With the Eurovision 2018 season slowly revving up, various countries have launched preparations for their national selection shows — including Estonia, who will stage the 10th anniversary edition of Eesti Laul next year.

Despite its victors crashing out of the semi-final for two consecutive years, Estonia’s national selection is still attracting a lot of attention.

Even though the 2018 song submission rules were only announced at the end of September, ERR have revealed that the first two songs were submitted all the way back at the end of August. They came from a Swedish team. Unfortunately, in their eagerness, they didn’t quite meet the requirements for the show — namely having Estonian residents comprise half of the songwriting team, and filling in the necessary participation form. An old Estonian proverb — quoted on the Eesti Laul Instagram account — seems apt: “There’s a bit of bureaucracy behind every song”.

But there’s also a lot of work, as seen by the convergence of artists and composers at a recent songwriter camp organised by Music Estonia and the Estonian Song Academy. The fourth edition of the camp occurred between the 24th and 27th of September in the Viinistu Art Hotel, which is located inside a picturesque seaside fishing village in the Lahemaa National Park.

The aim of this edition of the camp was to create up to 16 songs to be submitted to Eesti Laul 2018. However, none of the songs produced during the camp will get a free pass into next February’s semi-finals. They’ll have to survive the cull — conducted by a special jury and organised by the state broadcaster.

With some of Estonia’s top artists and producers involved with the camp, it’s likely that we could see some of these songs hitting the Eesti Laul stage. Last year’s addition of the camp resulted in Rasmus Rändvee’s “This Love”, Liis Lemsalu’s “Keep Running” and Laura Prits’ “Hey Kiddo” being selected to participate in the 2017 contest.

EST => Uued sõbrad, uued laulud! Täna ja homme!Eesti Laulu Akadeemia:Eesti, Soome, Läti, Taani, Inglismaa,…

Posted by Eesti Laul on Monday, September 25, 2017

So who was involved? Sixteen Estonian artists and producers gathered at the camp, most notably three former Estonian Eurovision entrants, Koit Toome (1998, 2017), Ott Lepland (2012) and Jüri Pootsmann (2016).

Former Eesti Laul entrants Lenna Kuurmaa (2010, 2012, 2014, 2017), Liisi Koikson (2013) and Maian (2017) were also present. Producers with previous Eesti Laul writing contributions include Liina Saar (2013), Priit Uustulnd (2013, 2014, 2016), Martin Saaremägi (2015) and Allan Kasuk (2016).

Recognising that international ears can bring fresh perspective to composing Eurovision entries, the camp involved eight songwriters from Finland, Latvia, Denmark, England and the USA. Eurovision fans will be happy to hear that the Latvian representative at the camp was none other than Eurovision 2015 entrant Aminata Savadogo. After penning two successful Latvian entries, and an entry for Lithuania’s Eurovizijos atranka 2017, Aminata seems keen to spread her love to the other Baltic nation.

Check out ERR’s video report of the songwriting camp to see Koit, Aminata and the others in action — and please take particular note of Koit’s wonderful use of a wardrobe as a make-shift studio (when life gives you wardrobes, make a Eurovision hit!).

Kerli and Rasmus Rändvee in the Studio

Although some of next year’s Eesti Laul entries may result from the songwriting camp, the majority will likely still come from other artists’ submissions. Therefore, just like for Melodifestivalen, we’ve kept an eye on social media to spot any previous Eesti Laul entrants who are currently in the recording studio.

And we’ve spotted two biggies in the form of 2017 superfinalists Kerli and Rasmus Rändvee. Both came close to winning the ticket to Kiev, but lost out to Koit + Laura in the final televote.

Kerli won the first round of voting in this year’s grand final. So with no mention of the superfinal in the Eesti Laul 2018 rules, perhaps she’s contemplating a return in order to snatch the crown that so many thought should have been hers…

Küpseb

A post shared by RASMUS RÄNDVEE ?? (@rasmusr2ndvee) on

The deadline for entries is 3pm sharp on 1 November. However, we’ll have to wait a little longer to find out if any of the songs from the camp, or those of other artists, make it into the semi-finals. These songs will be made public on the ERR website on December 19th and 20th (so add those dates to your diary).

Are you excited for Eesti Laul 2018? Whose song from the songwriting camp are you most looking forward to hearing? And do you want either Kerli or Rasmus to make a return? Let us know in the comments below!

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MadaMax
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MadaMax

Kerli is working on her next album, not on a Eurovision song.

Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

Yes, but could a Eurovision song come from her next album?

Jesse
Guest
Jesse

well thats where spirit animal came from was originally for her album but fit the eesti laul rules

Zebb
Guest
Zebb

I get this with Rasmus trying it more. He’s made his song worthy to vote for people.

While I doubt they’ll avoid ‘Keep Running’ 2.0 cases completely, there’s also wondering me if they will stay with superfinals or not.

BringDeniseBack
Guest
BringDeniseBack

That unattractive aminata is whoring up all the baltik contests. She should go compete in Melfest and get destroyed by more talented musicians

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Ouch! 🙁
I know little about attractiveness, granted, but surely Aminata’s songs are recognisable, rythmically hooking and evocative of their time.

