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!
I confess I did not see this doing well in the OGAE polls at all, but oh my god was I happy it did. Yeah, it’s a bit 90s, but it’s a good song – well written and far superior to that beautiful mess from Kerli (pun intended). Their performance at Eesti Laul was NOT great, but considering that Laura was sick and her brother had recently died, it was alright for what it was.
Verona now has a very beautiful version in Italian 🙂
Finally a quality song that is neither a boring ballad nor a run-of-the-mill, factory-made dance track! It’s so uplifting I want to listen to it every morning when I wake up, this has never happened to me with a Eurovision song before! Estonia and Italy are the 2 songs that have personality and stand out this year. I’ll be very happy if either of them wins!
This song has something really, really important over most of its competition that gives it a very competitive edge: It doesn’t get boring. It hits you with a slow Laura solo part, then Koit joins and the beat rises, then the drifting chorus, then the “we are lost” BOOM, then the reckless type of love breakdown… this song is rich on layers that take you on a trip, constantly takes different directions and really keeps you in for the ride. If only the live was stronger and had more of an identity (same criticism I gave Estonia in 2015 and… Read more »
7.5 out of 10
What the heck? 😐
This is my era of music, done well! My reaction was similar to William and Deban’s when I first heard it (a little more restrained, perhaps) and it remains easily a top five song for me.
I don’t really know what do you see in this song, but I can’t stand it. I loved ‘Supersonic’ last year, but I sighly hate this one. I find it very overrated by the eurofan community.
I was busy, so I skipped a review, but here it is now for anyone who is still interested: Verona was my joint third (with In or Out) favorite to win Eesti Laul. Since the contest was of the highest quality, I that is a very good thing. The song captured by attention from the first. The verses build-up very well and I adore that bridge with background voices. It is probably the only up-tempo ballad (or schlager) this year and a rare example of it in recent years. The lyrics are good and I like how Verona symbolizes the… Read more »
I can only accept our song because of the line “before the romance turned to drama” cause I like korean dramas (don´t kill me). even though I would prefer if romance turned to action and martial arts, but, ehh…
My #8 after my 2nd evaluation. I have no doubt that this song will qualify for the final. They used the Mørland and Debrah playbook very well.
This song definetely seems to have grown on you guys in wiwibloggs! I still remember the reaction video, when William was cheering for Kerli and Deban was all for Verona! Love you guys! I love this song so much! It’s all about drama! It’s timeless! It may seem cheesy, but it has a modern instrumentation which elevates it! It really needs a good staging! Also, Laura and Koit should work more on facial expressions and chemistry! Personally, I’d love to see this in top 5! But it’s more of a personal preference! Objectively, I believe it will be around 10th.… Read more »
Thank You AngieP for supporting and loving Verona!
I really like it… I wish that Elina or Kerli would win it, but still it a nice song and in my final for sure, and it’s also growing on me, but I think they should change the staging a bit, I love the camera work, but those pixels and Laura’s dress are very dated I give it a 7/10:)
Giving this song a 9 is simply ridiculous!It’s a song that starts off but does not know where it is heading plus the voices are nothing special!I don’t understand all the hype!5 maximum (if it enters the top 10 I am gonna be mad)!!
A modern classic. Not bad but it is full of clichés. Not a song I would listen to. 01 Italy | 02 Norway | 03 | 04 United Kingdom | 05 Austria 06 Albania | 07 | 08 Bulgaria | *09 Switzerland* | 10 France 11 Serbia | 12 Sweden | 13 | 14 Denmark | 15 Moldova 16 Poland | 17 Portugal | 18 Latvia | 19 Cyprus | 20 Iceland 21 Azerbaijan | 22 Australia | 23 Greece | 24 Czechia | 25 Armenia 26 Netherlands | 27 Belarus | 28 Ireland | 29 Finland | 30 Hungary… Read more »
To me the song doesn’t know what it wants to be but for me the vocals aren’t strong and powerful enough for the ballad part as for the 90’s disco cheese I’d love it if it didn’t take itself seriously, cheese for me has to be unapologetic, fun and light-hearted and because it’s trying to be a ballad it’s more serious than fun, which leaves me cringing. There is also something about Koit that makes me very uncomfortable and not in a good way. On paper it seems like something I should love but in practice it’s just not and… Read more »
For some reason I can’t seem to see the average score!!
