The Wiwi Jury — our in-house team of music unprofessionals — is reviewing and rating the 40 competing songs in Eurovision 2022. Next we review Estonia, who have chosen Stefan with “Hope”.

Were we getting in the cowboy spirit? Read on to find out!

Stefan – “Hope” (Estonia Eurovision 2022)

Review: Stefan – “Hope”

Lucy: Stefan has been inching towards an Eesti Laul win for years, so I’m delighted he’s now actually made it to Eurovision – it’s by far his best attempt. “Hope” is so very different than anything in the contest this year, and Stefan’s voice suits it to a tee. His soulful tones in the song provide an experience straight from a high-budget Western movie. He is a charismatic performer, with a song that takes on a whole new meaning in current times. I hope, I hope, I hope he does well in the grand final for Estonia!

Score: 9.5

William: The staging in Estonia was very Brokeback Mountain with an emphasis on the broke. It looked so cheap I felt like I was at a kiddie amusement park, where you might be able to get away with thrift store cowboy costumes. Stefan deserves more and he deserves better, because the song is actually strong. Its Spaghetti Western vibe comes through strongly and the chorus soars with optimism and the hope Stefan so beautifully sings about. I hope (I hope, I hope…) that he gets the staging he deserves. With something less cliché and more expensive he’ll be worthy of a spot in the final. 

Score: 5.5

Tom: Estonia does country! Who knew? And it’s not half bad. Stefan’s voice is excellent, he’s likable, and I appreciate the message of the song. Now, I “Hope” the Estonian team don’t go full on cowboy on stage; the performance has potential and I don’t want it to turn into something tacky. I will also add that I would have liked “Hope” to give us something different in the second half of the song – it is a tad repetitive. That being said, there is nothing like this in the contest this year and it will stand out from the pack. I don’t think “Hope” will worry the upper end of the scoreboard, but it should still cruise into the final.

Score: 7

Josh: I’ve had my eye on Stefan for a long time, ever since he first competed at Eesti Laul. I’ve felt like he could make it to Eurovision, and make a big impact, if he just had the right song. Unfortunately, the phenomenon of talented artists finally making it to the contest with a song that just doesn’t reflect their best is alive and well here. It gives off “B-side soundtrack of a generic Western movie” vibes, and it pains me to say, but it leaves me absolutely bored and uninterested. The credits are rolling, but the audience has left the theatre.

Score: 3

Pablo: First of all, bringing Spaghetti Western to an Italian-hosted Eurovision is the most clever nod to a place’s culture I’ve seen in a while. “Hope” treads that fine line between pop and art perfectly. It’s cinematic and grandiose, but still feels accessible, immersing the listener in this melancholic, but rousing universe where the sun’s intense heat mercilessly falls on the landscape of an adventurer on horseback. A movie that’s not lacking in gruff Western intensity and beauty, surely Ennio Morricone’s smiling somewhere. Estonia is back, and what a way to do so.

Score: 9.5

Estonia Eurovision 2022 ranking

In the Eurovision 2022 Wiwi Jury, we have 18 jurors but only have room for five reviews. The remaining scores are below:

Angus: 6.5

Antranig: 8

Cinan: 6

Deban: 7.5

Jonathan: 6

Luis: 7

Natalie: 5

Oliver: 5

Renske: 8

Robyn: 7.5

Ron: 9

Sebastian: 5

Suzanne: 5

We have removed the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. This is to remove outliers and potential bias. We have removed a low of 3 and a high of 9.5.

Wiwi Jury verdict: 6.72/10

What do you think of Estonia’s Eurovision 2022 entry? Share your own score and review for Stefan’s “Hope” below!

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Alvin
Alvin
2 months ago

Stefan is both a hottie and a cutie!

I would gift him a skintight white-colored cotton mask and would kindly ask him to put on the mask on his face so I could see his sexy nose and lips imprint on the mask’s surface! ?

ESC Stan
ESC Stan
2 months ago

I wasn’t a fan of this to start off with, but when I saw people love this I tried to be objective. Its so different to what we usually hear and his voice is top tier. I do look forward to hearing it live.

Azan
Azan
2 months ago

This is so inspirational and uplifting! One of my fave songs from this year!

