While 2020 has been a year of ups and down, Estonia is looking to the future. Broadcaster ERR has opened entries for its upcoming national final, Eesti Laul 2020. The contest will again involve two semi-finals and one grand final, due to take place on 6 March.
The show will keep the same format as recent years. There will be two semi-finals held on 18 and 20 February. In each semi-final, the 24 competing acts will battle for the 12 places in the grand final on 6 March 2021.
The grand final qualifiers will be decided using two rounds of voting. First, a jury and televote will decide the top eight out of the 12 acts in each semi. Those eight will then face a further round of televoting where the top six will qualify for the grand final.
At the grand final, the 12 acts will compete and will again face two rounds of voting. The top three acts will be decided by a jury and televoters. Those acts will battle it out in a superfinal. There, winner of the Eurovision ticket will be decided by televote alone.
Producer Tomi Rahula was hopeful about the role of the contest in the era of the pandemic, saying, “We are waiting for musicians and authors to participate in the competition. Music is and will stay in the changing world and Eesti Laul gives a chance to present these creations in the best way,”
How will Eesti Laul 2021 work?
Entries for Eesti Laul 2021 open today, 1 September 2020 and close on 6 November 2020. Each performer or group can submit up to five songs. And foreign creatives are welcome — just so long as they partner with at least one resident Estonian songwriter or performer.
Entrants are expected to submit not just their song but also ideas for the staging. The broadcaster wants artists to share “their vision of the possible stage show with the central idea, possible props and colour schemes.”
There’s also a participation fee, with a reduced rate for anyone entering a song in Estonian. Such songs will pay €25 for the early bird fee, or €50 if they enter in November. Songs with lyrics in a foreign language will pay €75 early bird fee or €150 if they enter in November.
From there, a jury will blindly select up to 24 competing songs. They should be announced no later than 12 November, and fans should expect to hear the songs themselves by 5 December.
Uku Suviste will return
But we already know one semi-finalist. Eesti Laul 2020 winner Uku Suviste has been guaranteed a place in the competition semi-finals — provided his song submission meets the Eesti Laul regulations. It’s written in the Eesti Laul 2021 rules!
Uku has previously spoken about how having a guaranteed place in the contest has changed his songwriting style. He said not having to pass the preliminary selection round has affected the way he writes, knowing his song won’t specifically have to grab the attention of the selection panel.
What do you think? Who would you like to see enter Eesti Laul 2021? Who should Estonia send to Rotterdam? Tell us your thoughts below!