It’s exactly 7/10. (With no decimal points necessary)
If this finishes 7th or below, it will be the worst placed duet of Estonia’s all time.
(and with all the love that Verona is getting, it is actually possible that Stig & Elina will still hold that dubious honor)
Very dubious indeed and so unfair!
This is a very divisive song. Many people love it and many people hate it too. I like it. I do think there were some better entries in Eesti Laul, but this is pleasant anyway and it should qualify.
I agree with Luís that this song brings me back to the Euro disco-pop sounds of the late 90’s, which for me is not a reason to hate it. But in fact, it is maybe too early to call it vintage, but too late to call it yesterday’s old-fashioned sounds. Regardless of the timespan of that song, it has solid structure with a great start, middle section and finish. I particular like the Chic-like bass and the chorus. The cultural reference is a great plus and they reach a dramatic sense, being a couple singing about their lost love. Staging… Read more »
I love Verona, it is a classical Eurovision ballad with a catchy chorus but I do have concerns about their live vocals. The staging needs improving from the national final because it was too bland in Eesti Laul. I hope it does well and finishes in the top 10, but it won’t be a winner like I first thought when I heard it.
I don’t know which song I have it on constantly repeat on my Spotify: Bulgaria, Sweden, or Estonia? Anyway, I liked the song at first. But since the Eesti Laul final, I have it on repeat. 8.5 for me. But three things I wanna hope they can change in Kiev: 1. a better hair and makeup for Laura. Something flowy dress (maybe steal Ilinca’s dress in the Yodel It music video) and similar wavy hairstyle in EL’s semis. 2. Something William brought up in a review: Koit needs to stop looking like he’s constipated during the close ups. He’s already… Read more »
well Laura can have Ilinca’s green leprechaun dress 🙂
but she’ll also needs to work on those high notes, cause they are awful from her, Koit is like a really great singer, but she’s dragging him down i feel so sorry for him
Laura was extremely ill during Eesti Laul, and this has turned into an ongoing concern. I really wish her well.
The big surprise of this year’s pre-contest. I would not have expected such support for this… This is way too cheesy and sugary for my ears, but I can understand why people like it.
#35 in my ranking, but everything seems to indicate that it will qualify and potentially reach the top 10.
Modern Talking vibes i’m getting with this song
however it is a listenable catchy song 7.5/10
Definitely the song that has grown on me the most this year. When the Eesti Laul songs came out, I was very meh about it; when it won, I was kinda content, and now it’s one of my most played from this year. 8/10
Sorry in advance for the length of this review… This song alternates between two relative keys: the dramatic D minor, and calm-but-happy F major. Sven Lõhmus wrote the song: Lõhmus had also written three previous Estonian ESC entries: “Let’s get loud” (2005), “Rändajad” (2009) and “Rockerfeller Street” (2011). Music critics in the past have referred to these previous entries as “formulaic,” “machine-like” and even “unfeeling.” It is with a great sense of irony then that “Verona,” a song about losing (and finding) the love of youth is, I think, his best song for ESC to date. “Verona” begins with a… Read more »
So glad to see someone who knows a lot about music writing an insightful review and appreciating Verona. Ladies, it’s official: Verona is a great song. You can still go against the #MafiaDiVerona at your own risk, but I would not recommend it.
LOL Modern Talking! Who remembers that?! Well spotted, but still I think that Koit and Laura make a much better contribution than Brother Louie, my fav of those boys.
I LOVE “Brother Louie!” Astonishingly it has over 104 MILLION YouTube views! See here: https://youtu.be/Lp2qcCrdBLA
I thought the cheesiness of “You’re My Heart, You’re My Soul” is better. Come on, those freeze-frame close ups is priceless!
Plus it has 460,000 more views than Brother Louie! Lol
Yeah the blonde singer’s facial expressions in that video make Koit Toome look like an A-list actor in comparison! Haha! 😀
The success of “You’re My Heart, You’re My Soul” is obviously more to do with how laughingly bad the video is, to be honest. Whereas I genuinely like “Brother Louie” as a song… the whole “stealing my brother’s girlfriend” story is quite naughty. 😀
LOL I just compared the bass line from Brother Louie and Verona and in fact their so similar 🙂
BTW, this blond singer is Dieter Bohlen, composer of three entries in ESC: Austria and Germany 1989 and Austria 1992. None of them not even near of the sheer perfection of Brother Louie or the cheesiness of Your My Heart Your My Soul
You’re my heart *cheesy freeze frame shot*, you’re my soul…
Also cue Dieter’s cheesy smile whenever he’s on camera. Lol
That of course, my friend, is one remarkable moment of Europop culture!
