Estonia: Eesti Laul final preview and Aussievision team ranking
After four quarter-finals, a month's hiatus and two semi-finals, we are right around the corner from the Grand Final of Eesti Laul, where Estonia will choose its Eurovision 2022 representative.
The voting of Eesti Laul will will take place across two rounds. Firstly, all ten songs will perform where the top 3 will advance to the Superfinal based on 50% jury and 50% public vote.
The Superfinal will then follow, with results being decided by 100% televote.
The songs competing - ranked by us
Here are the artists and songs competing in the Grand Final, with the Aussievision team's rankings.
10. Minimal Wind ft. Elisabeth Tiffany - 'What To Make Of This' (39 points)
Highs: 8 points from Craig
Lows: 1 point from Hugo, Mike, Kyriakos, Steve, Guy and Estelle
Unfortunately they won't be performing live due to COVID reasons, Minimal Wind and Elisabeth TIffany nabbed the last spot in the Grand Final in semi-final 2 through the televote only spot, so they clearly have strong public support (clearly not from our Aussievision team though). 'What To Make Of This' is an intimate sounding song, blending smooth vocals and electric guitar to create something quite atmospheric; it reached #27 on the Estonian Top 50 songs as of 09/02, so it will be interesting to see how it performs.
9. Black Velvet - 'Sandra' (54 points)
Highs: 10 points from Estelle, 8 points from Tim
Lows: 1 point from Emma, Cooper and Craig, 2 points from Mike, Kyriakos, Liv and Guy
Black Velvet has been active in the Estonian music scene for over 20 years. Their most well-known song is ‘17’, a nostalgic favourite for many Estonians. Black Velvet’s lineup consists of vocalist Lauri Liiv, percussionist Sulev Lõhmus, and Sven Lõhmus on keyboards. Lauri Liiv competed in Eurolaul 1999 with ‘Soolo’. Sven Lõhmus is a well-known Estonian songwriter who wrote and composed a slew of past Estonian Eurovision entries, as well as Elina Nechayeva’s song ‘Remedy’, also competing in this Grand Final, and his band's own song ‘Sandra’.
8. Andrei Zevakin feat. Grete Paia - 'Mis nüüd saab' (70 points)
Highs: 12 points from Mike, 10 points from Emma, 8 points from Josh
Lows: 1 point from Fleur, 2 points from Hugo, Steve, Estelle, Tim and Craig
Andrei Zevakin is a 25-year-old music producer, songwriter and YouTuber from Jõgeva. He has been an entrant in Eesti Laul twice before, in 2019 as part of xtra basic with the song ‘Hold Me Close’ featuring singer Emily J, and also in 2021, with rapper Pluuto, their song ‘Wingman’ came 5th in the final. Andrei will be collaborating with Eesti Laul veteran Grete Paia. 26-year-old singer-songwriter Grete Paia has previously participated in the 2013, 2016, and 2019 editions of the competition. She came close to winning Eesti Laul 2013 with ‘Päästke noored hinged’, coming 2nd in the Superfinal to Birgit Õigemeel.
Mis nüüd saab has gained great traction within Estonia, reaching #39 on Estonia's Top 50 songs on Spotify (as of 09/02).
Comments from the team
"Without a doubt my favourite song from the Estonian selection this year. It has a very modern, radio-friendly vibe and is the type of song I would listen to outside of Eurovision. The song itself may lack the impact for a competition like this, but it does bring something to the table that others don't. They have tried a few elements in the staging to make it stand out with varying degrees of success. Overall, the artists blend well and the song leaves an impression on me." ~ Mike
7. Elina Nechayeva - 'Remedy' (79 points)
Highs: 12 points from Tim, 7 points from Laura and Craig
Lows: 1 point from Dale, 2 points from Hayley, 3 points from Emma, Hugo and Liv
Elina Nechayava is a huge name in Estonia, after her 8th place finish at Eurovision 2018 with 'La Forza', which included some stunning operatic vocals and truly ethereal staging. Elina began her musical career by appearing on the third season of 'Eesti otsib superstaari' (Estonian Idol) in 2009, and has a master's degree in classical singing from the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre.
