Tomorrow night, the first semi-final of Estonia’s Eesti Laul 2020 will kick off. Twelve acts will compete to be among the six qualifiers heading to the Eesti Laul grand final — and with it, the chance to represent Estonia at Eurovision 2020. But who should get that ticket to Rotterdam?

The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — has listened to the 12 competing songs. The jury has picked their six favourite songs, representing six potential qualifiers for the grand final. Who should follow Victor Crone to Eurovision? Read on to find out!

Florian

1. Stefan – “By My Side”

Stefan’s “By My Side” comes across as a heartfelt and very genuine ballad. His vocal delivery is well put to shine at its strongest moments and complemented by some very honest and raw lyrics. The song builds up very progressively and while not losing its calm and relaxing approach, “By My Side” doesn’t get lost throughout the three minutes.

2. Laura – “Break Me”
3. Synne Valtri feat. Väliharf – “Majakad”
4. Anett x Fredi – “Write About Me”
5. Rasmus Rändvee – “Young”
6. Jennifer Cohen – “Ping Pong”

Antranig

1. Rasmus Rändvee – “Young”

This is definitely the stronger semi-final with a lot of good songs but without an amazing one. Truthfully, any of the songs in my top six would make for decent entries but none would blow me away. Rasmus is my favourite in Estonia, delivering an enjoyable yet light entry. Lyrically it is very relatable and as Rasmus sings about finding his way, the song develops and goes on a journey. It’s not a song that’s going to make waves but it will make memorable ripples.

2. Jennifer Cohen – “Ping Pong”
3. Laura – “Break Me”
4. Stefan – “By My Side”
5. Synne Valtri feat. Väliharf – “Majakad”
6. Renate – “Videomäng”

Sebastian

1. Egert Milder – “Georgia (On My Mind)”

Creating a George Ezra-like mood to his music, Egert Milder has been able to develop a familiar and easy tone within the three minutes of his track “Georgia (On My Mind)”. It’s refreshing to see a non-conventional song about missing a place (rather than a song about missing a person), while still sounding personal. Egert creates something quite anthemic by the end of the song, which is a pleasant surprise.

2. Anett x Fredi – “Write About Me”
3. Rasmus Rändvee – “Young”
4. Laura – “Break Me”
5. Kruuv – “Leelo”
6. Synne Valtri feat. Väliharf – “Majakad”

Åri

1. Anett x Fredi – “Write About Me”

I’m actually the one who labelled the first semi-final as a bloodbath when the artists were revealed, but you know what? I don’t feel like that anymore at all. “Write About Me” is my sixth-favourite song of the selection, but it’s the best one this semi-final has to offer. Meh. It’s not that it’s a bad song, not at all. I actually really like this track. But nevertheless, it’s underwhelming as a semi winner. Lyrically, it’s a bit kitschy but at the same time moving and relatable, and production-wise it’s one of my favourites. It’s unique, indie, and deserves to sail through to the final easily.

2. Renate – “Videomäng”
3. Rasmus Rändvee – “Young”
4. Stefan – “By My Side”
5. INGA – “Right Time”
6. Laura – “Break Me”

Tom

1. Kruuv – “Leelo”

My favourite from this pack is “Leelo” by Kruuv. Though all of my top six songs are 7 or 7.5 out of 10 for me, I simply went for the song that I want to listen to again more. Why? It just makes me happy and there is something to be said for a song like that. I don’t understand it, I don’t need to. Leelo is just a joyful, fun song that I will look forward to listening to in the semi-final. If it gets through, great! If not, I am not going to cry about it.

2. Stefan – “By My Side”
3. Anett x Fredi – “Write About Me”
4. Egert Milder – “Georgia (On My Mind)”
5. Rasmus Rändvee – “Young”
6. Little Mess – “Without a Reason”

Bernardo

1. Rasmus Rändvee – “Young”

“Young” is a radio-friendly cocktail with all the right ingredients. Rasmus has a strong and rich vocal that makes it impossible for the song to fall into generic territory. Pair that with relatable lyrical content and a competent and modern production that mixes pop with hints of country and electronic sounds and you have a product for success. It’s more than enough to top this semi-final and possibly go all the way to Eurovision.

