Tonight Estonia began it’s journey to Tel Aviv. 

During Eesti Laul 2019 Semi-Final 1, twelve acts became six and we now know the first finalists of the competition.

They are The Swingers, Stefan, Victor Crone, IngerSandra Nurmsalu and Xtra basic feat. Emily J.

Eesti Laul 2019 Semi-Final 1 Finalists

The Swingers, Tanja & Birgit – “High Heels In The Neighbourhood”

The Swingers kicked things off with a bang, serving vocal, brassy confidence and the kind of performance broadcasters everywhere want to kick off their Semi-Finals with. This was confident, elevated live and fun. It puts you in mind of Estonian entries from years past and really popped.

Stefan – “Without You”


Call him the piano man! Stefan showed off his musicianship twinkling away at the piano, before stepping out from behind it for a rousing climax to his stageshow. Vocal was on point and the performance was too.

Victor Crone – “Storm”

This song has felt very Stig-by-numbers at times, but the performance tonight upped the ante. Especially the superb section with the storm reveal towards the end. Victor was also note perfect, which helps.

Inger – “Coming Home”

Inger was a sweet way to close the show. Competent vocal, cutesy performance and the kind of restrained North European charm we’ve seen work at Eurovision before (hey Paradise Oskar).

Sandra Nurmsalu – “Soovide pu”

Sandra served Gaia Mother of the Earth realness up on a platter, just like she did ten years ago in Moscow. She even brought along a tree of life for good measure.

Xtra basic & Emily J – “Hold Me Close”

Performance wise this felt a little bit like the stage swallowed them up. However, vocal firepower more than compensated for that and some nice ad libs were thrown in on top of what we’ve heard in the studio version. This holds up very well live.

Eliminated Eesti Laul 2019 Semi-Final 1 Acts

Marko Kaar – “Smile”

Marko Kaar was flanked by backing dancers tonight. And unfortunately for Marko, the backing dancers were the most remarkable thing about this. Flexing legs left, right and centre, the dancers aside there was very little substance to this performance. Still his vocal was on point and he found the falsetto notes, which cannot be said of every male singer competing in Eurovision national final season.

Johanna Eendra – “Miks sa teed nii?”

Sparkly eyeshadow, sparkly dress and sparkling vocal. The performance however was more of a diamond in the rough. Something between the laser matrix and interpretive dancers was off. The song is strong, but performance needed paring back a touch.

Jennifer Cohen – “Little Baby El”

The staging of the song put me in mind of Latvia 2012 and Jennifer did not sound on her vocal A-game. The choreography felt under developed and the aesthetic was underwhelming.

Sofia Rubina (feat. Janika Tenn”) – “Deep Water”

Someone on Twitter said Sofia was dressed for the funeral of a husband she’d just murdered and that description feels spot on. This was vocally well put together and the addition of some fun visual events elevated this song from its position at the back of the pack going into the semi-final.

Öed – “Öhuloss”

Estonia’s answer to Rita Ora and Iggy Azalea gave us brash in-your-face attitude and a brash in-your-face look to boot. Unfortunately, Estonian voters gave them the boot tonight, so we won’t see them in Tallinn.

Ranele – “Supernova”

The vocal veered toward the screechier end of the spectrum in places, but the production here was fun. Why not have metallic painted half-naked men dance around you while you belt out an Estonian dance banger, right? Sadly not enough to go through tonight.

What do you make of the results? Do you think Estonia has a winner in the first set of finalists? Let us know in the comments below!

GET MORE EESTI LAUL 2019 NEWS HERE

Photo: ERR

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AngieP
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AngieP

My 2 favourites “Without you” and “Storm” hopefully qualified.

Lost in diaspora
Guest

Ooooooof. Disappointing. Supernova deserved to go through. Plus Victor has an amazing song which is let down by his shaky flat vocals and cheesy catalogue model posing. Step your bussy up.

Currikitaum
Guest
Currikitaum

This NF is a mess. Estonia will have a hard time reaching the final.

zelenovi
Guest
zelenovi

Hmm I’m normally always here for folksy, own-language, ethereal performances, and I loved Rändajad back in the day, but… Soovide Puu just isn’t doing it for me. Rändajad felt edgy and full of tension, but this just feels like one of the weaker interpretations of a standard Eurovision formula from the 1990s.

Sandra is obviously an incredible vocalist and I think she elevates the performance more than the song itself deserves. Ain’t going anywhere in the final.

Piloot
Guest
Piloot

Agree. The authors of the song are different.