Comments from the team
"Whilst I think there were better songs left in the semi finals, Elina really impressed me with the performance. Trying to disregard THAT moment, it was a really engaging performance and it elevated from the music video. Elina’s vocals were flawless as always and I’m sure if the high notes can be hit again then there’s a chance. Overall an interesting song that is lifted on a live performance. " ~ Tim
6. Jaagup Tuisk - 'Kui Vaid' (98 points)
Highs: 12 points from Hugo, 10 points from Fleur and Josh
Lows: 1 point from Tim and Laura, 3 points from Mike and Estelle
"Loved the song to begin with and LOVE 99% of the staging. The trees and forest feel at the start is great, then the camera work and effects really bring the song to life. Jaagup's vocals are on fire as always, and he knows how to perform the heck out of this. Only things I didn't like were the backing vocals - this is the second time they've taken away from the package, and I would get them off the stage; Jaagup commands the stage and owns it. Truly a masterpiece and would bring something so unique to Eurovision for Estonia, who need to get away from the Victor/Uku mould of song (no shade, like them both, just a bit nothing-y for ESC). Jaagup is my man to take her home!" ~ Hugo
At just 20 years of age, Jaagup Tuisk is a rising star of the Estonian creative industry. Born in Laagri, in northern Estonia, Jaagup sings, acts and plays instruments. From an early age, he has performed in theatre productions and has appeared on several TV shows in Estonia. Eurovision fans will most remember him as the runner-up of Eesti Laul in 2020, with his song ‘Beautiful Lie’. Jaagup used his experience to deliver a captivating and dramatic stage show to pair with a paired back yet haunting song.
5. ELYSA - 'Fire' (101 points)
Highs: 10 points from Cooper, Hayley and Kyriakos, 8 points from Laura
Lows: 4 points from Dale, Mike and Tim
Elisa Kolk, also known by her stage name ELYSA, is a 24-year-old singer-songwriter hailing from Tartu. She wrote her first song at the age of 13, and went on to graduate from the Tartu I Music School with a degree in classical singing. She placed third in the superfinal of Eesti Laul 2015 with the song ‘Superlove’. This year, ELYSA’s song ‘Fire’ features prominent songwriters Linnea Deb and Andreas Stone, who have written songs for many national final artists all around Europe.
Unfortunately, ELYSA did not perform live in the semi-finals for COVID reasons, so her music video was shown instead, and she still managed to make it to the Grand Final. It is unclear if ELYSA will take part in the live broadcast as of yet.
4. Anna Sahlene - 'Champion' (106 points)
Highs: 10 points from Tim and Laura, 8 points from Estelle, Kyriakos, Hugo, Cooper and Dale
Lows: 1 point from Josh, 3 points from Craig, 4 points from Hayley
Anna Sahlene was born in Söderhamn, Sweden and has strong Eurovision connectsions. She was part of the One Voice choir who backed Charlotte Nilsson who won Eurovision 1999, however, she is most known for representing Estonia at the Contest held in Tallinn, in 2002. Her song, ‘Runaway’ finished in a remarkable third place, a fantastic result for the host country. Afterwards, like many Swedish singers, Anna has appeared in Melodifestivalen on a number of occasions, in 2003, 2006 and 2009. In recent times, she has provided backing vocals at Eurovision, for the UK in 2019, and for our very own Dami Im in 2016.
