The final of Eesti Laul 2017 — Estonia’s national selection for Eurovision — is on right now. If you’re not yet watching, be sure to head to ERR’s live stream. The final will consist of two parts. The first part will see all 10 finalists perform, before wrapping up for a news bulletin at 20:00 CET. Following the news, the second half will feature the results and the superfinal, where the top 3 acts from the first half will do battle from 20.35 CET. The show ends at 21:45 CET when the winner will be crowned.
Since mid-January, the Wiwi Jury — our in house panel of music unprofessionals — has been listening to and reviewing all 20 songs in the competition. For this edition, our jury consisted of 20 jurors who come from Australia, the Czech Republic, Finland, Iceland, Malta, Morocco, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Elina Born has emerged as our clear favourite with her song “In Or Out”, with Liis Lemsalu finishing close behind with her song “Keep Running”.
Below, you can check out the best and worst of our feelings for the Top 10 from Estonia. Each juror assessed all the songs independently, and awarded them a score from 0 to 10. Before calculating the Wiwi Jury verdict, we dropped the highest and lowest scores to reduce potential bias and outliers. Click on the song title to see our reviews in full!
1. Elina Born – “In or Out” (8)
The positive: Elina Born is unquestionably a superstar. “Goodbye to Yesterday” slayed Eurovision 2015 and her debut album is one of my favourite albums ever. “In or Out” would be a perfect fit on that album which sums up how great it is. Stig Rästa’s songwriting with Elina’s vocals — I’ve died and gone to heaven. It’s very early in the national final season but I doubt we will hear a song better than this one. (Antranig 10/10)
The negative: It was clear from the beginning that everyone would compare this to “Goodbye to Yesterday” – which is still one of my favourites from 2015. I don’t enjoy “In Or Out” as much, which is really disheartening because I want to like this. It’s just too mainstream and loses Elina’s individuality as the seconds roll by. The song is not bad, it’s just not good. (Josh 6/10)
2. Liis Lemsalu – “Keep Running” (7.81)
The positive: “Keep Running” was the last song I listened to from this year’s batch of Eesti Laul entries, and I was feeling major burnout at this stage. Thankfully Liis is like a breath of fresh air and her entry is current without being derivative. This has potential to be a major stand out if it makes it to Kyiv, and I must admit, I’m kind of rooting for her. (Jason 9/10)
The negative: Liis oozes optimism and her production is on point with swells at just the right moments. The flashes of tropical house make me tap my feet and I just want to give her a high-five and shout “Emmelie de Forest Rainmaker Realness!” Even so, the song is somehow forgettable and gets monotonous halfway through. (William 6/10)
3. Kerli – “Spirit Animal” (7.03)
The positive: It is so easy to see why this is the favourite this year. There really is so much to like — the inspiration is so sweet and original, the production is authentic and sophisticated, and Kerli’s voice mixes so neatly with the instrumentation. It’s quite weird. But if Kerli manages to get the delivery down and bring beautiful, wild staging, this one could really go far. (Natalie 9/10)
The negative: The song isn’t her best — and it’s not the best for Eurovision. It needs a strong music video to be fully appreciated. And while I appreciate the Asian elements in the song (hello Saara Aalto’s “No Fear”), I’m not quite sure why they are here. But Kerli will do well — regardless of whether she should go to Kyiv or not. (Patrick 6/10)
4. Daniel Levi – “All I Need” (6.75)
The positive: “All I Need” is a rather fun and perky pop song. But it’s actually Daniel’s voice that keeps me coming back to this. There’s something about his falsetto that makes me melt, and my insides are usually frozen pretty solid. Even though the song is fun, I still wish that Daniel would have gotten a stronger song because then we definitely would have a winner here. (Steinunn 7.5/10)
The negative: His voice is everything. It’s deeper than the ocean and I’m happy to strip down, jump in and swim in it for hours. The American-born singer is on-trend with this, mixing soul, pop and R&B to great effect. The electro production gives it Nordic edge, but this song could work in the U.S., the U.K. and beyond. And while I obviously see its merits, it doesn’t make me want to move or pump my fists or press replay. For whatever reason it’s leaving me a little cold. I feel like I’ve heard it all before. (William 5/10)
