koit toome, uku suviste, juri pootsmann

Estonia’s ERR has unveiled the first set of semi-finalists of Eesti Laul 2021, and two former Eurovision stars are joining Uku Suviste in the race to Rotterdam.

Jüri Pootsmann, who represented the country in Stockholm in 2016, and two time-Eurovision veteran Koit Toome are back. They join Uku and nine other Eesti Laul semi-finalists. So far, the list includes previous Eesti Laul contestants Kéa and Tuuli Rand, as well as Mauritian singer Hans Nayna.

Eesti Laul 2021’s first 12 semi-finalists

On Wednesday, Estonia’s broadcaster revealed the first half of the Eesti Laul 2021 line-up. The rest are scheduled to be published on Thursday.

The first 12 names are:

  • Uku Suviste – “The Lucky One”
  • Gram-Of-Fun – “Lost In A Dance”
  • Tuuli Rand – “Üks öö”
  • Jüri Pootsmann – “Magus melanhoolia”
  • REDEL – “Tartu”
  • Kea – “Hypnotized”
  • Hans Nayna – “One By One”
  • Nika Marula – “Calm Down”
  • Andrei Zevakin & Pluuto – “Wingman”
  • Wiiralt – “Tuuled”
  • Helen – “Nii kõrgele”
  • Koit Toome – “We Could Have Been Beautiful”

Besides Uku, Jüri and Koit, the list includes some other familiar faces. Kéa tried her luck at Eesti Laul 2016 with her song “Lonely Boy”. Tuuli Rand had two songs in the 2013 final: a duet with Teele Viira and another as a part of the band Söörömöö.

Another two songs include Kristel Aalsaid as one of the composers. Back in 2016, she teamed up with Cartoon and came third with “Immortality”. At the time Jüri beat her, and so did Eurovision veteran and Koit Toome’s partner in “Verona”, Laura. Is 2021 the time for the 2016 contestants’ revenge?

The rest of the contestants include Mauritian singer Hans Nayna, who has teamed up with an Estonian songwriter for his song “One by One”. There’s also REDEL, whose song is called “Tartu”, just like Estonia’s second largest city. With all shows being held in Tallinn this year, perhaps Tartu will have its day in another way.

Uku Suviste tries again with “The Lucky One”

Last year’s Eesti Laul winner Uku Suviste may not have made it to Rotterdam due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but he’s back with “The Lucky One”. The song, once again, has been co-written by Dream Team member Sharon Vaughn and Uku himself. Will he be more fortunate this time?

Unlike other countries, Estonia made it clear rather quickly that Uku Suviste would have a spot in this year’s national final. Back in March, Uku explained he was “sad” and “sorry”, but he already confirmed he would “definitely” participate again.

His response was far more understated than that of songwriter Philipp Kirkorov. Mr Kirkorov, who had collaborated on Uku’s 2020 entry “What Love Is”, said the broadcaster’s decision was “not only insulting, but also annoying”.

Months later, Uku said that he thought the preliminary round — the open call for songs — “is the toughest one to pass”.

Indeed, a jury picks the 24 Eesti Laul semi-finalists without knowing the artists’ identity. Knowing how popular he is, that may feel like a drawback. Uku felt excited about being able to write a song without having to keep the selection process in mind.

Working with the Dream Team

Uku Suviste and Sharon Vaughn are the only people credited on “The Lucky One”. However, more members of the Dream Team have definitely been involved.

Back in September, the Greek creative director Ilias Kokotos shared Instagram footage of the Estonian star collaborating (via Zoom) with noted Greek composer and Eurovision maestro Dimitris Kontopoulos.

The story also tagged Dimitris’s collaborators Sharon Vaughn (“Waterline” and “Release Me”) and Philipp Kirkorov (“Scream” and “You Are The Only One”), and vocal coach Victoria Chalkiti, who had worked with Uku and Moldova’s Natalia Gordienko.

Jüri Pootsmann goes for Estonian

Back in 2016, Jüri Pootsmann took the Eesti Laul trophy with “Play”. His luck appeared to end there, as he came last in the Eurovision semi-final. Fellow Eurovision entrant Stig Rästa had composed the song. The result, however, was diametrically opposed to that of “Goodbye to Yesterday”.

Now his song is called “Magus melanhoolia” which roughly translates to “Sweet melancholy”. He has teamed up with Joonas Mattias Sarapuu, Jana Hallas and Aleksi Liski. Joonas is a singer as well, while Jana is a designer and lyricist, and Aleksi is a musician from Finland.