Héctor
Guest
Héctor

“Sofia was dressed for the funeral of a husband she’d just murdered and that description feels spot on”. OMG, so true! That killed me. Those ladies on the back don’t help either.

Enjoyable show, though I can’t see a top 10 place here. I agree with almost all of the qualifiers. Anyway, I wonder why can’t Spain learn of these smaller countries with less resources that set up impressive shows without any technical issue? It’s embarrasing.

Daniel García
Guest
Daniel García

Because Spain is not interested in winning. They only want to be as ridiculous as they can.

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

Going to keep it as positive as possible but how did Inger qualify? Definitely my last place of the night. With such a stripped-back song, you shouldn’t get away with vocals like that. Jennifer and Johanna have a right to be miffed. They offered so much more.

milky
Guest
milky

Inger is sadly a fan favourite in Estonia.

Daniel García
Guest
Daniel García

And he was the best singer of the night. His song is cute, and he is charming. I am glad he qualified

Loin dici
Guest
Loin dici

I didn’t know about this, did INGER confirmed that she changed her gender some time ago?

eurovision6
Guest
eurovision6

Could not agree more. The sad thing is the juries got him through.. if it was the televote I could understand it but a professional jury group thought it was among the four best acts? That is a joke

Peter M
Guest
Peter M

I think it’s pretty safe to say that Estonia won’t do as well as they did last year. So many average songs in Eesti Laul 2019. I can’t believe “Storm” is the favourite to win. His vocals are terrible, the chorus is really bad, the storm reveal at the end looked so cheesy and over the top also. Estonia should have won Eurovision last year in my opinion. Unfortunately, this year they won’t even come close.

Daniel García
Guest
Daniel García

“Pretty Little Liar” has not competed yet, and Uku Suviste has the potential to achieve another Top 10 for Estonia

Thiago
Guest
Thiago

Victor note perfect? Elephants must sing like angels then.

yom124
Guest
yom124

Jesus Christ Victor is so vocally off, staging is great but that sounds like he drank 5 kegs of whisky before a karaoke night

yom124
Guest
yom124

I think Uku may have this in the bag if he can deliver a decent performance in semi 2

Helen
Guest
Helen

Here are Victor’s comments after the show about the reason of his voice and etc https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fz1qB2w-gYI

Loin dici
Guest
Loin dici

Anyways, a relief that The Swingers made it through. They’re fun, lively and engaging. Also got hooked on Stefan’s performance. Also congrats for Sandra, Emily, Inger, and Victor.

My biggest surprise of the night must be Ranele. Such kind of song was compensated by an amazing singing and staging! It really popped on that stage!

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Interesting opinion about Ranele. Thanks for sharing. I had quite high marks for her own performance. Unfortunately, there were so many flashing lights that I had to look away, and I couldn’t accurately assess the choreography. The dancers were painted green with star constellation patterns added. Some beautiful artwork going on there. Unfortunately the flashing lights kinda ruined it – for me, there’s no point in spending so much time on artistically painted dancers if you’re going to blind the audience with flashing lights. The other issue was the song itself, which after the first minute went a bit static.… Read more »

Loin dici
Guest
Loin dici

The stage design reminded me more or less of EL16 which didn’t have any projections behind the performer. It’s not as energetic and option-filled as EL18 or EL17, and those diamond screens just didn’t work. Essentially good performances didn’t pop out well as I expected.

Nicola
Guest
Nicola

‘Storm’ had on of the coolest staging effects I’ve ever seen in ESC or an ESC related show. This song should win 100%.

Daniel García
Guest
Daniel García

Pretty Little Liar laughs at you ?????

Soph
Guest
Soph

Angus, I love you and your work but please have your ears checked, Victor Crone’s singing was far from note perfect tonight. 😀 He was often pitchy and seemed to really struggle with any high notes.

KYLLITO
Guest
KYLLITO

Soph….you are 100 percent correct

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

Victor’s vocals tho…”note perfect” lol
Best acts were Stefan and Inger, imo.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

High Heels in the Royal Palace better snatch. I ain’t here for Victrash Crone and his song for straight locals.