Comments from the team
"My favourite song of the bunch still I think, just the live package didn't hit me like it could've. Don't like the dancer, don't think that element brings anything to the performance. Love the backing choir, great use of them. Anna's vocals are mostly there but just don't hit like I want them to. Being really harsh here, probably because my expectations were so high, but this is still great and I am rooting for it." ~ Hugo
3. Ott Lepland - 'Aovalguses' (114 points)
Highs: 12 points from Hayley, Kyriakos, Steve and Estelle
Lows: 2 points from Josh, 3 points from Tim
Ott Lepland is 34-years-old and was born in Tallinn and has been making music for over 20 years, having made children’s music at an early age. He rose to fame after winning 'Eesti otsib superstaari' (Estonian Idol) in 2009. He is most known for representing Estonia at Eurovision 2012 in Baku, with his song ‘Kuula’. Ott finished in a fantastic sixth place, one of Estonia’s best ever results.
Comments from the team
"Ott's vocals are absolutely outstanding. The song isn't the most earth shattering thing I have heard, but it is a pretty decent man-ballad, and who doesn't love a man ballad!" ~ Hayley
"Ott Lepland delivers a beautiful performance. This needs to go to Eurovision, he will absolutely smash the jury vote with this!!" ~ Kyriakos
"As with 'Kuula', the selling point here - and it’s a BIG selling point - is Ott’s excellent vocal performance, which combines enough passion and power to transcend the language barrier (for non-Estonian speakers). The song gives me “at his peak” Elton John ballad vibes and would surely be jurybait should it make it to Eurovision." ~ Steve
"It’s so beautiful! Simply staged with the vocals doing all the work. For me it was reminiscent of a Celine Dion style of ballad and I’m always here for that. I love this song, honestly can’t get enough of it." ~ Estelle
2. Stig Rasta - 'Interstellar' (124 points)
Highs: 12 points from Cooper, Liv and Fleur, 10 points from Craig and Guy
Lows: 4 points from Steve, 5 points from Dale and Emma
Stig Rästa is well known in the Estonia music community and also has strong Eurovision connections. Along with Elina Born, he competed at the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest with the song ‘Goodbye to Yesterday’ finishing in a fantastic 7th place. The Eurovision connections did not stop there. As a songwriter, he composed Juri Pootsman’s ‘Play’ for Eurovision 2016, and also co-wrote Victor Crone’s ‘Storm’ for the 2019 Contest. In addition, Stig formed part of the Estonian jury for the most recent edition in Rotterdam. Stig competed at Eesti Laul in 2018 with the song ‘Home’ and made it to the Superfinal, coming runner-up to eventual winner Elina Nechayava
Comments from the team
"Pure Northern European plastic pop with no real soul or emotion and I LOVE IT! This is Stig's best song since Goodbye To Yesterday and it's the only song from Eesti Laud that's on repeat in my playlist. Nothing about this song is re-inventing the wheel but music doesn't always have to. This is a great pop number that is an easy listen." ~ Cooper
"Stig's staging certainly isn't Interstellar but it's certainly serviceable. I really do love this song - it has a warm throwback and aura that just hits the spot personally. Stig certainly can (and I hope will) elevate the vocals just a *bit* more for the final. Intonation was a bit patchy at times but I have hope. I am a bit of an easy target for these type of gooey-boyish-pop entries." ~ Liv
"When I heard the studio version, I was not sure how it would sound live. But wow, Stig really sells this. This is ready to go. He connects with the audience and camera very well. The whole package is there. Lyrics are not the greatest but I can see this making the finals at Eurovision." ~ Fleur
1. STEFAN - 'Hope' (143 points)
12 points from Dale, Emma, Guy, Laura, Craig & Josh, 10 points from Hugo, Mike, Steve &Liv
Lows: 1 point from Hayley, 5 points from Kyriakos and Estelle
STEFAN is an Estonian singer of Armenian origin, born in Viljandi, in Estonia’s south. He first competed at Eesti Laul in 2018 with the band Vajé, placing 3rd in the Superfinal with their song ‘Laura (Walk With Me)’. He backed it up as a soloist this time, again placing 3rd in the Superfinal (Sergey Lazarev of Eesti Laul anyone?) with ‘Without You’. 2020 was a big year for Stefan, finishing 7th at 'Eesti Laul', but more notably, winning Estonia’s version of 'The Masked Singer'. STEFAN will go into the Grand Final as the hot favourite to take out the crown.