I will say this, thanks to “Verona”, I would never learn about the cheesy greatness that is Modern Talking.
Fantastic review!! It actually seems like you do see more in this song that the composer and artists actually saw XD
Jokes aside, I actually have Randajad and Rockefeller Street (not the live version, of course) among my ESC favourites, so I am happy that Verona is getting some love.
To someone who said “who remembers Modern Talking”? I reply: I DO!! I’d rather listen to any 80’s music than the mainstream crap in the waves today, so boring. “Verona” reminded me so much of Modern Talking that I actually checked if the wirter was Dieter Bohlen 🙂
Thank You Purple Mask, You review is sooo cool!
Am I the only one who finds Laura’s vocals quite weak? Verona is the rare male female duet where the guy outclasses the girl.
This song proves that Estonia are building a monopoly on providing the Eurovision fanwank each year. Although I suspect the song might do a Poland 2016.
To me it sounds like an album track from a late 90s/early 2000s Steps CD. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I find the extended metaphor becomes a bit trashy and not necessarily in an enjoyable way. It seems to be hitting a chord with fans though; for me it is not the worst but I can’t agree it’s one of the best (especially given some of the songs that aren’t doing as well in the poll). The studio version is pleasant enough, but the Eesti Laul performance gave me hives, so awkward, devoid of chemistry and lacking any… Read more »
William, Deban, Robyn, Sinan, Anastas, Anthony, Bogdan, Edd, Jacob, Jordi, Padraig, Sami and Stanislav are all #MafiaDiVerona members, whew <3
Y'all can join us on our holy pilgrimage to Laura's hometown Tartu this summer <3
Wiwibloggs happens to have taste. You can get lost in Verona.
Wow, I’m amazed the Wiwi jury gave this a full 7, this means it grew on you guys a lot since Eesti Laul. It’s honestly my number one favorite song this year, it has over 400 plays on my iTunes! I’m a long-time Laura fan, I love her voice and versatility, and Koit’s voice sounds perfect with hers. I feel like they’re going to be very popular with the public, because their retro song and emotional performance deliver very well.
I really appreciate Your support for Laura, Koit and Verona!!!
I’m in debates with this song. What I love here is the story which reminded of my parents’ relationship and how we’re all got through it. I also love the way this develops, well served with fruitness and soaring harmonies. But when it’s been happening in live, I was all like Luis’ comment. Yet guitar and drums are another put-off moment for me, they make this song sound quite sleazy. But still, after this couple has won the contest, they finally were shining and exuding emotions, just like this song desperately asks. With some discount and hope, this is my… Read more »
Sorry, I know I don’t make any friends, bur I will think this will flop. I’ll not be surprised when this will stay in the semi’s. High expectations, but I don’t think it will stand out. Probably an Estonia 2016.
If it were in the first semi, you may have a point, but the second semi is dreadful, and this will likely be top 3 in that semi.
They wouldn’t have any problems qualifying from the first semi either, the public will love this. But seeing the jury scalping them at Eesti Laul isn’t promising, even though that’s probably because that performance was made ad hoc for TV and not to be seen from the venue.
I don’t think the second semi is dreadful. It will be a very exciting one. Maybe one sure qualifier (Bulgaria) and three sure non-quali’s (Malta, San Marino, Lithuania) and the rest is open. I’ll bet there will be more shock non-qualifiers then expected. Let’s hope Estonia is one of the quali’s. I hope so. But I found their National Final very forgettable. Maybe with the party of Israel right after it will be forgotten. Everything stands with their performance and staging.
Qualifiers for now:
Bulgaria, Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Hungary, Romania, Israel, Belarus, Serbia and then, nevertheless, Estonia (instead of Macedonia)
I would be happy if Verona finished second or third
It’s such a wonderful song
I dont mind that the lyrics are rubbish <3
I love me some cheese!
Lovely duo and cute song.
