I’m still listening to it and I’m still pretty sad that they didn’t end up higher.
This year, I love Play (and Jüri). I hope he’s gonna go through, because he has a real stage presence and he sings so well. I think that I’m in love with those retro compositions that Stig makes, he’s a brilliant composer/lyricist!
Congrats Estonia, you are one of my favourite countries at ESC now!

Holden
Guest
Holden

Since he was selected, this song has been one of my favourites. 9/10

GermanQR
Guest
GermanQR

Estonia was my favorite last year, only closely followed by Norway and Italy (I don’t rate plagiarism, which succeeded last year unfortunately). Goodbye to Yesterday oozed class, excellent production and a perfect retro feel. This? Nope. Sorry Estonia.

Juan
Guest
Juan

This is like Estonia’s flag. Simple, effective and beautiful. On my top 3.

9 / 10

John Doe
Guest
John Doe

I am not convinced at all. He is trying to be sexy, but he is not.

irish esc
Guest
irish esc

thales i totally agree with you.

Thales
Guest
Thales

This is great. Modern, with an excelent singer and an excelent instrumental. I liked his performance on Eesti Laul. And I don’t see comparisons between Jüri and George Ezra. Okay, they both reach low notes, but I can tell that their voices are really different from each other. Jüri is one of the best singers of this year. He got a lot of control in his voice, that matches perfectly with the song. Even though doesn’t have great effects that might could stand out the performance, it’s an entry that you can appreciate the song (the same thing about “Goodbye… Read more »

James
Guest
James

@MTD
Yes I did thanks. They are not apples and oranges. They have the same writer! lol. Play contains several of the same elements even down to the Quentin Tarantino-esque guitar played by Stig.

MTD
Guest
MTD

@James – did you proofread your comment before commenting? Because, you’re mixing oranges and apples. Alas…

Huh
Guest
Huh

I’ve never thought anything sexy about Jüri and his song. I thought the song was appropriate for a more older person but Jüri made it better. And his facial expression and body language compliments it well. Estonia better qualify again to the finals!

James
Guest
James

@Hamed and others saying William doesn’t like anything prior to his age, FYI he gave “Goodbye To Yesterday” a very high mark and that had the same writer, and if anything IMO a more retro sound. Maybe he just doesn’t like it, as opposed to not liking it because it doesn’t sound gay. Yes he says let the 60s live in the past, but that’s more because this sounds like a lazy rip off of an old sound, as opposed to using retro sounds to create a great new track. Goodbye To Yesterday certainly didn’t sound gay, so your argument… Read more »

deli
Guest
deli

” he ends up coming across as sinister and creepy”
It is advantage and it is great!

We don’t want sweet sugary princesses and boys who just run out from boysbands .

Redfox
Guest
Redfox

our trump card is Jüris´ kind and sincere personality. I would be too surprised if he doesnt become the press favorite! He is just too nice, even towards weirdos (like me, khmm)

doesnt matter how we do, the mission is to do better than last year: grab some invitations & project offers. Despite the popularity of GtY, E&S seemed disappointed at the scarcity of international work offers. Let´s hope Jüri does better with his unique voice.

MTD
Guest
MTD

Oh, you know nothing William! Get back to your gay-disco-sound or Malta.

KV
Guest
KV

Unpopular opinion – I hated Estonia last year. So with all the fanwank over “Play”, I was very worried I was going to hate it. But Mr. Pootsmann has proved me wrong, I love this velvety sexy style and the chorus kills me. This is sexy, simplistic, sublime – all the S’s! It can feel kind of boring on it’s own in the later stages, but staging could elevate this immensely, as long as a repeat of last year’s staging doesn’t happen.

Scored: 8.5/10

Ben Rafter
Guest
Ben Rafter

8.5/10
Despite being in the strongest semi, he should easily qualify. He sings great and the song is brilliant. I nearly always agree with William’s opinions, however giving this a 3 is a joke!!!!!!

Nitzan
Guest
Nitzan

This has to be a judges favorite. Classy act and a sexy boy with old school quality. Eesti Laul became quite impressive didn’t it?

GEF
Guest
GEF

Thanks Robyn, I have done it now. I am in the minority of people who like the Belgian song. Very catchy, funky and unique. So my rating would be right now.

Play: 9,0
Ghost: 8,5
What’s the pressure?: 7,5
Icebreaker: 6,5

Racal
Guest
Racal

The problem of both Estonia and Latvia this year is that they are trying to replicate the exact same formula that worked for them last year (which is understandable, since they both missed the final during years). This is problematic in two respect: first, there’s no surprise anymore; and second, the quality of their 2016 entries is clearly lower than last year’s.

Wouldn’t be surprised if they flop in the semis.