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
2 months ago

Divisive, vital, repetitive and self-affirming. This is a solid entry in a “year of meh.” Not everyone will appreciate music from Westerns, but this song has the potential to move a lot of people. It draws people in with hooks, hooks, hooks. The rhythms have the mechanical efficiency of gunshots, and it is all very calculated and deliberate. Stefan was knocking on the door of winning Eesti Laul for some years prior with his emotional music, and wow did he win it at the right time. This is the “dark horse” song of the year for me, and an actual… Read more »

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
2 months ago
Reply to  Purple Mask

I forgot to mention that this song also won my (invisible) lyrics trophy award for ESC 2022. Congratulations to Stefan and Karl-Ander Reismann.

Syl
Syl
2 months ago

I like it. Stefan is handsome and a good singer, and the chorus is rousing and…well, hopeful. Somewhere in my top 10-15 definitely.

Vivian
Vivian
2 months ago

I’m not quite into this as much as I think I should given the song itself is not bad at all. It’s just that there is something in this that I don’t like that I’m not able to explain. You ever have something like that? Anyway, I think the song is OK, should easily qualify since Stefan is a good live performer, and who knows? It might grow on me during Eurovision! It’s a 6/10 for me now.

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
2 months ago

Definitely agree that Stefan was the right choice for Estonia and I really think this has the potential to do well with the televote, especially with people who don’t follow the Eurovision songs a lot before the contest. It’s incredibly accessible and ticks a lot of boxes.
I also foresee a top ten position for Estonia come May.

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
2 months ago

This is in my top ten and feels like it is comfortably Estonia’s strongest entry for a long time. I feel it does actually have some dark horse winner potential, if more substantive songs don’t quite hit home, this does a lot of the shallow things really well and does have just enough deeper meaning that it wouldn’t look out of place towards the top of the scoreboard. As for the song itself, obviously the Western influences are strong in this one but it’s probably the most authentic-seeming presentation of such at Eurovision so far. Stefan’s voice is perfect for… Read more »

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
2 months ago
Reply to  Briekimchi

Rating: 8.0/10.0

Lil Krumpy
2 months ago

24.Estonia – I mean he has a perfect voice for it. Western with pop influences. It has definitely been done before. Imagine if it were partially in Estonian.

Sabrina
Sabrina
2 months ago

“Hope” is that entry many people like, but very few have as their favorite. In any case, it’s a solid song that has enough charm to separate itself from the pack while being easy on the ears for all kinds of audiences. The chorus is far from great, but Stefan sells the whole thing well. The Western concept gives it a special flair and you can’t go wrong by paying homage to Morricone in Italian territory. I’m curious to see how Jaagup Tuisk will do as its staging director, his Eesti Laul’s entries were super cinematic, which is the goal… Read more »

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
2 months ago
Reply to  Sabrina

I was thinking that this song would settle into everyone’s, say, top 15 and probably not go much higher but I’m surprised to say that a few of the rankings that I’ve came across on youtube have actually placed Estonia as number 1.
Also, every year, I run the Eurovision songs past a few non-Eurovision-following friends of mine just to get a different perspective and actually, Stefan’s was the song that was the most-liked. o.O

I think this might do a lot better with casual viewers than any of us are expecting!

Héctor
Héctor
2 months ago

This was the worst entry from Stefan in Eesti Laul but third time lucky I guess. I don’t understand the hype sorrounding it though. While it isn’t a bad song per se and Stefan has a great voice, the whole act, as it is staged now, is way too gimmicky for me. It’s not that I dislike it, but I find it much less interesting than other songs. Maybe if they change the staging, I get to enjoy it a little more in May. As it is right now, I don’t see it placing higher than a borderline qualification and… Read more »

Mr X
Mr X
2 months ago

Actually at sixth place in my current list.

ESCLOU
ESCLOU
2 months ago

10/10 Estonia is my first place! This entry to me has everything; Great voice, a powerful/catchy song and a theme (idk how to word it?). I feel like the reaction to Stefan’s Eesti Laul staging was way to overdramatic- to me the staging wasn’t over the top at all, and anyway he has said that we can expect something different in Turin! I HOPE that Stefan qualifies to the final (he will!) and can we possibly see him sneak into the top 10? PLEASE! + Just to add one more thing that makes this entry even better is that this… Read more »

just an esc fan
just an esc fan
2 months ago

Definitely not a country song. This is a massively well produced Avicii alike song. I think this can do really well in the televote. We have amazing vocals, a reaaaaally handsome singer, a simple yet captivating message that fills you with optimism no matter what happens at recent times around us. It’s simple, but it’s done so good. A Top10 contender right here with a nice staging.