5. Koit Toome & Laura – “Verona” (6.69)
The positive: 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 from 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. I’m starting to think Romeo & Juliet has a happy ending. This is my winner of Eesti Laul 2017. (William 9.5/10)
The negative: I can appreciate the intensity and thought put into this, and Kooit and Laura definitely have chemistry. But this ultimately feels like a mess with repetitive and somewhat meaningless lyrics (even with the overt Shakespeare references). This is nice, but not special. (Natalie 3/10)
6. Lenna Kuurmaa – “Slingshot” (6.67)
The positive: It’s hard to believe Lenna Kuurmaa once represented Switzerland in 2005. “Slingshot” is a pleasantly crafted entry and brings out a more subtle side of Lenna. If Estonia decide to send a former Swiss act to Kyiv, I’m hoping the Sia-esque vibes of “Slingshot” means a hark back to Lenna’s “Vanilla Ninja” days rather than last year’s Rykka mess. (Anthony 7.5/10)
The negative: “Slingshot” is a well-crafted track and Lenna’s pleasant voice serves it nicely. However, this song has a lot of unrealised potential. At the moment it is stuck in a rather inoffensive adult-contemporary form, when it could be much, much more. Think more drama and less Disney soundtrack filler. Not bad but absolutely forgettable as it is. (Jason 6/10)
7. Karl-Kristjan & Whogaux feat. Maian – “Have You Now” (6.47)
The positive: This song does not sound like it has much production value behind it, which makes it all the more impressive. Their vocals are great and the harmonies are perfect. The instrumentals are a little quirky and very appealing. It doesn’t come across as a very Eurovision song but that doesn’t mean it isn’t amazing. One of the best songs in Estonia. (Antranig 8.5/10)
The negative: I really dislike “Closer”, so it is no surprise that “Have You Now” does not do much for me. It feels like a poor imitation of The Chainsmokers mega-hit and at times sounds frantic. The vocals are quite thin and frequently border on annoying. I appreciate the effort but that’s about it I am afraid. (Jason 3/10)
8. Rasmus Rändvee – “This Love” (6.28)
The positive: Straight from the first note I knew that I would like this. I love the folksy/Americana sound and it has the just right amount of rawness and dirtiness for my liking. Rasmus has an enchanting recording voice — I’m just crossing my fingers that his voice is as good live and that this song will fill the Eesti Laul stage. (Steinunn 8.5/10)
The negative: Usually when you have nothing nice to say you should stay quiet. Sadly that’s not what I’m here for. This is ’90s trash mixed with rock instruments and an annoying artist with an unpleasant voice. It’s not the worst song from the national selection but it is surely in the bottom five. The only good thing is the lyrics, which are also quite cringe. I’m not happy. (Patrick 1/10)
9. Ariadne – “Feel Me Now” (6.08)
The positive: This is a great chill song for a cozy afternoon with a cup of coffee and a good book. For that it would get a 10. But as a potential Eurovision song it doesn’t quite reach the excited climax we’ve come to expect. I’m eager to see this live — maybe Ariadne will prove me wrong and I kind of hope that she does. Either way, it’s still one of my favourites of the year. (Steinunn 8/10)
The negative: You know that song that is playing when you arrive at the mall? This is it. Ariadne’s “Feel Me Now” is great while browsing through new shirts and trousers. But her smooth, angelic vibe is just too loungy for Eurovision. It’s a no from me. (Bernardo 5/10)
10. Ivo Linna – “Suur loterii” (4.5)
The positive: The inclusion of a beloved music legend and former Eurovision representative is a very Melfest move — and a welcome addition to the Eesti Laul line-up. “Suur Loterii” has a great melody and really delivers on the chorus. The song has a cosy old-style feel to it, and makes a nice change from all the edgy contemporary pop. I’d like to see this in the national final. (Robyn 7/10)
The negative: One thing I enjoy about Eesti Laul is that it generally pushes the boundaries when it comes to Eurovision, both in its acts and taste in music. Selecting Ivo Linna to compete for Estonia seems like something SVT would do for Melodifestivalen. This spot in the competition could’ve been given to an up-and-coming star with current musical flair, instead of a sweet-old man performing a dated song. (Josh 3/10)
But what do y’all think? Should “In Or Out” be the song to represent Estonia in Kiev? Let us know in the comments!