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

Lenna Kuurmaa – “Slingshot” 

“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.

Elina Born – “In or Out”

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.

Carl-Philip – “Everything But You”

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.

Ivo Linna – “Suur loterii” (Big Lottery)

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 – “Feel Me Now”

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.

Uku Suviste – “Supernatural”

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.

Laura Prits – “Hey Kiddo”

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.

Karl-Kristjan & Whogaux feat. Maian – “Have You Now”

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!

Janno Reim & Kosmos – “Valan pisaraid” (I’m Pouring Tears)

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.

Leemet Onno – “Hurricane”

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”

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oliverisamazing
oliverisamazing
3 years ago

I’m actually disappointed by all of these songs. Slingshot is the only one I find bearable but it’s totally ruined by this concept (most artists have in this year’s preselection) of “Let’s sing in english and westernise our songs because that will give us a win!” I was hoping for more Mick Pedaja and Lenna (2012) mystic/alternative genre of songs but instead this happened. Lenna and Elina could’ve won this year, shame their songs are sub-par.

Polegend Godgarina
Polegend Godgarina
3 years ago

@ mocosuburbian – I was actually expecting a bad song from her just because she’s Elina Born, and that’s exactly what I got :—)

Polegend Godgarina
Polegend Godgarina
3 years ago

“Slingshot” – Very beautiful song in the style of Anouk. Won’t be a televote magnet, but it sounds like a jury darling. “In or Out” – Super basic and super forgettable. Another guaranteed SF last place. “Everything But You” – Maroon 5 called, they want their 2012 sound back. Also, he’s 24? Kii, he looks 17. King of youth. “Suur loterii” – I might be biased because “Kaelakee hääl” is in my top 10 favorite ESC songs of all time, but his fantastic voice + the nostalgic yet modern sound = a GREAT song. I don’t think it would work… Read more »

Badger
Badger
3 years ago

Out of all the national selections that have released songs so far this year, this is unambiguously my favourite. So far, all of the selections have had a lot of mediocre/boring songs with maybe one or two good ones, but Estonia is not playing! To some extent, I actually quite liked every song here! I kept waiting for an outright bad one, but no! They all sounded nice and radio friendly. I’m impressed! No, I don’t think any of the songs are Eurovision winners, but if any of these songs got through, they definitely wouldn’t sound out of place or… Read more »

oooops
oooops
3 years ago

1. Valan Pisaraid
2. In our out
3. Hurricane
4. Everything but you

D
D
3 years ago

“Valan pisaraid” is by far my favorite of this semi, but I can tell the Wiwi crowd would hate it

D
D
3 years ago

“Have You Now” is a clear ripoff of “Closer” by The Chainsmokers and Halsey

Pavel
Pavel
3 years ago

Janno Reim & Kosmos is trippy in fact. A bit psychedelic.

Name
Name
3 years ago

Why so many complaints? Isn’t that what you all wanted? You are all Melfestholics for some weird reason. Melfestholics pushed Estonia so far that made them to change basically everything and still not happy? Estonia has done great work with EL previously and they basically got zero credit in Eurovision for that. No wonder they decided to change completely.

Sandy
Sandy
3 years ago

I like Lenna’s song, but then again it’s perhaps too obvious “I’m gonna win ESC with this song” kind of song. Also that “oo oo oo” part reminds me the similar part from “Peponi”. I hate when peeps try to smuggle in something really good from another famous songs. Never the less, I think this song is powerfulvand might have a chance for success. Because it’s “obviously” a great song.

Looking forward to the second part. Rooting for Kerli and some others. Hopes are up.

Paul D.
Paul D.
3 years ago

Ariadne – “Feel Me Now” and Leemet Onno – “Hurricane” are quite good as well

RMN
RMN
3 years ago

I wish I could see Winny Puhh waving Estonian flag on ESC stage someday. Púr Múdd would be also good option with something like “The way it goes”. Greatings from Poland.

voxtaylor
voxtaylor
3 years ago

Wow, “Have you Now” is literally “Closer” by the Chainsmokers. It’s better than Closer, but it still had that cheapie feel to it. Looking forward to Kerli and something atmospheric by Angeelia.

Paul D.
Paul D.
3 years ago

I like Lenna Kuurmaa – “Slingshot” the most

mad-professor
mad-professor
3 years ago

For me, it’s got to be Elina, Laura, and Karl-Kristjan & Whogaux ft. Maian.

Vanessa
Vanessa
3 years ago

Carl Philip is my current favorite 🙂

Héctor
Héctor
3 years ago

I was expecting something better tbh…

(J)ESC Fanatic
(J)ESC Fanatic
3 years ago

1. Elina Born
2. Lenna Kuurmaa
3. Carl-Philip
4. Ariadne

Elina again on top! Great job! I enjoy the other three too but unfortunately, the rest are not even decent. Let’s hope for better entries in the second semi-final.

Otherwise… #TeamElina! 🙂

Chance
Chance
3 years ago

Leena, Elina and Leemet are my top 3.

dutchie
dutchie
3 years ago

Everything But You is probably the best song, a decent enough pop ditty, and written by Dutch songwriters instead of Swedish for a change. The other Dutch song, Hurricane, is disappointing since I like the guy who wrote it, and he has way better songs. Karl-Kristjan & Wogaux sound like The Chainsmokers, and that awful hit song of theirs.