Zebb
Guest
Zebb

Pleahhhs BDB! Melfest itself needs to step-up in material much more.

BringDeniseBack
Guest
BringDeniseBack

she is too much fast food and fireworks. she is bad

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

Stop giving the spirit rats hope, they already lost :'(
Aminata was ROBBED in Lithuania with Aiste Pilvelytalent’s “I’m Like a Saint”, she better get her ultimate revenge.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Don’t forget about us Rasmus fans. 😀

Jo
Guest
Jo

I hope Juri does Eurovision again, but with a better song then. He has a great voice.

West
Guest
West

While I love Kerli and would be happy if she tried again (and won this time) I would be even happier if she finally released her second album.

BringDeniseBack
Guest
BringDeniseBack

I would be happy if she didnt make the final

Hannes
Guest
Hannes

Aminata too yeeee

Hannes
Guest
Hannes

Kerli yaaaaaaaa

beccaboo1212
Guest

OFF TOPIC: Polina Bogusevich has already filmed the music video for “Krylya”, and she published a 30-second teaser for it. 🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCWJ4YgQEFs

D
Guest
D

You clearly have never heard any of Kerli’s other songs if this is what you’re classifying her as. “Spirit Animal” and it’s performance is not representative of her style or music, and she clearly just “Eurovision-ized” herself because of general stereotypes regarding the contest.

Carol
Guest
Carol

D: Honey you’re right. Kerli is so diverse as an artist. (though i agree some of her songs are mediocre). Even if you don’t like how she sounds vocally, the videos she puts out are visually appealing. I can see why ppl are comparing her to gaga BUT Kerli has always been different. If you’ve seen Gaga before she basically became Gaga, she looked quite normal before she “sold out”.

Raven
Guest
Raven

How can u compare her to gaga? Gaga can sing live. Their styles are completely different, Kerli has a huge asian influence goin on there.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

Scalp a bit. No one comes for an out-of-this-world performer like Godga this way.

D
Guest
D

The only reason Laura & Koit beat Kerli was because it was 2 A-listers going against 1 A-lister. The song was vastly worse than Kerli’s. I really hope she comes back this year, but if she doesn’t then there’s always Aminata who I’m sure will send an amazing song.

BringDeniseBack
Guest
BringDeniseBack

1 AAAA-lister Paula and 1 A-lister going against 1 D-lister. Agreed it is not an even contest. Spirit Troll was totally outclassed by supremely talented and pretty Paula Mustikas!!!!

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Wow! I would love to be in that songwriting room! 🙂

In other news… Berget Lewis just blew me away at X Factor Bootcamp episode: https://youtu.be/vNbdFCiJFEA

VALE
Guest
VALE

I do ‘t get the Kerli hype, tbh. I would prefer to see Rasmus representing Estonia. This love was robbed!

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

I gather you’re thinking the same thing I’m thinking: That Rasmus Rändvee’s song and performance both had the one thing the others didn’t have enough of: ENERGY! Methinks he’s going to bring more of that energy to the 2018 contest and qualify for Lisbon.

VALE
Guest
VALE

You’re so right he was on fire, on that stage and his song is so energetic. It was pure magic. I was mesmerized.

Carol
Guest
Carol

If kerli came back i wonder if she’d win this time? It’d be so cool to see her on ESC, she deserves. Way too talented and got screwed by the judges.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

@Charles: I gather that Koit and Laura won for the same reason Elina and Stig won in 2015. If the formula of a duet and a retro sound worked before, and got Estonia back into the top 10, why not try the same thing again? Rasmus was my second choice (for the energy he brought to the stage), after watching Eesti Laul 2017.

Jesse
Guest
Jesse

Psst, kinda hard to copy someone who is the original (kerli has addressed this before)

sam
Guest
sam

okay im sorry but i knew verona would flop the second i heard it… i have always hated that song and it baffles me how it beat kerli. nevertheless, eesti laul was one of the selections this year that i liked almost every song that was in it- besides verona lol

Mark
Guest
Mark

I agree. You can tell the reason the producers had Verona second in the final was because they could tell that the song was garbage.

Erasmus
Guest
Erasmus

I love Kerli and Rasmus;) But yeah Kerli is one of my fave artists not just in Eurovision bubble, but overrall, I kind of doubt she will enter again, but hope never dies. Can’t wait Eesti Laul is my favourite NF next to Melodifestivalen, Supernova and EMA.

Neon Animal
Guest
Neon Animal

Totally agree that that crown was Kerli’s, and I’m super curious to the validity of many people in Estonia stating her voting line was down and wasn’t working for about 10 minutes for the superfinal voting. Funny how Laura had a technical difficulty on stage later… I really hope Kerli enters again with a badass shamanic pop song, merging the ancient with the magic of electronic music production, I definitely think she’s capable of slaying again.

thespb01
Guest
thespb01

Koit and Laura were miles ahead in both the semi final and first part of the final, so I doubt it would have made any difference. And if they were rigging it for Verona to win, they wouldn’t have put Kerli first in the Jury.

CharlieChan
Guest
CharlieChan

Kerliiiii yessss