With MGP going down the drain for yet another year here in Norway, we have decided to seek refuge in Estonia, our Nordic neighbor in the Baltics! With flight tickets and a suite at the Radisson booked, a dinner reservation at Alexander’s Table and front row seats in Saku Suurhall secured, we can hardly wait to jet off to Tallinn in a couple of weeks.
Here’s our review of the five finalists proceeding from the first semi-final in Eesti Laul 2017:
Elina Born – “In or Out”
Elina Born is back again, sans Stig Rästa and a pair of pants, but with considerably more sass and confidence. It’s a big leap from the timid girl we saw in Vienna to the raunchy femme fatal strutting around the stage like it’s nobody’s business. Nonetheless, In or Out unmistakably comes from the same mold as Goodbye to Yesterday with its cool retro vibe and Elina proves she has the looks, the voice and artistry to master the genre to perfection. A star is born, we’re definitely in, and yes both puns are very much intended.
Ivo Linna – “Suur loterii”
Another Eurovision alum giving it another go 21 years after placing 5th in Oslo. We hate to say it, but we wish he hadn’t bothered. Ivo Linna is obviously a beloved and popular grand old man on the Estonian music scene, but the affection doesn’t necessarily translate internationally. Think Humpty Dumpty Heffalump for the UK in Baku, and think again Estonia, before sending off grandpa to Kyiv.
Lenna Kuurmaa – “Slingshot”
Lenna Kuurma has been to Kyiv before when she competed for Switzerland as part of the group Vanilla Ninja, scoring a decent 8th place. Since then she has aged 12 years like most of us and we like the fact that she’s using it to her advantage rather than desperately trying to cling to the past. She gave a rock solid, confident performance in the semi-final and the whole package is cleverly crafted. In a sparse studio it fell a little flat on its face, but it will all come together on the big stage in Saku Suurhall. A strong contender for the win.
Whogaux & Karl-Kristjan feat. Maian – “Have You Now”
The Estonians seem to have a thing for sweet love duets performed by skinny men with funny hats and shy girls standing with their backs against each other. If this is how relationships usually work over there we wonder how they manage to secure the population growth. We imagine that’s why vodka was invented. The song might not stand out as one of the real contenders, but it has a strong riff that immediately sticks to your brain like glue. Perhaps the final’s dark horse? We wish they’d lose the dancing couple in the background tough, and put trust in a clean, stripped-down performance.
Ariadne – “Feel Me Now”
This is one of the weakest entries in the Eesti Laul final, which speaks volumes of the overall quality of this year’s line-up. Feel Me Now is a breezy electro-pop number performed by the fresh newcomer Ariadne. She demonstrates potential, but if she wants to play in the big league it’s not enough to show up in a pair of shorts and sneakers, stand still and sing for three minutes. After all this isn’t MGP.