Eesti Laul 2017 – Our Editors Review the Second Semi-Final

Estonia’s entry to Eurovision 2017 will be selected via their national final, the ‘Eesti Laul’. The competition will feature 20 shortlisted entries over the course of 2 semi-finals, the top 5 in each will progress to the final. The ulitmate winner will be chosen on 11th March 2017 at the final which will take place in the Saku Suurhall, which was also the venue for Eurovision 2002.

Our editorial team recently reviewed the 10 songs in the first semi-final (which you can read here), and today we turn our attention to the second semi-final. The same reviewers have used the same approach of scoring each song out of 10, so we will be able to add these results to those of the first semi-final and reveal *our* winner of the Eesti Laul. In a few weeks time we will know if our prediction was right… As a reminder, you can listen to all 20 of the songs on the ERR website here. So here we go, starting with the songs which we don’t think will make the final:

10th: Close to Infinity feat. Ian Karell – ‘Sounds Like Home’ (19/50)

Andy: ‘This sounds like one of those ropey late 90’s Smash Mouth rap songs, and is certainly a throwback to that time and incredibly “gnarley”. Think it could do surprisingly well, though. 5/10’

Anne – Far too many words to make it anything but a car crash live, surely? It’s cheery enough but I don’t have it down as a winner 5/10

Ervin – So it’s the 80s coming back…? Not for me, thanks. The video is fun though.(1/10)

Danny – Not sure how to describe this – sort of indie-rap? It sounds a bit messy to my ears and a little disjointed. The rapping isn’t very good either. One of the weaker ones here, but I don’t hate it. (04/10)

Joe – This is very 90s. I’ve never been a fan of rap vocals, and I struggle with this one as a result. I can imagine this being staged energetically though, and that may bring it to life, but on first listen it’s a no from me. (4/10)

9th: Alvistar Funk Association – “Make Love, Not War” (21/50)

Andy – I thought this was some kind of parody song to start with. Very Mike Flowers Pops. I like the way that it plods along, and like the funky 70’s sound, but the announcement of various country names just sounds odd. 5/10

Anne – OK, so she’s just reciting names of countries? Didn’t work for Dustin the Turkey and it won’t work here (2/10)

Ervin – For many years now we have learnt that mentioning European countries in a song doesn’t get you any votes (Dustin the Turkey anyone?)… Also, putting elevator music in the background doesn’t help much either. Sorry… Next…(1/10)

Danny – A lounge song which is sung in a made up language with a list of random countries randomly thrown in? Only at Eurovision! This should be so wrong, but I kinda like it! It obviously has no chance, but I’m glad it’s in the line up! (07/10)

Joe – This is quite enjoyable, without having a great deal of artistic merit. I do love the sultry whisper of ‘azerbaijan’. But yes, let’s list lots of countries and hope they vote for us – interesting tactic. It has to get past the Estonian public first. It’s made me smile at least (6/10)

8th: Antsud – “Vihm” (27/50)

Andy – I thought we were going too well. “Dum-dum-dummy-dum”. This is all a bit tree-huggy and “hey nonny-nonny” and doesn’t really do anything for me. The instrumental break is beautiful, though, and I wish more of the song was like that. (4/10)

Anne – Aah, there’s always a traditional folk sounding tune isn’t there? It’s got that weird beat progression that unnerves me, but at least I can join in with the dum dum da di dm dum bits (4/10)

Ervin – I really enjoy the mix of instruments in this song. The melody is very nice, the rhythm of the song, however – I think I would prefer if the song was in English. Also the sudden changes in the song, between the bridge, the chorus, and the verses could have been done much better, and instead of a sudden cut-off, they could be smoother. (6/10)

Danny – FInally some Estonian language! This is definitely very ‘Eesti Laul’ – folky, and just that little bit left of centre. Has absolutely no chance though, but it’s nice to hear something that doesn’t sound like every other song. (05/10)