Bapak Lurah
Guest
Bapak Lurah

It’s on my top 5 (number 4 tho)~
His voice is so good, and his song is so—sexy, and matched with his voice. Everytime I see his stare I was like “JURI HAVE MY BABIES PLEASE” xD
But still, Goodbye to Yesterday was way better than this song imo.
8/10

oooops
Guest
oooops

Anton, from what I have seen, it was mostly Jazz or Disney Cinderella music that won in the 60s, but I don’t know if you’re right, but in either way, I want this Bond Ballad sung by Juri, and I want to see this win

EF0912
Guest
EF0912

Stig Rasta has produced another decent entry for Estonia. I much prefer Juri’s voice than Elina & Stig but the monotonous song is not adequate enough for such a good singer. That being said I do enjoy it and hope it will do well because Juri carries I well.
I’d give it a 7.5

André
Guest
André

Agreed with Padraig! Juri’s voice is lost in this song. I can’t hear any melody until chorus, when it seems he forces a lot to make it through. The song is stylish and totally retro, not outdated.

Demitrios
Guest
Demitrios

One of the coolest personalities of this year.

His song is nice and different from the rest but I fear it won’t appeal the vast majority of the eurovision audience.

He should be in the final.

Anton
Guest
Anton

This is the winner for Eurovision 1962 🙂

Hex
Guest
Hex

@Anton

There is a very sharp difference between being retro and outdated. It seems you haven’t really made a difference between the two.

Steven Keenan
Guest
Steven Keenan

It’s possibly going to get swallowed up in the first semi and is missing Norway/Denmark/Lithuania/Latvia for points

Anton
Guest
Anton

And these people say that Sergey Lazarev’s song is outdated)))

Peter Griffin
Guest
Peter Griffin

My favorite of the year! No one come even close to this masterpiece. I’m expecting another great result for Estonia this year, i hope so, because Eurovision also needs this classy songs especially in a year full of uptempo. SLAY JURI!

Colin
Guest
Colin

My favorite song of ESC 2016. Definitely a 10/10 song. It must pass in finals!

Darren
Guest
Darren

It’s a good song, I like it. It’s not in my top 10 but it is still quite good. It seems Estonia is trying to repeat their success’ of last years “goodbye to yesterday” by choosing a similar-ish song. It should qualify for sure, but I don’t think it will score as high as their 2015 attempt. I predict a top right hand side finish on the scoreboard. But who knows? 6/10

GEF
Guest
GEF

Wow 20 of your voters gave 8/10 or more. This is a good sign for success. The number of people liking a sng is more important than the number of those who dislike the song..

GEF
Guest
GEF

One more great song. In my view, one of the best and unique songs with a great and very intense 60s atmosphere.

My Voting so far:

Play: 9/10
Ghost: 8/10
Icebreaker: 6,5/10

#JustHitPlay
Guest
#JustHitPlay

He is such a fantastic singer. The song is a masterpiece. He can perform and mesmerrize the audience. I hope Estonia will be in Top 10.

Anton
Guest
Anton

Oh, James Bond theme again… Bo-o-o-o-oring!

Bhrister Cjorkman
Guest
Bhrister Cjorkman

Kills it, as in nails it

Roelof Meesters
Guest
Roelof Meesters

How funny is it that Patrick say this is radio-friendly. I like this, it’s really creepy and haunting, even more than Ghost. However, the verses are very boring and the song only comes alive in the last minute.

7.5/10

Bhrister Cjorkman
Guest
Bhrister Cjorkman

This will qualify with ease. There are doubts how it will do with audience vote but as far as the juries go this is very well composed and Jüri absolutely kills it. Top half of the final for me.

Hamed
Guest
Hamed

I’m sorry, but William is such a chronocentrist. It seems like he hates everything that is older than he is. “Musical ageist”.

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

The song is extremely dull and Jüri’s style does not do it any favours. There is not much range in his voice and the song severely drags on as a result. It definitely will not match Stig and Elina’s song from last year and would do well to get out of its semi-final. Still fairly unbelievable that Estonia went for this over Mick Pedaja’s mesmorising song….
4/10

esc 2016
Guest
esc 2016

10/10

Österrike
Guest
Österrike

The Baltics are stronger than usual but not as strong as last year. I think Estonia will struggle to click with a broader audience.

Tom
Guest
Tom

On the fence with this one. One listen and I like it, the next I’m bored. He has a great voice and he owns the song. It feels very George Ezra, but I feel it’s more a radio song.
My friend said he has creepy eyes…

Laburnum
Guest
Laburnum

Love it, but it may struggle to qualify.

jacob
Guest
jacob

9,5/10 – I love this song, it’s in my top 3. Everything about it is beautiful and his voice is so Deep you can drown in it.

oooops
Guest
oooops

Everyone watch this video, it is AiloSawyers top 10, it is so good. My favourites are Frans Bieber, Freddie, Pewdiepie and Draco Malfoy.
Here is the wanted video:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=F-9JUJg9xnQ

Jerome
Guest
Jerome

7.5/10
Immediately when I first heard him sing, I thought it was George Ezra. The vocals are quite good and can be appealing to the women. However, on first listen, I wasn’t really taken in by the song because it didn’t have a strong impact to keep me interested. I don’t mind listening to it when it comes on to “play” but I’m not exactly looking to put this on repeat. The live performance was well done though, so that’ll work in his favour.

MirkoJoshua
Guest
MirkoJoshua

I doubt estonian qualification…

Digital Style
Guest
Digital Style

I didn’t like this song at all initially but it has grown on me to land a spot in my Top 5. His voice is great and the song sticks in your head forever. Stage this correctly and it could definitely win. Oh, and is it just me, or does he look like Manuel Neuer?