Comments from the team
"I know 'Hope' has been my favourite since before the live shows, but the on-stage presentation of this entry has really taken this song and performance to the next level. Stefan performs 'Hope' superbly, creating the most complete, cohesive package of all of the Eesti Laul entries this year. I really enjoy the way the spaghetti Western theme in the music has translated to the stage. Bravo!" ~ Laura
"This elevated to first place for me based on a great live presentation of the song. They've captured the "western movie" with Stefan as the leading man really well. He sounds great, looks great and I really think this can work on the Eurovision stage." ~ Dale
"This anthemic Avicii sounding track is Estonia's best chance for a top result at Eurovision. Stefan's deep vocals match perfectly with the western theme of the song and he was able to pull it off live in the semi-final. The chorus is catchy...you can just see everyone whistling and singing along to "I hope I hope I hope". The song builds perfectly and I hope (pun intended) that this wins the ticket to Turin." ~ Emma
"This is the song I find myself going back to listen to the most, and it's the one I think could do the best at Eurovision. He performed it really well in the live show and I think the staging was nicely on theme, without being too much." ~ Guy
"This is so much fun! Stefan looks a tiny bit nervous onstage, but the song has a cinematic scope and grandeur which most of the others are missing. A spaghetti Western strummy cowboy guitars track is perhaps not the thing I immediately think of when I imagine Estonia, but this is class and could easily do well at the main contest in Turin." ~ Craig
"Took a while for this song to grow on me, but now I cannot deny how great it is. This could do very well on the Eurovision stage. The chorus and production are epic." Josh
The Running Order
The running order for the Grand Final is as follows:
Elina Nechayeva - 'Remedy'
Andrei Zevakin feat. Grete Paia - 'Mis nüüd saab'
Jaagup Tuisk - 'Kui vaid'
Elysa - 'Fire'
Ott Lepland - 'Aovalguses'
Stig Rästa - 'Interstellar'
Minimal Wind ft. Elisabeth Tiffany - 'What To Make Of This'
Stefan - 'Hope-
Anna Sahlene - 'Champion'
Black Velvet - 'Sandra'
Hosts, Venue, Crowd and Special Guests
Our Grand Final will once again be hosted by Maarja-Liis Ilus, Priit Loog and Jüri Pootsmann. Priit is an Estonian actor, while Maarja-Liis (1996 and 1997) and Jüri (2016) are both former Estonian representatives at Eurovision.
The Saku Suurhall in Tallinn will host the show, in a 20 year celebration since Estonia hosted Eurovision at the same venue. While the semi-finals were held without a crowd, broadcaster ERR has revealed it has received government permission to have a crowd of 3,000 spectators for the Grand Final, which is a great result for the show and will add some much needed atmosphere to the arena.
It won't be only the competing songs on show. Confirmed special guests for Eesti Laul include 2020 and 2021 Eurovision singer Uku Suviste, who is back performing after hosting the first quarter-final. Our 2002 Eurovision hosts Annely Peebo and Marko Matvere are also making an appearance after they wowed with the interval act they sang 'A little story in the music'. There will be other special guests involved in the show, but they won't be revealed beforehand!
How To Watch
The Grand Final of Eesti Laul 2022 will take place on the morning of Sunday February 12 (Australian time) and can be watched online via the ERR website.
The show will begin at:
6:30pm, Sat Feb 11, Central European Time
3:30am AEST (QLD)
4:30am AEDT (ACT, NSW, TAS, VIC)
The Aussievision team will be watching live, so tune into our socials, especially Twitter, to keep up and get all the latest Eesti Laul news; find us @aussievisionnet!