Smurfen
Smurfen
3 years ago

Eesti Laul is so overrated. Nothing special about these songs. I not disappointed since I’m not expected any better songs from Estonia.

cheesecake
cheesecake
3 years ago

Little bit disappointed, expected some more original and alternatvie songs, maybe in semi 2…
Most of them are good, but no standout for me. Elina’s “In Or Out” is cool, but I expected a bit more.
“Have You Now” is my winner here.

Marc
Marc
3 years ago

After listening all 10 songs this is just disappointing. I always expect a lot from Estonia.
They are kinda good, but that’s it. Nothing special here. Honestly, I wouldn’t listen again these songs.
Atm I don’t see potential here. It will all depend on the stage and charisma.
I hope Semi 2 will be stronger.

Fairy
Fairy
3 years ago

The only thing that bothers me about “Hurricane” is that its beginning sounds exactly like Hurts-“Miracle”. Other than that, a decent entry along with all the others. Let’s see what the second semi will bring to the table.

James
James
3 years ago

None of these can hold a candle to Seis from last year.

Amar
Amar
3 years ago

I think Elina’s song is underrated! I’m getting l’amore femmina mixed with Satellite vibes, and if staged correctly could be a strong contemporary stand out! A lot of potential here.

Bartosz
Bartosz
3 years ago

Actually I must say that I am disappointed. Of course, songs are better than in Finland and Belarus, but still they’re not great. My favourite at the moment is Antsud “Vihm” (you can find it on youtube, it’s not realsed on ERR site yet). From songs that got published today I like most Ariadne “Feel Me Now”

Hiro
Hiro
3 years ago

I’m more interested in Koit Toome’s entry than Elina’s lol
His ”Mere Lapsed” was my favorite entry in 1998

MoreMusicLessGlamourPlease
MoreMusicLessGlamourPlease
3 years ago

always many great, altnerative, innovative quality songs in Eesti laul. The best NF 🙂

Escfannn
Escfannn
3 years ago

@grete paia
What are you talking about? Who says i woke up at 3 am?

Grete Paia
Grete Paia
3 years ago

“i woke up at 3 am “……Really? Well i woke up at 6 am, my eyes were closed but my mind was awake

Jr esc nl
Jr esc nl
3 years ago

Wooow ‘have you now’ is very good!

MTD
MTD
3 years ago

From today’s batch:

Elina
Carl-Phillip
Karl-Kristjan & Whogaux feat. Maian

I’ll download them. Thanks Estonia. 🙂

MTD
MTD
3 years ago

I am all over these songs today (and the Hungarian ones) and there’s seem to be a pattern here – radio-friendly songs all over the place(s). Not that I am against it, but…once come May, we will hear them times 43. And it’s gonna be like a Top40 hits show…radio edition.

I dunno. Kinda dull.

Even tho, I am hearing radio-friendly songs daily.

But, maybe this is a good sign. ESC should be modern and radio-friendly. OK. Be it. 🙂

MarioMario
MarioMario
3 years ago

Elina is overrated.

Escfannn
Escfannn
3 years ago

‘Have You Now’ is the best FOR NOW!

Mats
Mats
3 years ago

Meh.. I hope second semi will be better.

Ellie
Ellie
3 years ago

Very radio friendly pop songs, I wonder if the second semi will be a little more alternative?Overall the level is pretty good but a bit too generic. However, the standouts so far are Lenna & Elina, I personally don’t think Elina is a contender to win though. I feel like the 2nd semi-final will be stronger, I’m expecting great songs from Kerli, Rasmus Rändvee, Liis Lemsalu, Laura & Koit, Daniel Levi.

YoungsterJoey
YoungsterJoey
3 years ago

Team Kerli

Me
Me
3 years ago

ooooh! elina and carl-philip sound realllllllly good!

Zebb
Zebb
3 years ago

Yay great, EL has got chances!

mocosuburbian
mocosuburbian
3 years ago

(also elina born doesnt necessarily have a good song just because shes elina born)

mocosuburbian
mocosuburbian
3 years ago

i woke up at 3 am expecting all of the songs but i only got slingshot :(((
really not feeling elina born’s song, that electro swing saxophone cheapens it
Ariadne on the other hand wowwwwwww what a tuneeeeeeeee i would actually listen to that outside of my eurovision playlist, it reminds me of that chaka khan remix by felix jaehn
carl-philip and the old guy have decent songs too!!! really cool as ever estonia 🙂
(eagerly waiting for kerli)

ttoto
ttoto
3 years ago

“In or Out” is soooo good yas mama slayyyyyyyyy

Marx
Marx
3 years ago

I am huge fan of Alvistar Funk Association.. They are probably most interesting contestant here. They do funk music but their lead singer doen’t sing in any kind of language or use understandable words..

Steven
Steven
3 years ago

I think Elina has a nice platform for a song, but it needs more oomph. More bass, more sax, make the build-up intense because it’s quite a fun song but has the potential to be fun and anthemic.

Rafi
Rafi
3 years ago

Koit Toome who represented Estonia 1998 is also returning!

AzeriBoy96
AzeriBoy96
3 years ago

I already love the song of Elina!

CharlieChan
CharlieChan
3 years ago

Thank God there is no school today in Spain!! I listened to the first and second song and I do not really think they can place better than 2016, or even winning the national final. I’ll be waiting for Kerli’s song to be released (BTW: I love Kerli).

Leo Valdez
Leo Valdez
3 years ago

Well I expected a bit more from Stig and Elina.