Estonia's national final 'Eesti Laul' continues tomorrow morning Australian time, where 10 songs will compete in quarter-final three of the selection. In a drastic change from last week’s all-Estonian quarter-final, all of the songs in quarter-final three will be in languages other than Estonian.
Let's get to know the artists participating in quarter-final 3 of 'Eesti Laul' including 3 past Eurovision participants, one of Dami Im's backing vocalists from Eurovision 2016, and a Eurovision-winning artist!
STEFAN is an Estonian singer of Armenian origin, born in Viljandi, in Estonia’s south. He has been a regular in the Estonian music scene and at 'Eesti Laul'. He first competed 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'. He will be hoping to translate that success to 'Eesti Laul' in 2022.
deLULU are a soul/RnB music trio featuring seasoned musicians Taavi Paomets of Avoid Dave fame, saxophonist Mairo Marjamaa and vocalist Inga Tislar. Inga competed in 'Eesti Laul' 2019 with the song ‘Milline Päev’, which came 5th in the Final.
Their intriguing biography promises listeners music “from another dimension” as it reads:
"deLULU is an adventure. deLULU is a hallucination. deLULU is a trilogy."
The supergroup join forces at 'Eesti Laul' with the self-written entry ‘Music Saved My Soul’.
Goodreason is an electronic pop music collective made up of Hele-Mai Mängel, Ross Linnamägi and Sander Saard. Hele-Mai and Ross previously performed together under the moniker of Charlie, however, Sander was recruited in late 2021 and Goodreason was born! The 'Eesti Laul' newcomers are making their debut in the Estonian national selection with their entry ‘Three Days Ago’.
The trio have recorded a vlog introducing themselves and giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of ‘Three Days Ago’. Sander even promises the audience an on-stage backflip if the band qualifies to the semi-finals which will take place in February 2022.
Elina Nechayeva began her musical career by appearing on the third season of 'Eesti otsib superstaari' (Estonian Idol) in 2009. Although she failed to make it to the live shows, she continued her musical journey. In 2014, she participated in the TV show ‘Klassikatähed 2014’, a music competition for the young musicians of ETV, and reached the top 3 finalist places.
Two years later, Elina graduated from the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre with a master’s degree in classical singing. Her last appearance at 'Eesti Laul' was in 2018 with the operatic entry ‘La Forza’, where she won, competed at Eurovision and came 8th in the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final.
She participated in the 2020 season of 'The Masked Singer' Estonia as the Phoenix mask, coming second in the competition. Elina returns to 'Eesti Laul' in 2022 with the song ‘Remedy’, written by Sven Lõhmus, who has written many of Estonia’s past Eurovision entries including ‘Rändajad’ (2009), ‘Rockefeller Street’ (2011), and ‘Verona’ (2017).
Lauri Pihlap found fame at the tender age of 16 on the singing competition ‘Kaks takti ette’ (Two Steps Ahead), where he was a finalist. His rise to success continued in 2000 as he joined the band 2XL, who were part of Estonia’s 2001 Eurovision-winning entry ‘Everybody’ alongside Tanel Padar and Dave Benton.
In 2008, he supported international megastars such as Sean Kingston and Rihanna on the Estonian legs of their tours, before entering 'Eesti Laul' in 2009 with ‘You Ain’t What I Need’, which finished 4th in the competition. His most recent appearance in 'Eesti Laul' was in 2014 with the song ‘Lootus’, which failed to make it past the semi-finals. Lauri Pihlap will compete with the self-penned song 'Take Me Home'.
Levvis Benucci, aka Levvis, will compete at Eesti Laul for the first time in 2022 with the song ‘Let’s talk about’. He took to his Instagram to tell his fans what Eurovision means to him:
“Since age of 9 me and my grandmother were a big fans of Eurovision and it was our tradition to watch it every year. She has always believed that one day she will see me there as well. Time flies so fast and sadly I can’t share this news with her, but I’m sure that she would be so proud of me and it’s really warms my heart and soul.”
This will be Levvis’ debut single, and what better stage to present it than 'Eesti Laul'.
Merilin Mälk is a young musician born in Kuressaare, which is the main city of the island of Saaremaa, west of the Estonian mainland. She came to prominence after placing 3rd in the 2018 edition of 'Eesti otsib superstaari' (Estonian Idol). Since then, she has released a few singles, and competed at 'Eesti Laul' 2020 with 'Miljon sammu' but failed to make it out of the semi-finals. She is back this time with an English song ‘Little Girl’, about which she says: “The song is about a little fragile girl who is left alone and is looking for herself in the cold city and what to do with her life."
Anna Sahlene was born in Söderhamn, on Sweden’s east coast, and has had music and performing present in her whole life. She moved to Stockholm at the age of 18 to pursue music. Anna has a strong Eurovision connection; she was part of the One Voice choir who backed Charlotte Nilsson who won Eurovision 1999. However, she is most known in the Eurovision community 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.
Estonian band Alabama Watchdog are competing at 'Eesti Laul' in 2022, and will bring a rock and roll flavour, as is likely to be apparent in this national final season. The band competed at 'Eesti Laul' in 2021 with their band titled song ‘Alabama Watchdog’. The group created some controversy surrounding some lyrics of the song, seeming to be transphobic, anti-Covid and anti-lockdown; they did not make it out of the semi-final. The group will compete this edition with ‘Move On’, perhaps a hint at their previous attempt, but we will have to wait and see.
23-year-old singer-songwriter Shira returns to 'Eesti Laul' after her last appearance in the competition with the song ‘Out In Space’, which came 6th in 2020. After releasing a string of singles this year, Shira is currently working on an EP which will be released in 2022.
She will be aiming to improve on her previous result with the song 'Underwater', written by the artist herself, Kristi Raias, and Johannes Laas. Kristi and Johannes are both renowned jazz musicians in Estonia. Kristi's debut album 'Old Love Will Rust' earned four nominations at the 2020 Estonian Music Awards and Johannes is the guitarist of the bands Innersound and Alfa Collective. He has also worked with beloved Estonian artists such as Eesti Laul 2020 jury winner Anett.
The star-studded hosting lineup of Eesti Laul 2022 continues as quarter-final 3 will be hosted by Laura Põldvere (Estonia 2005 & 2017) and Ott Lepland (Estonia 2012). The broadcast of Eesti Laul quarter-final 3 can be viewed on the ERR website.
Australian viewing times for quarter-final 3 of Eesti Laul 2022
Sunday 5 December
ACT, NSW, VIC, TAS: 6:35am
Contributions by Laura Smith and Hugo Burstin