Rating: 9/10 (12th)

Jonas
Jonas
2 months ago

Bronze star.

Polegend Godnova
2 months ago

this song is not “country”, tom ! it just represents a lot of clichés of what europeans think american country music is like, not different from americans thinking olive garden is italian food. it sounds more like avicii type of dance pop. i think this will be a massive televote success, maintaining the tradition of estonia doing very well once every three editions since 2009.

Efthymios
Efthymios
2 months ago

Hear me out, THIS IS THE TRUE DARK HORSE OF THE YEAR! It’s epic, the western elements are of HIGH quality production, the music is incredible, Stefan has a great charm while performing, the message of his song is truly amonst the top 5 for the year and, overall, the entire entry feels so welcoming, powerful and has a sense of bravery thst reflects to the soul of the song. Difficult to describe it better, my 4TH PLACE, with a 10/10 RATING!

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
2 months ago
Reply to  Efthymios

If I were to choose one song from lower in the odds to surprise and get a really strong result, it would be Estonia. It’s just doing so many of the simple things right and it’s so well-executed.

Nicky
Nicky
2 months ago

good song, definitely one who should qualify more compared to some of deadwood in semi 2 like Belgium, Georgia, N.Macedonia, San Marino, Ireland, Montenegro, Azerbaijan also can see this qualify easier than Czech Republic for example, stronger and more solid live vocal, because i do not trust Domi’s vocals yet, not even after the good madrid party for me personally most solid entry in semi 2 alongside (most beautiful flow entry of the basic Malta song) and Poland, Sweden Australia i can see struggle with televoters failing to connect to not the same, because not everyone can relate to that… Read more »

Whisker
Whisker
2 months ago

LOVE > 10/10

Leo M
Leo M
2 months ago

This is a potential dark horse for me. Stefan’s a great singer, song is catchy, love the country feel and there’s nothing else like it this year. Juries and public will like it, top ten in final for me 8/10

Pablo Nava
Editor
2 months ago

I am coming clean that I really disliked his songs every single time he was in Eesti Laul. For him to come back with this? Complete 180. Shocked, surprised, taken aback, gone crazy. Yes.

pretty_polly
pretty_polly
2 months ago

Love this one. Didn’t really care much for that messy Eesti Laul performance (that cheap-looking “old film” effect gave me a headache) but it was that brilliant acoustic performance of the song at the anti-war rally in Tallinn a couple of weeks later that made me in love with the song.

Spazwanger
Spazwanger
2 months ago
Reply to  pretty_polly

It’s a potato to be sure!

The Voice of Reason
The Voice of Reason
2 months ago

A good track. I actually like the staging. I think the ‘cheap’ part is exactly what Eurovision is all about. He’s not adding those cowboys on the real stage, so you don’t need to cry about it, William!

Thanos
Thanos
2 months ago

3. Estonia: I’ve always been a fan of western films, especially if we are talking about the American independent film industry. I am also a fan of both country music and Ennio Morricone’s soundtracks. For all these reasons, I like ‘Hope’ very much! Stefan has an amazing voice and a great stage presence. I liked the colors and atmosphere of his NF performance and his music video. The two cowboys felt like an exaggeration perhaps but the epicness of it made up for it xD. I heard they won’t be in Turin and a part of me is disappointed with… Read more »

Colin
Colin
2 months ago
Reply to  Thanos

Another one we fully agree on, Thanos! I love this kind of music, and Stefan is a consistently charismatic and powerful performer. His performance in Tallin live was chillingly good, and I am sure that this song’s strong peace message, which feels natural and honest, will land well to far more people than some might think. It reminds me how songs with any country / Western vibes are always underappreciated by the fandom until they make their full impact. Common Linnets? Douwe Bob? Victor Crone, even? They all did much better than the fandom thought they would. I’m not saying… Read more »