2. Stefan – “By My Side”
3. Egert Milder – “Georgia (On My Mind)”
4. Annet x Fredi – “Write about Me”
5. INGA – “Right Time”
6. Reveals – “Kirjutan romaani”

Robyn

1. Laura – “Break Me”

I’ve never been a huge fan of Laura’s previous efforts (including “Verona”!) but if this is the Estonian Gaga’s Joanne phase, I am here for it. The blend of folky western styles — including banjo! — with electronica brings an earthiness to the modern. Laura is an experienced performer and she knows what kind of song works for her. This feels like a strong, organic fit, with plenty of emotion and an impossibly catchy chorus.

2. Kruuv – “Leelo”
3. Synne Valtri feat. Väliharf – “Majakad”
4. Rasmus Rändvee – “Young”
5. Egert Milder – “Georgia (On My Mind)”
6. Jennifer Cohen – “Ping Pong”

Barnabas

1. Anett x Fredi – “Write About Me”

There are far too few good blues songs in the Eurovision repertoire, “Write About Me” could easily be a nice addition to the likes of “Unsubstantial Blues”. Despite the cliché lyrics, Anett’s voice does enough to create that melancholic atmosphere we all love about blues songs and the mix of guitars and brass with electronic drums translates the song well to the new decade. Blues ain’t dead, y’all!

2. Synne Valtri feat. Väliharf – “Majakad”
3. Revals – “Kirjutan romaani”
4. Stefan – “By My Side”
5. Renate – “Videomäng”
6. Kruuv – “Leelo”

Calvin

1. Rasmus Rändvee – “Young”

This song gives me vibes of Ed Sheeran’s “Castle on the Hill”. “Young” is mainstream, but occupies the niche of folk-pop.  Am I the only one who thinks this song would be great for a road trip?  Looking back at childhood with a certain melancholy, this song really hit home with me.  Be careful what you wish for because sometimes you’ll only realise what you miss when you don’t have it anymore.  These inner thoughts combined with a progressive beat, tempo variations and an experienced artist make me optimistic about this entry.

2. INGA – “Right Time”
3. Anett x Fredi – “Write About Me”
4. Synne Valtri feat. Väliharf – “Majakad”
5. Jennifer Cohen – “Ping Pong”
6. Stefan – “By My Side”

Natalie

1. Renate – “Videomäng”

I didn’t hear anything from the first semi-final that could really make a massive impact on the scoreboard for Estonia, sadly. But as for my personal favourites, I have to go for those magical Estonian language songs. Renate’s “Videomang” rises to the top. It’s a beautiful piece of music that’s subtle and enchanting and held together by Renate’s great voice. The storytelling transcends even for those like me who have no knowledge at all of Estonian. The music video adds to all the beautiful elements and makes me hopeful there’ll be some powerful staging too. I don’t know if it will go far for the country in Rotterdam, but it’s special nonetheless.

2. Revals – “Kirjutan romaani”
3. Synne Valtri feat. Väliharf – “Majakad”
4. Laura – “Break Me”
5. Anett x Fredi – “Write About Me”
6. INGA – “Right Time”

Esma

1. Anett x Fredi – “Write About Me”

With this song, Anett and Fredi will be written about. I’m a huge fan of jazz music, and I think this genre is underrated. To me, “Write About Me” sounds like the soundtrack of a 1930s film. The combination of flawless vocals and the magical atmosphere of the song will really stand out in comparison to the other songs in this semi-final

2. INGA – “Right Time”
3. Rasmus Rändvee – “Young”
4. Laura – “Break Me”
5. Jennifer Cohen – “Ping Pong”
6. Renate – “Videomäng”

Pablo

1. Synne Valtri feat. Väliharf – “Majakad”

The best in all of Eesti Laul 2020, done. Easily the most improved returnee, Synne’s decision to go from dated schlager to a Viking-allied siren in an Estonian nightclub by the coast was nothing short of brilliant. The acoustic guitar twangs breathe life into the pumping beats, and the gravelly voices of Väliharf compliment the song just right. This is incredibly fun, and it has the potential to transmit so much live, it could do the trick.

2. Laura – “Break Me”
3. Rasmus Rändvee – “Young”
4. Revals – “Kirjutan romaani”
5. Jennifer Cohen – “Ping Pong”
6. INGA – “Right Time”

Renske

1. Rasmus Rändvee – “Young”

For some reason, this song gives me nostalgic vibes, but yet it’s current and it’s super radio-friendly. Within the first few seconds, “Young” oozes quality and feels incredibly personal. Singer-songwriter is hot at Eurovision and Estonia has been doing well with more indie-pop sounding songs in the past few years. “Young” would therefore be a great follow-up to that.