At least the song title is in Estonian. Estonia hasn’t picked a song in their national language since the back-to-back years of 2012 and 2013. Back then, Ott Lepland reached sixth place with “Kuula” and Birgit Õigemeel also qualified for the final with “Et uus saaks alguse”. Could “Magus melanhoolia” be next?

Koit Toome tries again

Koit Toome was one of Estonia’s first entrants at Eurovision back in 1998. After several attempts, he managed to get back to the European stage in 2017 with “Verona”. Laura Põldvere was his mate for the song, and they were heavy favourites ahead of the show.

Nevertheless, the tragedy was not only literary. The couple did not only lose their Verona. They also lost their spot in the final.

For 2021, Koit’s song is called “We Could Have Been Beautiful”. Does this relate in any way to his unfortunate elimination in the 2017 semi-final? Time will tell.

Who are you most excited for at Eesti Laul 2021? Do you think Uku can earn a second landslide victory in a row? Will Jüri or Koit make it back to the Eurovision stage? Let us know in the comments section below!

READ MORE ESTONIA NEWS HERE

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
51 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
oscillate
oscillate
18 days ago

Play was a good song. The performance however was a meh. Looking forward to to Juri’s entry this year.

Colin
Colin
18 days ago
Reply to  oscillate

The only thing lacking in that performance was Juri being visibly under stage fright and shaking. Other than that, he didn’t miss a note, nor was the staging concept bad. It just shows how some aspects can really make a dominant impression on people. Still, having that song last is one of my personal most disappointing moments of the decade. We had some great songs not qualifying (Blackbird, Crisalide, Telemoveis, Hope Never Dies, Playing with Numbers, A Matter of Time, to name a few), but at least none of them was dead last. 🙁

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
17 days ago
Reply to  Colin

It just didn’t “play” well with the jury or the audience. (Get it? Play well?) 😀
My jokes are dead last.

oscillate
oscillate
12 days ago
Reply to  Colin

I agree. That is why it was disappointing. Song was good. Juri can definitely sing. It was really unfortunate that it was nit transmitted through the performance.

Joe
Joe
19 days ago

Line-up’s complete! A few more Estonian veterans now as well, including Tanja (2014) and Ivo Linna (1996!). There’s also a group called Alabama Watchdog (I’m…interested by what they could sound like) and one called Supernova (so if you’re sad Latvia aren’t doing their national final, at least Supernova’s still here in a way).

Joe
Joe
19 days ago
Reply to  Joe

Sissi, Dave Benton’s daughter, is in the lineup. But apparently this is the first year in ages to not feature anything by Stig Rasta. See you next year, amigo.

JDS
JDS
19 days ago

Why do so many Eurofans still seem unable to accept Verona didn’t qualify? What was the appeal? Koit is clearly talented but he came across as incredibly creepy, and Laura sounded very nasal and couldn’t enunciate her words properly (“like two silly boats in the sea”)

Whisker
Whisker
19 days ago
Reply to  JDS

I accept Verona didn’t qualify tho I was very upset. I am still upset. I wish I knew who was to blame for that failure – I DO have some theories! Also, they should have done the performance again after the Laura’s mike disaster, it could have been a more than reasonable excuse or divine intervention and could have “regrouped” and have a proper performance. They should have done it AT LEAST for the FANS and for posterity. Saying that they had already given their best already – or something along those lines – wasn’t ok. If that was their… Read more »

JDS
JDS
18 days ago
Reply to  Whisker

But the same thing happened to Sandie Shaw in 1967 and Carola in 1983, their microphones failed at the start and they weren’t badly impacted.

Plus the televoters voted for it anyway, it was the juries who killed it, and they wouldn’t have had the microphone failures during the jury semi-final.

Una
Una
18 days ago
Reply to  Whisker

Nothing could have saved “Verona” from the DQ. Performing again? The problem was right there and it was not the microphone. Everyone could see the problem. I remember my dismay at watching KT’s facial expressions like it was yesterday. Totally unfair on Laura who rocked and kept her composure (not burst in laughing) when K touched her face and sang a few inches from her. Horrendous. My god. How was that allowed to happen.

JDS
JDS
17 days ago
Reply to  Una

I know, she did very well to not laugh at that moment. Or vomit.