Nora
Guest
Nora

damn this semi was STACKED. In my eyes it was almost like what I would want the final to be, at least in terms of song quality (ik some of the live performances weren’t the best). There were some songs I liked that didn’t qualify which makes me sad, i.e. Little Baby El, Ohuloss, Miks sa teed nii, even Smile 🙁 oh well

Escfan
Guest
Escfan

Everyone saying their favs qualified and my 2 favs Johanna and Jennifer didn’t. Victor’s staging was lacklustre, Stefan and Sandra’s was boring. The only one I liked was hold me close

Guest
Guest
Guest

i also don’t like Sandra’s song and liked Johanna and Jennifer ,but if you looked at her performance you may see why she didn’t qualify. The staging is bad ,there were multiple backing vocalists who were nearly doing all lead vocals. Jennifer wasn’t great on vocals, the outfits weren’t great Pretty disappointing tbh. Johanna on the other hand was vocally on point looked great ,nice choreography but the staging engulfed her sadly.

Daniel García
Guest
Daniel García

6/6 – perfect prediction of the finalists for me!
Also, here is another prediction: based on tonight’s performances, Uku Suviste will go to Tel Aviv. All except Inger were terrible vocally tonight – especially Victor Crone (he was screaming the high notes instead of singing) and Sandra Nurmsalu (what happened to her tonight? She was very off).
Uku will destroy everyone in this semi if they don’t upgrade their game. Even more after the revamp of “Pretty Little Liar” and the mass support he will have with his Golos coach, Ani Lorak, by his side.

Samias
Guest
Samias

I think Stefan was on point vocally

Guest
Guest
Guest

ok firstly stefan was vocally on point and xtra basic ft.emily j sounded pretty decent too. Uku’s song is pretty overrated ,decent chorus not great versus’. I dunno if uku was sent to eurovision that he would do well.

Samias
Guest
Samias

Victor wasn’t note perfect, but how on Earth didn’t Sandra and Xtra Basic qualify in the first round???

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

I’m wondering about Sandra too, the other act on the other hand makes me wonder how they qualified at all…

Skjssv
Guest
Skjssv

Disagree 100% lmao

Guest
Guest
Guest

xtra basic was pretty decent tbh and sandra’s song is not only incredibly old fashioned but boring af to me. I’m sorry and I know loads of people like the song but I personally can’t stand the song .

Johanna
Guest
Johanna

Don‘t get how ‘Hold me close’ only qualified in the second round smh..

Skiwalko
Guest
Skiwalko

BTW I feel so sorry for Sofia Rubina – it was her 5th try, and her best finish was 7th out of 10. She has to come back, hopefully with a better song, cause her vocals are on point!

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

It wasn’t her. It was the song. Honestly.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

I had five favourites in this Semi Final, and they all qualified. This is a very good night for the Purple Mask. 🙂
Also, my congratulations to ERR for putting on an excellent live show (as the semi finals were recorded, but not broadcast live last year). There was some stunning camera-work, and I also noticed the innovative backing graphics (especially for Victor Crone, wow). The production there is definitely improving, so well done.

Skiwalko
Guest
Skiwalko

I hope there will be some changes done in Sandra’s performance, when they will be adapting it to Tallinn’s stage, ’cause tonight it really lacked the power and felt a bit monotonous – and it would be a shame for such a pretty song to get lost in crowd because of uneffective staging.

esc stan
Guest
esc stan

DEEP WATER ROBBED 🙁
I hope Grete Paia qualifies next semi

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

I think “Deep Water” was picked by the jury as a qualifier, but it failed to win public support. So therefore, she drowned.

Colin
Guest
Colin

All of my favorites qualified 🙂 Congrats! Sandra or Stefan FTW!

ESCFan2009
Guest
ESCFan2009

The sound was not as good as in the last years 🙁
Anyways, “watch out, they came for good, High Heels In The Neighbourhood” 😀 Yeeey! 😀

Edu
Guest
Edu

The semi finals are being held somewhere else this year. The final should be the same as normal again.

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

Sandra did a beautiful job, but they barely tried anything in terms of staging and this one will need something else to shine. Good camera work on Victor’s performance, but I agree with Gobio, he was pitchy when he went for higher notes, I hope we was just having a bad night. Stefan on the other hand had very good vocals, while The Swingers, Tanja & Birgit were fun to watch. Johanna was one of my favorites when the songs were released but as Angus pointed, something was clearly off during her performance.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

100% agree. 🙂
Just to add that Xtra Basic (song 3) had my top score for choreography – I really liked the dance interpretation.

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

I agree, Mask. The choreography was different and felt natural. My problem with this one were the vocals. Maybe Emily was just nervous, she seems young.

Jordy
Guest
Jordy

What a horrible selection this year..

Weißbrot
Guest
Weißbrot

Honestly, Sandra is sadly not going to win, so I’m 100% here for Uku Suviste! Either of the two would be another great choice for Estonia… Please don’t make Victor Crone happen, that song is just not outstanding or interesting enough.