2. Egert Milder – “Georgia (On My Mind)”
3. Stefan – “By My Side”
4. INGA – “Right Time”
5. Laura – “Break Me”
6. Jennifer Cohen – “Ping Pong”

What do you think? Which acts should qualify for the Eesti Laul grand final. Share your favourites below!

Read more Estonia Eurovision 2020 news here

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Alvarito
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Alvarito

Only 1 jury put Little Mess in their 6 QF?????? They are the queens of this semi final

Kosey
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Kosey

Really enjoyed this selection – the ones I remembered from first listen were videomang, leelo, Georgia and majakad.

Kazakhstan is Europe
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Kazakhstan is Europe

Majankad! ?????

Angelika
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Angelika

I liked ”Verona”.
But Laura’s song is good as well. Nice music!

Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

Thanks jury. This is a very interesting semi, with many artists and songs that I really like. I have no idea who is going to qualify. Interestingly my most listened-to song of this bunch is Jennifer Cohen’s “Ping Pong”! 😀 (Little Mess is second!)
But obviously I’m a fan of Renate, Stefan, Rasmus and Laura… Then there are Synne and Egert’s songs, and all the rest are good too. Is it too late to call this one off and send them all straight to the final?

GIOLO
Guest
GIOLO

This is my prediction of qualifiers right now (it can change after the semi final)

Rasmus Randvee
Synne Valtri
Laura
Jennifer Cohen
Stefan
Inga

Egert has some chances too

Film
Guest
Film

Not much to choose from here, but i really started to like Laura – “Break Me”. Im also curious to see how the song would be staged.

Aaron
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Aaron

Laura always brings the staging, I will be disappointed if she doesn’t bring a show like Supersonic

Diana
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Diana

Rasmus is the best choice of this semi-final. His voice is strong, and rich. He is really charismatic and the song had been stuck in my head since i heard it first time.

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

There’s only one song I listen to from this semi, and that is Renate’s “Videomäng”, so I’m with Natalie here. The song teeters on the edge of schlager, but in my opinion still falls on the right side. Renate could be a lower pitched, a little les adventurous version of Sandra Nurmsalu, I’d have to see the live version to really judge that. I do not think she can win the whole thing, but advance to the final – why not? The song is completely different from everything else in this selection and not that vocally challenging, so if she… Read more »

Colin
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Colin

Interesting you mentioned Sandra Nurmsalu, because when I listened to Videomang, a family member thought it was sung by Sandra. They do have a similar style of singing. I like Videomang too. It’s a nice song with nostalgic lyrics. I can actually pull a lyrical similarity with Aksel’s Looking Back, although that one implies singing to an ex, while Renate’s song implies it’s about friends.

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

Renate’s voice sits a little lower than Sandra’s, she could be more of an alto, but it’s hard to tell for sure behind all the reverb in the studio cut (and of course because the song itself doesn’t max out her vocal abilities). I’m curious to hear her sing live. Do you know, if she has been in Eesti Laul before?

Colin
Guest
Colin

Not to my knowledge, but I have been following most national finals since 2016 or so.

Briekimchi
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Briekimchi

I think this is her first time.
I know she was a Youtuber famous for covering Eurovision and Eesti Laul songs on piano (very well may I add). Maybe that’s why her name feels so familiar?

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

Thank you, Briekimchi. But she didn’t sound familiar – I’m only systematically following the preselections since last year. I just thought, I’d perhaps be able to find an old live performance. I have tried to find her Youtube channel, but no luck. I guess, I’ll have to wait until tomorrow. 🙂

John Moynahan
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John Moynahan

Definitely with Team Sebastian here…again!….(agreed again in Australia Decides and IOTA!!)
Can’t understand how so many underestimate Egert Milder and Georgia (On My Mind)……its George Ezra vibe and singalong quality is way above anything else in this years Eesti Laul…….Go Egert and prove me (and Sebastian) right!!!

Colin
Guest
Colin

Team Rasmus all the way! I really hope he wins Eesti Laul! One of my favorite songs of the season. 🙂
I really hope Stefan qualifies too. 😉
There is no lack of solid songs here, so other four may be the ones with best performances.

Fionn
Guest
Fionn

Write about me and videomang are my favourites. Jaagup Tuisk isn’t far behind

ImJJ
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ImJJ

Rasmus!!!

Robert
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Robert

Ping Pong Bitch!! J’adore

Briekimchi
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Briekimchi

I’m Team Stefan here but still, I wanted one of you guys to commit to Pingpong. 😉