Joe – A traditional Estonian folk song, this should stand out in the competition, and being in the Estonian language too should help garner some votes from the audience. This is actually very nice indeed and I expect it to do very well with the right staging and wardrobe (8/10)

7th: Angeelia – “We Ride With Our Flow” (31/50)

Andy – Another song that oozes “cool”. It doesn’t need much in terms of production, but the vocal combined with a huge amount of different effects seems to gel and work well. (6/10)

Anne – Love the ethereal feel to this. Would love a magnificent Seis-like performance on stage, but I guess that’s hoping a bit too much. (7/10)

Ervin – The whole thing is super weird, but there’s something about it that manages to keep my attention. It still wouldn’t get me to take my phone and vote for it though.. (4/10)

Danny – Well this is interesting. I do like the progression in this one, though it does kinda feel like four songs in one. I think this is one I’d need to listen to a good few times to appreciate more though, and in a competition like this, that’s a disadvantage. (07/10)

Joe – This has a real ethereal sound to it, and it’s combined with a simple melody. Overall it’s really easy to listen to, but not as easy to get excited about. I really like this, but I would struggle to get too enthused about voting for a song like this. (7/10)

6th (and just missing out): Rasmus Rändvee – “This Love” (32/50)

Andy – Quite similar to “Rag & Bone Man” at the start. Simplistic with just piano and drums and a few effects. Works quite well, but his voice is a bit grating. Cool style, but a bit repetitive. (6/10)

Anne – This has the capacity to become a real ear-worm. The distorted vocals really bug me though. (7/10)

Ervin – I enjoy the music from the very start, but I’m totally against the ‘computerized’ vocals of the singer. Even though the same beat is present throughout the whole song, I find this rather fun and interesting.(7/10)

Danny – A bit more of a retro feel with this song but I really don’t like the vocal effects on this, it’s very distracting. Overall it’s ok, but it doesn’t really stand out from the other songs, the chorus isn’t strong enough. (05/10)

Joe – This is ok, and probably better than his last effort in 2014. A real retro feel to it and it’s quite endearing. He’s a good looking chap too…. (7/10)

And so, here are our five qualifiers for the final, starting with:…

=4th: Daniel Levi – “All I Need” (33/50)

Andy – Another cool and confident pop song. Very Justin Timberlake. It’s catchy and progresses really well over the course of the song. Really like this one! (9/10)

Anne – Really loved his 2015 entry, but there’s something about this that doesn’t quite click with me. A bit too radio friendly and its all a bit by numbers. He’ll perform the hell out of it though (8/10)

Ervin – I have a feeling that this song is a couple of years too late. Nevertheless, this kind of music is still very much played in the radios. Also, I quite enjoy the arrangements of this song (5/10)

Danny – Daniel almost won before and while this is nice enough, I don’t think it has enough bite to pick up enough votes to win, but I can see it being a radio hit in Estonia over the summer.(06/10)

Joe – A good pop song, but nothing about it to stand out in this year’s selection. I don’t dislike it though (5/10)

=4th: Kerli – “Spirit Animal” (33/50)

Andy – A nice chillstep-sounding opening and the electric violin effect is nice. Her voice and song is quite strange but sounds very much like the big “I Don’t Care” hit. Undecided if I like this or not. May be a grower! (6/10)

Anne – Lots of eager anticipation to this one, and Kerli doesn’t disappoint! I reckon she’s going to put on something so jaw-dropping that it will hide the clunky bits of the song. Best of this semi final (9/10)

Ervin – I know that this one will be sailing through to the finals, and that this type of music has a lot of fans, however – this is totally not my cup of tea. There’s just too much going on in this song, and I’m not sure I can follow it… And in parts sounds like music from video games, which is also something I do not enjoy. (2/10)

