Last year Estonia sought to turn Eesti Laul into the Melodifestivalen of the Baltics by moving its national selection into the Saku Arena and pumping up the show’s production value.

But despite an impressive national final, the country’s golden boy Jüri Pootsmann ultimately came last in his semi-final at Eurovision 2016.

No doubt hoping to improve on that result, producers have decided to tweak their selection format for Eurovision 2017 and are accepting submissions from non-native authors for the very first time.

In a statement sent to wiwibloggs, Estonian broadcaster ERR explains that foreign composers and lyricists can submit songs so long as at least half of the music has been authored by an Estonian or Estonian resident. The lyrics may be composed by any person of any nationality.

Matt Normet, producer of Eesti Laul, seemed to pre-empt fan fears that an influx of foreign songs — (read that as Swedish-produced songs) — could overwhelm and overshadow local contributions.

“We are opening the door for non-native authors carefully to avoid a flood of template pop music which has no connection to Estonia. With the idea of opening the borders we want to fortify our music, stir the blood and bring in new ideas, offering new opportunities to our authors. Cooperation is the keyword.”

There’s more.

The broadcaster is also reserving the right to invite any artist it wishes to enter the jury phase of the competition, “allowing us to target artists who we want to see in the competition.”

The full rules and necessary forms can be found on the official website at eestilaul.ee, but here are some highlights:

  • One author or group of authors can participate in the contest with up to three songs
  • A single performer or a group of performers can submit up to three songs
  • Songs must be brought to ERR’s reception desk — yes, you need to hand-deliver them yourself — at Gonsiori 27, Tallinn, by 1 November 2016 at 15:00 local time
  • Submissions should also include photos and short biographies of the performers, questionnaires answered by each team member and the lyrics to the song (because we all know they can be rul hard to decipher without text)

ERR will no longer accept submissions on CDs, which some of our older readers may remember as DVD-like circular discs that were once popular in the distribution of music.

“We have taken a big step into the 21st century — this year we will not wait for CDs with the songs anymore,” Normet said. “Bringing the songs in personally is testimony that the team is one hundred per cent behind their creation. It’s not just comfortable virtual clicking and uploading, but still the real cost of energy and movement.”

The Eesti Laul 2017 semi-finals will take place on the 11th and 18th of February at the ERR studios. The final will take place on the 4th of March at the Saku Arena.

Tickets are already on sale and available at Piletilevi.

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mocosuburbian
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mocosuburbian

but Supernova still exists so no harm done

mocosuburbian
Guest
mocosuburbian

i’m kind of disappointed since Eesti Laul was one of the few national finals that consistently brought a variety of genres/styles to the table, adding foreign/Swedish songwriters takes out a lot of Estonian talent and inserts a lot of bland pop a la ‘Supersonic’
which is boring tbh :/

Tony
Guest

All these announcement s and changes in the NF’s for the Baltics and Scandinavia are really starting to get the Eurofan blood flowing in me. I think this is definitely a step in the right direction in regards to making the Eurovision final. However, the flip side of that is what a lot of other people are saying: Don’t dilute the local scene(which IMHO is one of the most unique in all of Europe) with international influence to the point that your own identity is lost or absorbed. It would be great to see Eesti in the final again, especially… Read more »

james
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james

They really messed up by not picking Mick Pedaja this year. Seis would have stood out hugely in contrast to the upbeat pop songs that made up the majority of the contest.

khm
Guest
khm

I hope the including of foreign songwritters means we will see Kerli on EL. ????

Ewan
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Ewan

As evidenced by entrants like Anett Kulbin, Wurffel and Windy Beach, Estonia already has a good pool of songwriters talent. Hopefully the change to the rules will help add the extra something these sorts of songs need to win. And of course there’s always a question of what matters more, the song or its potential to win eurovision. ‘Salty Wounds’ was often labelled not eurovision friendly, but on the other hand it was the best thing I’ve seen come out of Eesti Laul besides Rändajad. Yet Play flopped despite being seen as a safer song, especially in the wake of… Read more »

Polegend Godgarina
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Polegend Godgarina

It’s no surprise they came last, they picked that very forgettable song only because Stig Rästa won it. Hopefully next year they pick a strong song/performance like Immortality by Cartoon & Kristel Aaslaid, it was breathtaking!

I don’t think they need foreign authors to do well – they had several brilliant entries at this year’s Laul. I wouldn’t be here for badly-written, uninspired, generic, stale-sounding Swedish productions like the ones Azerbaijan has been sending almost every year since their sophomore. Hopefully the local talents will triumph again! I wish Estonia the best.

MoreMusicLessGlamourPlease
Guest
MoreMusicLessGlamourPlease

Eesti laul features some of the most interesting, alternative and musically daring NF-songs I think. It’s not important for everyone what will “work in ESC or not”. It’s difficult to tell in advance anyway. And the point of a NF is to reflect the diversity of the local music scene.

So I was a bit sceptical about this change, but how it will work remains to be seen. Let’s hope it won’t change, into more generic songs with this change (as echoed in the article) I think they (still) will bring out a musically interesting / diverse NF 🙂

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

I like the idea of allowing collaborations with songwriters from other countries (i.e, Sweden). Eesti Laul is one of the few national finals that seems packed with great songs, and yet they’re not always good Eurovision songs.

The three songs in the super final this year (“Play”, “Supersonic”, “Immortality”) all had something missing, and an experienced song craftsperson from across the Baltic Sea could be all that’s needed for Estonia to grab their second victory.

Having said that, Meisterjaan is an artist and should not dilute his art.