When he strokes her hair and makes that weird grin… ugh

Denis
Denis
19 days ago
Reply to  JDS

Wonder it too! I never liked it and I was probably one of few who knew it wouldn’t qualify. It was so old-fashioned, like a tribute-band to Modern Talking and other 80’s bands. It’s not the type of music anybody listens to any-more. And Koiit’s death stares into the camera made it more hilarious than serious..

Joe
Joe
19 days ago
Reply to  Denis

I mean…it was fine. It was a perfectly decent song. Their chemistry was…fine. The staging was…fine. It was fine in the same way Switzerland and Serbia were fine. There were a bunch of songs in that semi that were pleasant and not necessarily unworthy of the final, but were never really incredible by any other measure. One of them was going to get a spot not occupied by something unique (Hungary), cute (Austria, Belarus, Netherlands), danceable (Israel, Norway), novel (Romania, Croatia), or undeniably the champ of the group (Bulgaria). Denmark got lucky, but that spot could’ve just as easily been… Read more »

Last edited 19 days ago by Joe
JDS
JDS
18 days ago
Reply to  Denis

Poor Koit, I bet he thought he was smouldering, but it just came across as creepy, and as you said, funny.

And yes, it was so dated. So I don’t understand why eurofans seem to have taken to it so much.

Last edited 18 days ago by JDS
Ashton
Ashton
18 days ago
Reply to  JDS

I never understood the hype for Verona, as I have said in other comments. It’s just so bland and so dated.

JDS
JDS
18 days ago
Reply to  Ashton

It really is!

Liisa
Liisa
18 days ago
Reply to  JDS

I’m Estonian and “Verona” wasn’t my favourite in Eesti Laul 2017 but I think, semi final 2 of Eurovision head some qualifiers that were worse than “Verona”, like the Netherlands, Austria and Denmark. Were they less bland than “Verona”? No.

Hyunwoo
Hyunwoo
19 days ago

Guys, we also want Tanja and Koit Toome in Eesti Laul 2021!

raw
raw
19 days ago
Reply to  Hyunwoo

Tanja sent her song aswell, so let’s see if she got through 🙂

esc_fl
esc_fl
19 days ago

Juri Pootsmann was one of my favorites in 2016, and personally he didn’t deserve the last place even if parts of the performance were awkward. Really looking forward to his entry! Does anyone know when they will be released?

raw
raw
19 days ago
Reply to  esc_fl

The songs will be presented on ETV on December 5 and after the show they can be published on YouTube, Spotify etc.

Jack Fincher-Pricefield
Jack Fincher-Pricefield
19 days ago

You’ve forgotten Nika Marula is also a familiar face who took part in 2018 with “Knock Knock” one of my favourite Eesti Laul entries in recent years, so happy she’s back!

Idksmth
Idksmth
19 days ago

I just hope that Uku has a song that will be more towards the style of “Pretty Little Liar” rather than “What Love is” because that was dreadful. This semi sounds like a bloodbath of returnees so good luck to everyone.
And I hope Juri has a good song for a change.

ESCFan2009
ESCFan2009
19 days ago

“Play” is one of my all-time-favorites. I love the dark vibe and elegance that Juri transported. So looking forward to his new entry! *-*

Lele
Lele
19 days ago

Nika Marula was already in the Eesti Laul final in 2018 🙂

zheng
zheng
19 days ago
Reply to  Lele

She was amazing with song Knock Knock

Levi
Levi
19 days ago

Please don’t forget about Nika Marula either, she took part in Eesti Laul in 2018 with the song “Knock Knock” and she got to the Final! She was my winner that year and I’m soo excited to see her again, I hope her song will be epic again and she can do well.

cats and dogs eurovision
cats and dogs eurovision
19 days ago

can we talk about how extremely hot Juri Pootsmann is *_*? this is unbelievable.. he was already so good looking in 2016, but now I fell in love with him.. I hope his song will be a banger

Last edited 19 days ago by cats and dogs eurovision
JDS
JDS
19 days ago

It’s a shame they dressed him like a 60 year old in 2016.

Whisker
Whisker
19 days ago

My crash course in Estonian worked! NOT! I didn’t understand much other than a Tennessee country rock or something band, which I am so curious about!

Nora Pap
Nora Pap
19 days ago

Last couple of years I followed Estonian artists really a lot. But still…

Koit is the best! ?

