In December Estonia’s ERR revealed the twenty songs competing in this year’s Eesti Laul — its national selection for Eurovision.

And shortly afterwards Deban and I got together in London to listen to the tracks while sitting in front of a camera. Our ever-patient video editor Forrest then worked his magic to produce our Semi-Final 1 reaction video, which you can watch below.

This semi-final is widely considered the stronger of the two, with a number of fan favourites including Eurovision 2015 star Stig Rästa, opera diva and former Eesti Laul host Elina and up-and-comer Desiree. On first listen did we share the enthusiasm that so many others have felt?

On December 21 we uploaded the first of our semi-final polls, asking our readers to name their favourites.

By the afternoon of January 11 Elina Netsajeva had jumped into the lead with “La Forza”, an opera number that shows off her incredibly powerful voice. She’s earned 688 votes — or around 27% of all those cast.

In second was Stig Rästa with “Home”, a sing-song ballad that oozes tenderness and calm. During the holiday season he performed a stripped-back version of his stripped back song, taking it to another level in acoustic. He’s sitting on 532 votes, or around 21% of all those cast.

Rounding out the Top 3 are the dreadlocked divas from Etnopatsy, with their spiritual, other-worldly song “Kulm”. They’ve got 394 votes — or around 15%.

If you haven’t voted yet, you still have plenty of time to mull things over. The poll will remain open until just before the first semi-final.

Eesti Laul Semi-Final 1 poll: Current standings

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Total Votes: 2,556
What was your first reaction when you heard the semi-final 1 songs? Who is your favourite? And who has grown on you? Let us know in the comments box below.

Watch more of our reaction videos on wiwi.tv

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Alex12345
Guest
Alex12345

“La Forza” potential winner of all ESC, i think

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

I hope so….I put quite a bit of money on Estonia to win. 😛

AngieP
Guest
AngieP

Props to you William and Deban for this amazing video! I really enjoyed it! I don’t get the hype about Elina. She can definitely sing but I don’t know if the song is powerful enough. I need to see it live to judge. Among the other songs, I have to say I really like Stig’s song, it reminds me of entries like “Me and my guitar” (Belgium 2010). Sweet and beautiful. However, I’m not sure if it can qualify to the grand final if selected. “Kulm” has this folk element and an Estonian identity. There is potential, I like it,… Read more »

Tanaka
Guest
Tanaka

My reaction to Elina was very similar 🙂

Nancy G
Guest
Nancy G

LOVE THESE SO MUCH! Thanks for the effort guys !

esc1234
Guest
esc1234

off topic but important: Guy Freeman is leaving BBC so it means that they are looking for a new HoD. I AM PRAYING they choose someone as good as the french or the bulgarian HoD where they managed to shift their countries fortune. He was responsible for the downfall of the uk in the contest. Lets see….

Jamaraqueer
Guest
Jamaraqueer

Helen Riddell has been co-HoD for years. So don’t get too excited for change!

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

A BBC Eurovision handover to 4Music or ITV? Before you say it’s “impossible”, look what happened to Bake-Off! 😀

I should also mention that Wales entered the Eurovision Choir of the Year competition separately to the UK in 2017 (yes, that really happened), so watch for Scotland and Wales trying to go it alone in the 2020s for ESC (and maybe even in politics).

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

The difference is, the BBC didn’t willingly give Bake Off to ITV. The production company who owned the rights went to the highest bidder. I doubt the EBU would turn their back on one of its founding members and a major financial contributor.

Alex
Guest
Alex

Rooting fo Vajé and Desiree!