Lol the ‘wake up with a butt in your hands’ is Laura saying ‘wake up with a bottle your hands’ instead of ‘bottle in your hands’ as it says in the lyrics. I noticed this with Grete Paia last year in her lyrics video it says ‘love is a ghost ride’ but she says ‘love is ghost ride’- the guy who made both the tracks must not fully think through the English 😛
I could actually see this winning the whole contest Maybe Tallinn2018
Kind of unlikely, but might reach top 10, if juries aren’t too harsh.
This song is a cliche (already seen in big amounts and offers nothing new). It is a typical boring drama eurovision song, that no one would listen otherwise or in a few years. I don’t understand why people are amazed by it, but whatever.. the reality will slap you in the face when this either do not get to the final, or rank quite low. Let’s not forget those 4’s that you just dismissed from the final score. (You should dismiss 10 and 1, or 9 and 2, not 10 and 4. Those 4’s are reasonable evaluation, that will rightfully… Read more »
Me as well don’t get this mark-dropping. And I do agree this is boring cliche song, that will not do well at all.
If you want to hear a song that “offers something new”, then Eurovision is probably not for you… and still, it’s more original than most songs this year, because it sounds like nothing that you’ll hear on the radio, and yet, it’s radio-friendly.
For me, main favourite Sweden is just a monotonous attempt to sound American (let’s leave the sad Justin Timberlake concept plagiarism aside); but please do not say that Eurovision doesn’t offer “anything new”. Iveta, Margaret Berger, Aminata, Norma John… the list of full realized artists with original proposals that sound nothing like anything you’ve heard before on the radio or nightclubs.
Considering the current musical market, listening to Eurovision instead of factory R&B and Justin Bieber is actually VERY anti-mainstream 🙂
I feel like many “original” artists tend to ignore Eurovision for some reason. Imagine Veronica Maggio for Sweden, Jenni Vartiainen for Finland, Brodka for Poland, Carmen Consoli for Italy, Barbora Polakova for the Czech Republic, Gery-Nikol for Bulgaria… that would be an interesting show 😀
Rules are the same for every rated song, the highest and lowest rating gets dropped. Whether there’s need for that is another question, but it wouldn’t be fair to drop low numbers for some songs and keep them for others, just because the low wasn’t low enough. If these are the rules, even a 7 or 8 should be dropped, if it was the lowest.
I adore Verona. My #1, 10/10 <3 I really hope it does well in the Final, I'll be rocking the Estonian flag in Kiev in support of Koit and Laura!
William & Deban – Your reaction video to this song is still my highlight of ESC 2017!!!
This song is everything. ROMANCE. DRAMA. SOLD. this got my OGAE 12 points.
Chris – looooooooooooove the subtle shade “needs more help than Azerbaijan 2011”. You are the queen of subtle shade! <3 <3 <3
In a year full of ballads (some beautiful, some mediocre) this song will stand out with its disco inspired theme. Also, there still are people who prefer this approach to Eurovision than the more mainstream-inspired songs (I personally detest Sweden’s entry this year). And you don’t need to be 50+ to be one of them.
I LOVE “Verona”!! I fell in love at first listen, even though I felt the staging was kinda cheesy – but then I found out it all made me love it more! xD I guess the point of it all is to bring Modern Talking realness back 🙂 I think that Italy will win (and fairly so) but I always love me an underdog. We should not forget that last year’s “Color of your life” got a HUGE amount of points from the televote, “Verona” walks on similar paths with a song that will be liked all around Europe, in… Read more »
I actually agree with the total score. The staging and the live performance can bring it to the next level… The Lost in Verona refrain is very catchy, but let’s remember that there are many other great acts on stage this year. Romance is in the air with this song, but I have to say that talking of romance, I will choose Alma any day… Also, I was surprised to see the consistently high OGAE vote… I wonder what is the average age of the OGAE panels… if around 50+ this will explain the high ranking of this as well… Read more »
I might be the only one, but I found this song too cheesy, boring, and bad. I can’t even enjoy it as a guilty pleasure.
her vocals were weak so she didn’t win get over it
Oh please, first fix her vocals!
*takes another sip of my Kerli’s tears cocktail*
Loved the song, but to be fair, her vocals were pretty bad. 🙁
Live vocal = brutal. Twice.
This is to low. I Love this Song. My topp 3. 9/10