It’s the modern national final that’s given Estonia three top-ten finishes at Eurovision. Now Estonia’s national broadcaster ERR has confirmed the dates for Eesti Laul 2018. And 2018 will be a special year — it’s the tenth anniversary of Eesti Laul.
Entries for Eesti Laul 2018 are now open, and will close on 1 November. There’s no word as to whether ERR will again feature a live stream of acts racing to get their entries in before the deadline. But we hope so — it was a highlight of last year’s national final season!
Again just like last year, the competition is also open to songwriters from outside Estonia — just as long as the entry is made with at least 50% partnership with Estonians.
Eesti Laul’s producer Mart Normet is encouraging all to enter. He says, “Everybody is welcome! It doesn’t matter if you’re an established artist or a complete newcomer — the most important thing is that your song gives us something unique in 180 seconds.”
Dates for the three Eesti Laul shows have also been locked in for 2018. The two semi-finals will take place on February 10 and 17, while the grand final will be held two weeks later on March 3.
Fans have noted that the 2018 regulations no longer mention a superfinal vote being used to determine the winner. The regulations say the winner will be decided by a combined jury and televote.
This may be a reaction to Eesti Laul 2017, where alt pop star Kerli won the first round of voting in the grand final, only for runners-up Koit Toome & Laura to win the superfinal and earn the ticket to Kyiv. Despite the local appeal of Koit and Laura and the Eurovision fan following around their song “Verona”, Estonia only placed 14th in their semi-final and missed out on the grand final for the second year in a row.
And following previous years, the grand final will be held at Saku Suurhall in Tallinn — the home of Eurovision 2002. Tickets are already on sale, with half the venue reportedly already sold out.
Ten years of Eesti Laul
Eesti Laul will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2018. The show launched in 2009 as a modern reworking of the previous Eurolaul national final.
The previous nine shows have got Estonia to the Eurovision final five times, but even the non-qualifiers have been fan favourites.
Estonia’s best result in that time was their 2009 entry Urban Symphony with “Rändajad”, which placed sixth with 129 points. In 2012, Ott Lepland also placed sixth with “Kuula”, on 120 points. In 2015 Elina Born & Stig Rästa were hot favourites to win with “Goodbye to Yesterday”, but came a still very respectable seventh place with 106 points.
What do you think? Who would you like to see enter Eesti Laul 2018? Who can get Estonia back into the Eurovision final? Tell us what you think below!