Thanos
Thanos
2 months ago
Reply to  Colin

I was a big fan of Douwe Bob’s song! It’s in my top 5 of 2016. As I said I am a country fan so anything that has a country feel will rank high in my tops more often than not. I agree that Stefan is a great performer with a very distinctive voice and the peace message can also really help elevate this song given the current circumstances. So I am guessing “Hope” belongs in your 4 favourite entries this year? If yes and since the two others are perhaps the Netherlands and Norway there’s one left from these… Read more »

Colin
Colin
2 months ago
Reply to  Thanos

I love Slow Down! I voted for him back in 2016. I remember that he was projected to borderline qualify, and that the fandom was so-so on the song, yet he finished 11th, while some bigger favorites didn’t get great results. It is a fanatastic entry!
Yes, my 3 big favorites are Estonia, Norway, and Netherlands. Sweden is *so close* (6th for now), and another ballad is in my top 4. I love Hold Me Closer too. 🙂

Thanos
Thanos
2 months ago
Reply to  Colin

Another ballad hmm. I will be patient although my last guess would be Poland. And yes I had also voted for Douwe in the 2016 grand final. His result back then makes me hopeful that Stefan will also do better than what’s expected of him. Finishing in the left side of the scoreboard is certainly doable. I think he is a sure qualifier by the way.

Colin
Colin
2 months ago
Reply to  Thanos

Stefan qualifying and finishing in top 13 would make me happy. Of course, the better the result, the happier I am, but I see how many good songs there are, and how betting odds / general tastes work. As long as I see that the song is generally appreciated. I expect him to qualify, but I’ll still be on the edge when they announce the qualifiers. 🙂
Not a bad guess about my 4th winner. 🙂

Jonas
Jonas
2 months ago
Reply to  Colin

Thanos, Colin, everybody else… what’s your favourite music from a Western?

Mine would have to be Elmer Bernstein’s from The Magnificent Seven.

Thanos
Thanos
2 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

Oh tough question actually. I think Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack from the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. It’s so iconic that is also the first one that pops to mind.

Jonas
Jonas
2 months ago
Reply to  Thanos

Yeah, it would be hard to disagree with that. Hope even uses the most famous part at 1.05.

Colin
Colin
2 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

Both of you picked great examples of Western music. I’ll also add some newer examples like Morricone’s soundtrack for The Hateful Eight and Django Unchained.

Thanos
Thanos
2 months ago
Reply to  Colin

I am a big fan or Tarantino’s cinema so I will agree with this. The Coen Brothers also have some nice examples of Western music in their film soundtracks (those of them that are mostly western).

Jonas
Jonas
2 months ago
Reply to  Colin

I really want to see “Ennio”, the new documentary by Giuseppe Tornatore.

Alois
Alois
2 months ago
Reply to  Thanos

Waylon NLD;s 2018 says “Give back my hat”

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
2 months ago
Reply to  Thanos

I think this is such a clever entry, in that it using the influence of the likes of Morricone but presents it completely in a modern-pop way. Stefan is a huge selling point of this, as he has been in pretty much all of his Eesti Laul entries, so yeah, package-wise, I think the top ten should definitely be the goal and like you, I’d be more than happy for them to achieve it!

Madonna Hood
2 months ago

I love HOPE. I give it a 9.

Stephanie
Stephanie
2 months ago

Beside the fact we share the same birthday ( and year), this is my guilty pleasure of this year! I absolutely like this one…..And then of course there’s that voice….gosh….

Sometimes
Sometimes
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephanie

Nothing to feel guilty about. This is quality.
I love this song

Scott
Scott
2 months ago

Stefan will benefit from his good looks, probably very slick staging and a Johnny Cashesque voice. He is sure to make it into the final with this song.

Karl
Karl
2 months ago

Estonian is a beautiful language.

Johan
Johan
2 months ago

Underrated!!

Matthew
Matthew
2 months ago

He’s got a nice voice and in some ways the song is infectious, my worry with this song is even if it stands out from the crowd in terms of genre and staging, it’s not one that many will pick as their favourite. I think this will qualify but I think it could be bottom five

Kosey
Kosey
2 months ago

29. Estonia – Stefan – Hope – 6/10 – a well-produced and confident presentation. The country-style which is intrinsically fused throughout this track is a little too cliche for my taste. I enjoy the inspiring and anthemic message however it is fighting against the song’s overly pastiche nature. Stefan is a charismatic front man with strong vocal talent and he elevates this offering beyond its inherent limitations.

