The year of 2018 is slowly coming to an end, but 2019 promises to be just as spectacular as the year of clucking and fuego. National final line-ups are being finalised across Europe and one of those we already know is the illustrious Eesti Laul in Estonia.

Building on Elina’s success at Eurovision 2018, ERR have decided to beef up the national final by increasing the number of participants, resulting in twelve acts per semi-final. So it’s time to take a look at the first semi-final, while you, dear readers, vote on who your favourite is.

Set to take the stage on January 31st, the twelve competing acts of the first semi final are:

1. The Swingers “High Heels in the Neighbourhood”
2. Ranele “Supernova”
3. Sofia Rubina-Hunter “Deep Water”
4. xtra basic & Emily J “Hold Me Close”
5. Johanna Eendra “Miks sa teed nii?”
6. Victor Crone “Storm”
7. Stefan “Without You”
8. Jennifer Cohen “Little Baby El”
9. Sandra Nurmsalu “Soovide Puu”
10. Öed “Öhuloss”
11. Marko Kaar “Smile”
12. Inger “Coming Home”

Returning acts

Everyone loves a good comeback and this year’s edition of Eesti Laul certainly does not lack in that department. One of the stand out names is Urban Symphony’s lead singer Sandra Nurmsalu, who competed back in 2009 with the beautifully haunting opus: “Rändajad”. While that may have been ten years ago, she has not lost sight of what made her such a memorable artist in Moscow. Other familiar names come from more recent editions of Eurovision such as Birgit Õigemeel (2013) and Tanja (2014), who are the main vocalists in The Swingers.

However, it is not just Eurovision returnees who are in abundance at Eesti Laul 2019. There are also a handful of Eesti Laul alumni set to take the stage. The first of two in this semi-final is Stefan Airapetjan (Stefan), who took part last year in the group Vajé. This edition, Stefan is taking Eesti Laul on as a lone ranger with his song “Without You”. The second returnee is Kristel Aaslaid (one half of the duo Öed) who took part back in 2016 alongside DJ trio Cartoon with the song “Immortality”. Both acts finished third in their respective years, but now they’re both back for revenge, competing to represent Estonia in Tel Aviv next May.

Genres for days…

Eesti Laul has become famous in the community for the wide spectrum of genres and styles that make the contest’s final line up. Last year we were taken to the pagan wilderness with “Külm”, to La Scala by “La Forza” and cuddled up next to the fireplace with Stig Rästa’s “Home” — and 2019 is no different y’all.

This semi-final, especially, has a grand mix of genres to choose from, as well as a couple of entries sung entirely in Estonian. Right from the offset, Sandra Nurmsalu’s entry was abuzz with fans and interest as she is, once again, bringing something unique and special to the contest and is taking the reins of the ethno-genre at the contest.

Edging more towards the contemporary, we found ourselves among the likes of xtra basic & Emily J and Victor Crone. Serving modern and original, both entries are bringing their own individual identity to the contest. They’re something that one could easily hear on the radio all over the world, making them accessible to a wide audience and helping their cause to win Eesti Laul.

Finally, it’s important to mention two of the wacky stand-outs of this semi-final, namely The Swingers and Öed, both entrants bringing something unmatched in the semi-final. Channeling their inner Mikolas Josef, The Swingers are bringing jazz, swing and pop together into a cohesive number, which we can only imagine will be as explosive and exciting live as the studio version is.

Öed are similarly bringing something upbeat and wild to the contest, albeit through a more cheeky and punk-driven medium. While you may not understand the lyrics completely, you cannot help but enjoy the fun and fresh atmosphere the girls are creating.

Who should win the first semi-final of Eesti Laul 2019?

There are, of course, numerous other fabulous artists to explore and fall in love with as these are just a few, which stood out after a first listen. Be sure to have a listen through all the songs and cast your vote in our poll below! You can vote for as many acts as you like, but you can only vote ONE time. Tick the box next to each act you want to support before pressing submit.

Vote in our poll

 

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AngieP
Guest
AngieP

Not many songs stand out.
My favourites are “Storm” and “Without you”.
Sandra’s song is fine but not sth that stands out, though I’m a big fan of her 2009 entry.