Weißbrot
Guest
Weißbrot

Btw, Stefan was very good tonight, loved the performance.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Victor Crone had a very high quality production and staging behind him, but I agree that his vocals were not perfect, and that his charisma on camera needs a boost. The funny thing is that I said the same about Uku Suviste when he participated in Eesti Laul before, and this year it looks like Uku has come back much stronger, and with bags more of TV experience! He obviously really wants to win this contest. 🙂

James
Guest
James

His song from last time was well…horrendous. But I agree, I saw him perform his entry for this year live and I think he has a better chance now compared then.

Evan
Guest
Evan

Not so sure that Victor (who was my pre-show favorite)was note perfect… a lot of those notes were rough.

Helen
Guest
Helen

Here are Victor’s comments after the show about the reason of his voice and etc https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fz1qB2w-gYI

Hexular
Guest
Hexular

It´s pretty easy to see that the show has a new producer since everything is very half-baked compared to past years. Several songs had terrible stagings, camerawork was at times questionable and the soundmixing was pretty bad. Hope patch things up for the next semi and finals.

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

Half-baked is a great way to describe it. Sometimes it was like we were watching the rehearsals.

Egle
Guest
Egle

You are absolutely right! But I’m sure they will improve, cause Estonians are also critical. Final will be better, I hope.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

I’ll ask directly: How was the production “half-baked”?
Answers on a postcard, please.

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

Well, I can just answer for me, Mask, but i felt there was some kind of insecurity in the air. The issues weren’t necessarily technical (I haven’t noticed anything wrong with the sound, but this maybe would explain why many acts struggled vocally), more decision making related. For example, I’ve noticed that sometimes the camera angles were losing a bit of the action on the stage.

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

I trust they will, Egle. Especially for the final. One full week of rehearsals can make a huge difference. And now everybody knows how those entries looked on TV, they have some base to nip here and tuck there.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Hmmm. It is like we were watching a different show? 😛
Considering it was the Semi Final, I thought it went well. Was I wrong?

Pandaman
Guest
Pandaman

Sandra Nurmsalu! <3
Although I'm a bit scared for her, she only got through from the second round.

Katariina
Guest
Katariina

ÖED 🙁

Kyna
Guest
Kyna

If someone would ask me in which semi-final has the overall winner, then I have to say semi-final 2. This one was underwhelming, I really don’t see any of them to win the whole thing (yes, even Storm, the chorus was too shouty). It felt lackluster, only few of them were able to deliver well. I only liked Stefan the best among the qualifiers, maybe even Sandra too if they have put more effort on the staging.
My eyes are on Kadiah, Lacy Jay and Uku for this Saturday.

Pasadena
Guest
Pasadena

Why are all the favourites in the same SF? Strong performance by Stefan.

Eurolover
Guest
Eurolover

Little Baby El was my favourite but she had a bad live peformance. 🙁

zelenovi
Guest
zelenovi

Yeah same here. Shame – great song in the studio version, original concept, I thought she’d have a really energetic performance full of swagger. But I wouldn’t have voted for her either based on that performance. Missed opportunity! :/

FanESC
Guest
FanESC

“Soovide Puu” for Estonia 2019.

Gobio
Guest
Gobio

Victor’s low notes were promising, but in the high part he sounded really pitchy and sometimes flat.
Sandra was great but needs to create a bit more atmospheric staging.

eurovision6
Guest
eurovision6

Emily J tried too hard and it made it so flat for me.. Jennifer Cohen was even worse. Very sad since they were my two favs in this semifinal. I think Victor Crone had the best performance of the night.

Floprina
Guest
Floprina

Who would name themselves “The Swingers” LOL!

Bahog Bilal Hassani
Guest
Bahog Bilal Hassani

Estonians

Loin dici
Guest
Loin dici

Well, they did.

Guest
Guest
Guest

Apart from the swingers and personally don’t like sandra’s song (I’m sorry) . I think all the qualifiers deserved their place. Good result 🙂

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

Weird. I thought the show would start at 22.30.
Anyway, I’m happy that Sandra is in and sad that Marko is out, which means no male eye candy for the final.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

True. I miss Rasmus Rändvee.

TheFunnyBrain
Guest
TheFunnyBrain

I feel so sorry for Johanna Eendra. She was one of my favourites. But it was a strong semi-final, so difficult with her song. A Performance in the second SF would have been better in my eyes.

Pengu
Guest
Pengu

Swingers, really?