Live: It’s final decision night in Estonia

Tonight, Estonia will choose their representative through the eighth edition of Eesti Laul, as the preselection season slows to a close. Held in Saku Suurhall, the 10 remaining entries will compete on stage to see who will fly the Estonian flag in Stockholm at the Eurovision Song Contest in May.

There was extreme interest in the selection show this year, as broadcaster EER received 238 song submissions – which is their new record high. Over two semi-final rounds the 20 selected compositions for the live shows were cut down to the best 10.

Among the contestants are some big names, such as Stig Rasta, who represented Estonia in Vienna, as the composer of the song Play by Jüri Pootsmann. And Laura and Greta Paia are returning favorites from past editions of Eesti Laul. Also participating was 2014 representative Tanja, as part of the girl group La La Ladies; however, they were eliminated in an earlier round.

There are two rounds of voting tonight. In the first, half of the votes will be split 50/50 between a jury and the public audience. The three chosen entries will then go through to a super final, where televoting alone will decide the winner.

Last year, Eesti Laul winners Elina Born and Stig Rästa placed 7th in the Grand Final in Vienna with the artistic performance of their song Goodbye To Yesterday. Curious who will follow in their footsteps? Follow our blog tonight, beginning at 18:30 CET – as well as the live stream, which can be found here.

The lineup for this evening follows:

  1. Laura – Supersonic
  2. Go Away Bird – Sally
  3. Mick Pedaja – Seis
  4. Grete Paia – Stories Untold
  5. Kéa – Lonely Boy
  6. Jüri Pootsmann – Play
  7. Kati Laev & Noorkuu – Kaugel Sinust
  8. Cartoon feat. Kristel Aaslaid – Immortality
  9. Meisterjaan – Parmupillihullus
  10. I Wear* Experiment – Patience

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21:41 – That’s a wrap

Thanks for following along with us tonight! And don’t forget to let ESC Daily know what you think of the winner.


21:40 – Encore

Juri accepts flowers and much applause before performing his now winning entry Play once more on the Eesti Laul stage.


21:34 – And the winner is…

It looks like the votes are finally in!

JURI POOTSMANN goes to Stockholm!

While Laura comes second and Cartoon feat. Kristel Aaslaid comes third


21:29 – Interval: Maarja-Liis Llus

This time a duet in Estonian that has the entire audience on their feet, swaying back and forth again with lights.


21:20 – Interval: Isac Elliot – No One Else

He looks a bit like the Estonian Bieber, bringing a ballad to the stage.


21:17 – Superfinalists – time to vote!

The three superfinalists are recapped, again with phone numbers.

The second round of voting now is entirely up to the televoting audience to decide who will represent Estonia in May.


21:11 – Televoting + the jury vote

Starting from the bottom of the list, as it stands from the jury vote, it seems the televote will fall in line with roughly the same decisions.

The three moving onto the superfinal are:


Juri Pootsmann

and Cartoon feat. Kristel Aaslaid


20:58 – Jury votes

In the jury voting, so far, Mick Pedaja and Juri Pootsmann are leading the scoreboard.

Juri takes a slight lead with 73 points, followed by Mick with 63 – I Wear* Experiment follows in third with Cartoon feat. Kristel Aaslaid close behind.


20:46 – And we’re back!

The Eesti Laul broadcast continues with another recap before moving onto the first results.


20:37 – News, news, and more news

Unfortunately, the broadcast of the end of the show has not yet come back. However, with only 50 minutes left of their scheduled time, we should have the results soon – as the best three from the first round of voting do indeed move on to a superfinal, followed by another round of voting.


20:02 – News break

It seems we are treated to a broadcast of the news program in Estonia whilst we await the first results…


19:53 – Time to vote: first round

The voting will take place in two rounds. At this point in the show, the results from a jury and from the televoting public will be combined to choose the best three for a superfinal later on this evening.

Phone numbers and displayed, the recap… we all know the drill.


19:46 – I Wear* Experiment – Patience

As the last one of the evening, mainstream is the word for Patience, though in a still-catchy mid-2000s kind of way. The chorus-driven track somehow sounds like one of those classic melodies from the last decade, but with the ornamented electronic abilities of today’s radio hits. There is anticipation in the buildup, but the vocals are perhaps a bit too much in the background at times. Overall, it is a fair entry with simple staging – will it be enough though for the win? We shall see shortly.