Ljudevit
Guest
Ljudevit

My Top 4:
1. INGER — “COMING HOME”
2. VICTOR CRONE — “STORM”
3. SANDRA NURMSALU — “SOOVIDE PUU”
4. STEFAN — “WITHOUT YOU”

L'oiseau
Guest
L'oiseau

In this lot, defnitively Sandra Nurmsalu.

Jack
Guest
Jack

My Top 6 qualifiers/rankings in the 1st semifinal of Eesti Laul 2019: 1) Stefan – Without You Haunting, stellar, bittersweet and a very catchy memorable chorus, I loved Laura(Walk with Me) last year and Vaje have done it again, if Stefan can improve his live vocals and confidence a bit we’ll see him in the superfinal again and possibly represent Estonia in Tel Aviv! 2) Sandra Nurmsalu – Soovide Puu Angelic, spiritual and just beautiful inside out, captures that near perfect Winter vibe and Sandra is an Estonian treasure who’s probably the best songwriter for their native tongue! I’ll be… Read more »

OohHoney
Guest
OohHoney

Dear Wiwibloggs, whoever is in charge of your Spotify is falling behind more then they did last year..just sayin.

Lou
Guest
Lou

Öhuloss is my favourite…

andrea danese
Guest
andrea danese

While being aware that they don’t have a chance I’m going absolutely crazy for Xtra Basic & Emily J! Their sound is so fresh, just what I need!

Russian Fla-la-lag
Guest
Russian Fla-la-lag

I’ll vote for Sandra if her staging is going to be similar to the likes of Hovi Star and JESC’s Noam Dadon’s starry staging. Her song is very magical.

DanMarino
Guest
DanMarino

Guys you’re moaning at Sandra song being boring. The whole NF is boring. Not one song stands out

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

Just me who doesn’t like Sandra’s song? I mean…I like Amar pelos Dois, I love Esamiba, and Rändajad…but this one is just so bland…

Geo
Guest
Geo

Who the heck is voting for the boring Sandra? Her song is so weak that we all fell asleep. That type of songs can be heard in malls, lol

noone
Guest
noone

I only like Stefan and Inger. A very weak Eesti Laul this year, but that’s just my opinion.

wuw
Guest
wuw

Sandra nr.1? Are you kidding me? It’s boring and won’t even qualify. Change the singer and none of you even bother to mention that song. Foreign fans are only one who hype it.

Héctor
Guest
Héctor

This SF is clearly stronger than the 2nd SF. it’s not that these songs are a masterpiece, but the quality in the 2nd is pretty low. However, I don’t see a winner or even a sure qualifier in May.

About this SF, my top 6 is:

1. STEFAN – Without You (8/10)
2. INGER – Coming Home (7/10)
3. Victor Crone – Storm (6.75/10)
4. Johanna Eendra – Miks sa teed nii? (6.75/10)
5. Sofia Rubina – Deep Water (6.5/10)
6. xtra basic & Emily J – Hold Me Close (6/10)

Héctor
Guest
Héctor

By the way, why can’t I comment in the FIK post? Full entries have been revealed.

Jackqulen
Guest
Jackqulen

I think this is the stronger semifinal overall. My favourites are “Miks sa teed nii?” and “Coming Home” (1st and 2nd out of all 24 songs) Öed, Sandra, and Stefan cracks into my top 10 as well, with the latter two I found that their previous Eesti Laul songs were better. Honorable mention to The Swingers. Tanja and Birgit are amazing singers and they were my faves back in 2013 and 2014, the only reason I downvoted is because jazz is really not my genre. Lastly, I don’t get the hype with “Storm” and “Hold Me Close”. The first one… Read more »

Idan Cohen
Guest
Idan Cohen

I’m sorry, am I the only who sees “Soovide puu” and thinks “Sous-vide poo”?