Azaad
Azaad
19 days ago

The Lucky One sounds less bland than What Love Is so hopefully Uku’s new song is less basic than the one he won Eesti Laul with. Hopefully the Dream Team were too busy with Natalia and more or less let Uku do his own thing.

jason
jason
19 days ago

Indrek Vaheoja from REDEL was the main vocalist of Winny Puhh who participated in EL 2013 and came third

sam
sam
19 days ago

jüri is so beautiful and he was ROBBED in 2016

Whisker
Whisker
19 days ago
Reply to  sam

His vocals were poor. His performance lacked charisma. The song was good.

Denis
Denis
19 days ago

If Koit’s death stares are back, as in 2017, I’m all for it..

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
19 days ago

Jüri Pootsmann is a really good singer. However, my memory of him in an ESC sense is winning a really good Eesti Laul with a bad Stig Rästa song (one of many). Hopefully, he’s got something more suited for him this time around.

Yes
Yes
19 days ago

Juri is very well-known, i guess he can win

Leo
Leo
19 days ago

I really hope this year’s edition would be great!
Eesti laul is one of my favorite national finals but since 2019 it kinda got really average and mediocre.

LaVoixCZ
19 days ago
Reply to  Leo

Yupp, 100 %

Frisian esc
Frisian esc
19 days ago

Those titles are all really exciting!

Una
Una
19 days ago

I know way too few artists from this line-up but I am very happy with Estonia. I was thinking that we’ll have some surprises (like known names, hopefully Kerli too) on Thursday. Very nice article too and very informative. About the songs: Uku’s – I assume it will not be a ballad. What Love Is was not that well received so I would expect a change. That said I have no idea how versatile Uku is. But *I have to say” that he looks “gorgeous* in that picture. Hands down the most handsome, no offense to the rest of them.… Read more »

Whisker
Whisker
19 days ago
Reply to  Una

I was listening to “We could be so beautiful” Denmark 2019 YESTERDAY.Pretty shockers to read the title of Koit’s song. Is that a coincidence or not? I hope it’s just a coincidence. I want original titles, lyrics, themes and such when it comes to Eurovision songs. Thank you.

Una
Una
19 days ago
Reply to  Whisker

So funny. Talking titles, this “we could be beautiful” thing in its variations is much better than having two women singing “warrior” in the same edition alas in different semis and only one making it to the GF. Now we talk different people from different countries in different years. Never got to see Mielou live but she surely looks very different from Koit (with an “o”, I know).

ESC8
ESC8
19 days ago

I’m really glad for Juri coming back. I mean his non-qualification is one of the biggest crimes in ESC history, for me at least, it was one of my favourites back then and I really thought that he could have won the whole thing! However, I also believed that he could have a better staging in Stockholm, I mean this card thing was lame for me and it degraded the serious attitude that this song should have. But even in this case he deserved at least a spot in the final. However, now I am really interested and looking forward… Read more »

raw
raw
19 days ago

I am super happy to see that Jüri, Koit and Uku are back.

Andrei Zevakin and Pluuto are currently very popular among young Estonians, so if they will have a good song, then it might be a strong contender. Although Pluuto is a young hiphop artist and I’m not sure I would like to see that kind of song at ESC.

For Thursday, I hope that Tanja and Inga (under her new band DeLULU) who both sent their songs to Eesti Laul this year, will get through.

Una
Una
19 days ago
Reply to  raw

Thanks for providing the time of the show and the link. It worked well.

Frisian esc
Frisian esc
19 days ago
Reply to  raw

I mean a good hiphop or rap entry at eurovision is long over due

Erasmus
Erasmus
19 days ago

my favourites so far: Jüri (of course), Kea and Gram-of-Fun, and also perhaps Nika Marula and Andrei Zevakin & Pluuto.. i’m just happy to see that both Koit and Uku are since this probably means that mums will vote for just one of them – less votes for either of them (just guessing that I won’t like the songs) and my prediction of who will make it to the final (random order) Juri Uku Koit Gram-of-Fun and than either Nika, Kea or Andrei&Pluuto and also hoping to see Kerli, Elina Born, Ariadne, Mick Pedaja or Lenna Kuurmaa. But I’m already… Read more »

Erasmus
Erasmus
19 days ago
Reply to  Erasmus

and also Laura said that Jüri’s song is very “him” so I have no doubts that will be what I expect it to be (moody, dark, modern song)

Colin
Colin
19 days ago

Juri Pootsmann, my winner of 2016, is back! And it’s not even my birthday. 🙂 🙂 🙂