Danny – Arguably the biggest name in the competition – this is a very brave song which on first listen, probably is a little too ‘out there’ to win, it starts off well but the chorus is a disappointment. It might get better on repeated listens but, I don’t think it’s a winner. (7/10)

Joe – Really intrigued to see how they stage this. I’m a big fan of this brand of electronica, and it has all the hallmarks of a hit for someone like Icona Pop. (9/10)

3rd: Almost Natural – “Electric” (35/50)

Andy – Estonia have really upped their game with this semi! Everything sounds like a radio hit. This electro-pop tune is fantastic too. Really nice bass line with a retro feel to it. (9/10)

Anne – Got the sound of a lot of indie Estonian groups, I’m thinking Zebra Island from last year. Not enough of a hook to make it suitable for Kiev (5/10)

Ervin – The music is very nice and relaxing, and the vocals of the guys fits this song perfectly. It is very easy to listen to, and even though it is nothing too special, it is the best one in the second semi final, if you ask me. My concern is that this is a great radio track, and a big question is whether this will work on the TV… (8/10)

Danny – Another one which is pleasant enough but doesn’t really go anywhere, but it does sound like countless other songs on the radio right now, going for that tropical vibe. Whether that’s a good or bad thing, remains to be seen. But not bad, overall. (06/10)

Joe – Another electronic radio hit. A nice beat to tap ones toe to, but the chorus for me isn’t quite strong enough to really hook the listener in. It plink-plonks along nicely and makes me smile though. (7/10)

2nd: Koit Toome ja Laura – “Verona” (37/50)

Andy – Sounds like something you’d hear on the radio mixed with an 80’s Erasure hit. Both voices work well together, but sound a bit “Autotuned”. I look forward to hearing the live vocal before making a full decision. (8/10)

Anne – Love this,and I know I shouldn’t as it’s a massive cheese ball, but the woah oh oh oh bits drag you in whether you like it or not (9/10)

Ervin After last year’s Laura’s song “Supersonic”, I expected an equally good, or an even better song. Unfortunately, this song came across as rather average and too common. The chorus itself is super weak as well. Not a fan of this I’m afraid.(3/10)

Danny – Two former Eurovision entrants combine their efforts for this very catchy Sven Lõhmus song which again is very modern and would make an excellent Eurovision entry. I think this probably the one to beat in this line up. (09/10)

Joe – I had high expectations of this one, and they haven’t disappointed. This is a really catchy tune that I can see doing very well indeed. (8/10)

And our winner of Semi 2 would be…

1st: Liis Lemsalu – “Keep Running” (40/50)

Andy – Nice opening. Downtempo dance into a club hit.. Sounds like it could be the latest Calvin Harris/Rihanna colaboration. Nice vocals and production in this. Nice.. (8/10)

Anne – Unexpectedly good! Liis has a great voice and it’s a very current sound. Wouldn’t mind this getting through but there’s stiff competition in this semi final (8/10)

Ervin – From the very start, this song reminds me of two different, well known songs, put together. Its music is pretty well put together. I feel the song itself should be catchier than it is though. (6/10)

Danny – This another modern track which has a punchy chorus and excellent production, I could easily see this being a hit in the charts. Definitely something I’d listen to again. (9/10)

Joe – This is nice. I particularly like the way that the chorus kicks-in and gives the song a real energy. Liis has a great voice, and if she performs well on the night, I can see this qualifying comfortably. (9/10)

So, combining all of our scores from both semi-finals, the fight to be the Estonian entrant for Eurovision in Kyiv, would be a very tight race betweem Liis Lemsalu, Lenna Kuurma, Elina Born, Koit & Laura and Ariadne.

Of course it isn’t down to us, and any of the 20 songs could well go on to represent Estonia. Whoever it is, they will hope to improve on last year’s non-qualification (and indeed last place in the semi-final) from Juri Pootsman. We think this year’s selection is strong, and that they should certainly improve on that. Would you agree?, who would be your favourite? Vote in our two polls right here:

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