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
2 months ago
Reply to  Kosey

Glad that you recognise Stefan’s contribution to this entry, Kosey, even if the overall package isn’t one that completely speaks to you. As much as I enjoy the song “Hope”, Stefan is definitely the best thing about it.

Emily
Emily
2 months ago

8) Estonia – Man, Stefan’s voice is so goooooood! This feels like it could easily fit in a western movie. Estonia’s been a bit hit/miss recently but this for me is totally a hit. Well done! 8/10

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
2 months ago
Reply to  Emily

Agreed. Best Estonian entry in the last five years for me. Hope it gets a result to reflect that.

finnished
finnished
2 months ago

It’s an OK song but doesn’t feel authentic, in a similar way when some random singers in Mello try to imitate Spanish music with some Baila-Loco entries.

Ang
Ang
2 months ago

Usually I can find something positive to say about most songs as I love many genres, but both country & Western music leave me cold. I’m afraid Estonia’s entry is the same. I find it clichéd, repetitive &, quite frankly, a snoozefest. He’s got a lovely voice (at last, a positive!) But it’s wasted on this song. I also found the performance in the NF cringey. Unsurprisingly it’s in my bottom 5. I know it’s well produced & is a quality song as far as those genres go, but I really don’t enjoy it. It’s not to my taste.

Jo.
Jo.
2 months ago

simple and genuine, plus it has sing-along vibe in it, which is an ingredient for success.

Colin
Colin
2 months ago

ESTONIA – In my view, the early pre-selection this fall already had one of the most brilliant songs of this whole NF season – Stefan’s Hope! He is a brilliant singer and songwriter who has proven his talents multiple times. I already loved his previous Eesti laul entries, and this is easily my favorite one. I have a soft spot for Western music when done right. The energetic beat already starts in suspenseful verses, and builds-up to really strong choruses, and an incredibly punchy post-chorus. The message is timeless and powerful, but delivered with a doze of fun and energy… Read more »

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
2 months ago
Reply to  Colin

Can’t argue with any of that! I guess I’m less keen on the staging presentation as it currently is than you are, but I think Sabrina mentioned that Jaagup Tuisk is going to be involved with the visuals in Turin so I am actually low-key excited. I think with that announcement, Estonia just went a long way to improving the weakest aspect of this package.I really like what “Hope” offers to the contest as a whole. We have big ballads, ethno-dance entries and even some pretty high-quality EDM. Well-done radio-friendly pop is always welcome, just in case some of the… Read more »

Colin
Colin
2 months ago
Reply to  Briekimchi

I liked the stage presentation in Eesti laul, but I do see alternative presentations to it which would also work well. I understand that the standoff might be “a lot” to some, so I am totally open to what Stefan and Jaagup will do in Turin. I see a big potential here, seeing how well it balances being accessible to a lot of people and having a depth and quality behind it.

Pete
Pete
2 months ago

He’s cute, that’s a plus.

CagardiB
CagardiB
2 months ago

I know lots of people get triggered when others draw comparisons to known songs/musicians, but being referential isn’t the same as being mean. This sounds like Guetta and not the type of work that I like from him, sorry this song already exist (and in a plethora of ways I might add) so this shouldn’t qualify (in my book).

I wish eesti laul could evolve out of the David guetta-esque songs to a more palatable assortment.

Jo.
Jo.
2 months ago
Reply to  CagardiB

guetta and/or avicii didn’t invent western music

CagardiB
CagardiB
2 months ago
Reply to  Jo.

Yeah, I missed the part where I claim Guetta is truly the creator of his genre. I’m being referential to something most people know so that they know where I’m coming from, not to illustrate this the origin of a tune.

Sometimes
Sometimes
2 months ago
Reply to  CagardiB

As Jo already said,
Guetta/Avicii didnt invent western music.
Its a genre, just like rock, pop, jazz, metal etc are genres.
So i am sure it allowed to have more than 1 song in western pop genre 🙂

Jonas
Jonas
2 months ago
Reply to  CagardiB

It won in 2015, but that was seven years ago.