Balint
Guest
Balint

I THOUGHT I WAS THE ONLY ONE

Yanis2Y
Guest
Yanis2Y

I really want Soovide Puu at ESC but I don’t think it would do pretty good…

Kris
Guest
Kris

I like Miik sa teed ni??
And storm and Soovide puu

But this is Sandra’s weakest song in Eesti laul

Erasmus
Guest
Erasmus

At first I wasn’t a fan of any of these songs from Eesti Laul, but after a couple of listenings, I really enjoy 3 songs out of these:
1. Xtra Basic & Emily J
2. Viktor Crone
3. Stefan
About Sandra: I like the song, but it is a bit boring. It’s a song I would listen when I would go to SPA or something.
I also like Inger’s song, but it shouldn’t win

Alexander
Guest
Alexander

My heart roots for Sandra. My funky hips love Victor. My 2018-ego sheers for Xtra basic

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

While this semi is an easy top 3, after that it gets very close to call. Good luck to everyone.
Sandra will breeze through this semi, no problem. Technically the best song is… oh wait, I forgot: Nobody cares 😛

Colin
Guest
Colin

Top 3 which currently lead the poll? (Sandra, Victor, Stefan)???

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

You still care? 😛
In my opinion, yes. But the poll result could change.

Christian
Guest
Christian

The first semi doesn’t convince me fully, as I have only noted three songs on my writing pad, namely Soovide puu, Hold me close and Without you. I think, the 2nd semi will be more interesting.

Sal
Guest
Sal

I loved Randajad and Sandra’s 2014 attempt but I’m disappointed with Soovide puu… and tbh I’m not that keen on any of the other songs in this semi-final 🙁

Nicky91
Guest
Nicky91

Soovide Puu the best song in this semi

NickC
Guest
NickC

I wonder if Srefan can sing that well live. If he can, I think he will win. Otherwise, Sandra.

Miguel
Guest
Miguel

My choices: Strong semifinal. I can honestly say i like all the songs. My top is 1. Sandra 2. xtra basic & Emily J 3. Johanna Eendra The Swingers “High Heels in the Neighbourhood” – cool upbeat song with jazz vibes. it’s entertaining and makes you want to dance. Ranele “Supernova” – techno upbeat song with good vocals. i also like this song. Sofia Rubina-Hunter “Deep Water” – another good song with electronic influences. the song is too much repetitive though and towards the end i feel underwhelmed. xtra basic & Emily J “Hold Me Close” – a pop electronic… Read more »

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

Sandra Nurmsalu should win the Eesti Laul, she’s the only qualifier in that bunch.

PP77
Guest
PP77

My TOP 3
1. Sofia Rubina-Hunter “Deep Water”
2 .Stefan “Without You”
3. Victor Crone “Storm”

Sandra is so overrated by many wiwibloogs eurovisio fans. She will go to final, and in final flop like she did in 2014
My prediction in final , fight for win between Victor and Stefan, and Stefan will go to Tel Aviv

Toffeenix
Guest
Toffeenix

Sandra? That was Tanja, no?

Weißbrot
Guest
Weißbrot

Only Sandra, her song is stunning!

ESCFan2009
Guest
ESCFan2009

I will say it with Ariana Grande: “Thank you, next” 😀

blondboybc
Guest
blondboybc

Sandra, Sandra, Sandra…she’s the outstanding act in Semi 1 for me. My favourite, hands down! Such an enchantingly beautiful voice and melody! 10/10!

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

This is the strongest semifinal. I voted for Stefan.

Alex
Guest
Alex

Victor Crone or Samra.

blondboybc
Guest
blondboybc

Samra or Sandra?

Colin
Guest
Colin

Several songs are good in this semi. My personal favorite is Sandra Nurmsalu, as I love her style. It’s very magical and brings something mystical. While Soovide puu and La forza are very different in genre, I wonder will Estonians again choose something mystical and refined. I hope so. If they choose to go more modern, Stefan has a great song and Victor is good too. Personally, I also like Inger. It’s not a banger, but it brings in a lot of emotion. The Swingers are very fun to listen to as well. Top 3 votes: 1. Sandra, 2. Stefan,… Read more »

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

The current top three in the poll looks not far off. For me, Sandra should win!

Jeff Messer
Guest
Jeff Messer

Also another unpopular opinion I like Sandra’s song but nothing more than that. Not saying it’s bad (which it isn’t) I just feel it’s over hyped because it is Sandra who’s singing it. kind of like Loreen in her melo return. However best if luck to Sandra.

Jeff Messer
Guest
Jeff Messer

My favorite from this semi final are Inger and ÖED. Y’all probably don’t like them but oh well Inger and ÖED just put me in a good mood and they’re songs are enjoyable.