19:40 – Meisterjaan – Parmupillihullus

There is always that one weird entry in any selection – in Eesti Laul it’s Meisterjaan, who has an obsession with the mouth harp. Because of this, a bizarre arrangement of sounds is created and the vocals are strangely guttural. Going for a psychedelic effect (I think), the stage is bathed in smoky greens and blues. It’s difficult to pick out the narrative from the way the dancers move about and around the robed lead man. It is interesting, to say the least, and the crowd seems to really enjoy it.


19:32 – Cartoon feat. Kristel Aaslaid – Immortality

Kristel is dressed in a funky looking black bodysuit with bulby-lights covering certain areas – why? Her entire performance is animated, mirroring her exact movements on stage in the amazing artwork that is on the special screen brought out for this purpose. The song itself is a contemporary synth embellished track. Kristel’s vocals have a sharp timbre that rises above music, unfortunately missing just a few of the high notes.


19:24 – Kati Laev & Noorkuu – Kaugel Sinust (“Far From Thee”)

Kati’s songs in a way reminds of Conchita’s historic winning number, in the way that it is almost overdone. A dramatic classical crescendo leads into almost unsettling piano melody, and the ballad only becomes more interesting in it’s arrangement of instruments. It is very much orchestral, but they elements are almost mismatched. Because of this, the song itself sounds outdated, although performed well enough.


19:18 – Jüri Pootsmann – Play

This song was actually written by Stig Rasta, who knows a thing or two about the contest – his involvement can certainly be heard in the composition. Jüri has a low baritone register, which seems unexpected with his appearance. Nevertheless, it fits with the old school, R&B-type tempo and the theatrical arrangement. The focus is clearly on vocals, making them the selling point, as the rest of the song not very dynamic.


19:11 – Kéa – Lonely Boy

Naturally, Kéa has a soulful voice; unfortunately, the swag it brings in the recording falls off-key tonight. And the soft instrumental fade in that was to help showcases those vocals and dynamics of the arrangement, only brings attention to the flat dimension of the performance. The song is very much chorus-driven and becomes a bit repetitive, as there is not much substance otherwise.


19:04 – Grete Paia – Stories Untold

Grete was runner-up in the superfinal to Birgit Oigemeel back in 2013. She’s finally back in the competition with a subtle electro-pop track. She has such a sharp, recognizable voice, but this year’s entry falls a bit short of the massive energy her last attempt brought. There is a nice variation in the softer verse and then growing chorus, but it never really climaxes. However, with the clever staging and beautiful lighting that makes a nice overall presentation, she might have another chance.


Mick Pedaja – Seis (“Standing”)

Silhouetted by a remote white light, Mick sings with a projection on his face (that continues throughout the performance on his body) that adds to the almost haunting narrative. It has a Jonsi type arrangement and vocalization that is both beautiful and an eerie wavering of keys. Building atmosphere with slow tempo, brooding electronics and remote echoes kick in and the entire crowd in the venue tonight is awash with tiny swaying lights.


18:51 – Go Away Bird – Sally

A bit like last year’s entry with the same guitar key and the juxtaposition of the female singer, Go Away Bird have an alternative indie-folk sound with a bit of soul pitched in. It’s rather dark compared to the rest of the selection, which makes it seem a bit flat overall. It has potential to be a good number; however, it has to be in the right setting – and it seems the Eurovision stage is not quite it.


18:48 – A quick look at Estonian architecture while the stage is set for the next act.


18:43 – Laura – Supersonic

To kick off the most important performances of the night, Laura possibly has the coolest entry, returning to the selection this year. Glacial electronics give way to a composition that is reminiscent of Latvia’s Aminata at last year’s contest. The song is steady with an even progression of both vocals and music, building into climactic chorus. Though catchy, at some point in the live performance of the song, the repetitive nature becomes a bit monotonous.


18:38 – Hello Jon Ola Sand

Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest is in the audience tonight.


18:31 – Say “goodbye” to last year and hello to a new entry

Elina Born and Stig Rasta literally open the show with 2015’s Goodbye to Yesterday. About half way through they are interrupted by a DJ duo (also the hosts!) who remix the song and get the crowd pumped and ready to go. The performance is now complete with cheerleaders and a light show, while Stig and Elina comically watch from the sidelines.


18:30 – Welcome to the show!

Our hosts this evening are Ott Sepp and Märt Avandi; and a venue fun fact: the Saku Suurhall is the same venue that staged 2002 Eurovision Song Contest in Tallinn.