Baltic States

Feb 14, 2019 by

Baltic States

The Estonian national selection, Eesti Laul, has built a reputation for being a unique treasure of the ESC national final season. It provided a platform for all sorts of local independent acts, and consistently surpassed other nations in terms of originality and artistry, while at the same time the most mainstream-friendly act in the line-up invariably ended up winning the ticket for Eurovision.

This year, however, the format has shifted noticeably with its song selection slanted more towards radio-friendly pop that can mostly be described as bland, uninspiring, and almost offensively safe.

The few remaining leftfield acts entering this year, like the unique ‘Parmumäng’ or the hilariously mad, German language entry ‘Wo Sind Die Katzen’ did not make it past the hurdle of the Estonian semi-final, indicating these entries weren’t exactly competitive to begin with.

Out of all the Eesti Laul 2019 songs, ‘Storm’ is charting the best on Estonia’s Spotify list with more than a thousand listens per day

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that at the time of writing the Swedish sounding entry, ‘Storm’, performed by Swedish national Victor Crone finds itself as the odds-on favourite on Betfair’s exchange market, as well as with the few, small regional bookmakers offering odds on Eesti Laul 2019.

‘Storm’ stood out from the first semi-final for being one of the few acts with above amateur level stagecraft and a visual concept that included on-screen projections of stormy clouds surrounding Victor. While he’s certainly a telegenic performer his vocal capabilities so far haven’t been entirely convincing.

Out of all the Eesti Laul 2019 songs, ‘Storm’ is charting the best on Estonia’s Spotify list with more than a thousand listens per day and despite being drawn 3 in Saturday’s final, Victor will have no issue qualifying for the three-way superfinal on the back of a solid jury score alone.

Eesti Laul 2019 final running order:

  1. Sissi – Strong
  2. Lumevärv ft. Inga – Milline päev
  3. Victor Crone – Storm
  4. Kerli Kivilaan – Cold love
  5. xtra basic & Emily J – Hold me close
  6. Kadiah – Believe
  7. Synne Valtri – I’ll do it my way 
  8. Stefan – Without you
  9. The Swingers, Tanja & Birgit – High heels in the neighbourhood
  10. Uku Suviste – Pretty little liar
  11. Inger – Coming home 
  12. Sandra Nurmsalu – Soovide puu

The superfinal, however, will be decided by televoters exclusively and not being from Estonia and having to answer interview questions in English could turn out to be a difficult obstacle for him to overcome.

‘Pretty Little Liar’ is the type of impactful nonsense that should fully deliver for all fans of over-emoting and over-excessive use of hair product

Another spot in the superfinal should be guaranteed for the market’s second favourite, Uku Suviste, who will perform from the 10 slot. His entry, ‘Pretty Little Liar’, is the type of impactful nonsense that should fully deliver for all fans of over-emoting and over-excessive use of hair product.

Uku is familiar to Russian speakers for his participation on The Voice of Russia and it seems likely that he will gather additional support from the Russian diaspora residing in Estonia. It might be wise, however, for Uku to consider changing his staging for the final as being absent from the stage in the first minute or so looked a little odd in the semi-final.

The race for the third superfinal spot seems to be wide open. Urban Symphony’s Sandra Nurmsalu is still a captivating performer who was fortunate to be drawn in the pimp slot for Saturday’s final. Her entry, ‘Soovide Puu’, however, is the kind of folksy, foreign, esoteric tune, that jurors have proven to be highly allergic to in the past.

She did not even qualify directly to the final and needed the televote-only wildcard round to make it out of the semi-final. Another name to watch out for is the young Inger with ‘Coming Home’ drawn 11 in the running order. This simplistic, clap-along tune should have a stronger jury claim for having a westernised sound this set of people usually go for.

The live performance in the semi-final, however, left a lot to be desired. Another song doing reasonably well on Estonian Spotify is Kerli Kivilaan’s ‘Cold Love’, not to be confused with the Kerli who competed in Eesti Laul a couple of years ago. She could sneak into the superfinal, but her entry seems a bit too laid back to emerge as a real challenger once she gets there.

The other entry worthy of respect is Stefan’s modern ballad ‘Without You’. This was arguably one of the most competently delivered songs in semi-final 1.

The exact make-up of the superfinal could be a deciding factor in how this selection turns out and my impression at the moment is that the betting market has not fully taken into account the performers’ nationalities.

Estonia isn’t the only Baltic nation to select its Eurovision entry this Saturday as the Latvian selection, Supernova, will also conclude.

Carousel will perform from the pimp slot on Saturday with a quite mesmerising visual concept reminiscent of the monochrome staging magic The Common Linnets created in 2014

Skepticism regarding Latvia’s competitiveness at Eurovision 2019 emerged as soon as the Supernova line-up was released late last year. It comes therefore as a surprise that the Latvians have managed to find at least one diamond in the rough, by elevating the entry of the group Carousel who will perform from the pimp slot on Saturday with a quite mesmerising visual concept reminiscent of the monochrome staging magic The Common Linnets created in 2014.

‘That Night’ is a rather repetitive and seemingly unfinished composition, and not nearly as strong a song as ‘Calm After The Storm’, but it would nevertheless be a nice quality addition to the Tel Aviv contest if it were to be chosen.

It appears to be the only reasonable choice, but would most likely still face an uphill battle to qualify from the first half of the second semi-final in May, in which Latvia has been drawn.

Supernova 2019 running order:

  1. Markus Riva – You Make Me So Crazy
  2. Edgars Kreilis – Cherry Absinthe
  3. Aivo Oskis – Somebody’s Got My Lover
  4. Double Faced Eels – Fire
  5. Dziļi violets feat. Kozmens – Tautasdziesma
  6. Laime pilnīga – Awe
  7. Samanta Tīna – Cutting the Wire
  8. Carousel – That Night

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