Now that the National Finals season is finished and all songs for Eurovision 2016 have been selected we now have a period of around 4 weeks where we wait for the rehearsals to begin in Stockholm. What better way to fill the time than to look back over the 60 years of Eurovision at some of the best and worst entries that countries have sent to the Eurovision stage. There are 43 countries going to Stockholm to take part in the 2016 edition of our favourite musical extravaganza and we continue our journey with Estonia who have won the contest once, finished third once and in the top 10 another seven times. They have never finished last their lowest placing being 24th twice in the Final and 22nd in a Semi Final. This has been achieved in 21 participations. You can check out the previous articles in the best and worst series for Ireland HERE ,Spain HERE, Austria HERE, Bosnia & Herzegovina HERE, Iceland HERE, Belarus HERE, Denmark HERE, Georgia HERE, Germany HERE, Cyprus HERE, Finland HERE, Belgium HERE, Hungary HERE,Switzerland HERE, Ukraine HERE and Moldova HERE.
So this year Estonia are represented by Jüri Pootsmann with the song ‘Play’. We will have to wait and see if it turns out to be more of a best or worst song for Estonia but the overall reaction is fairly mixed so far. You can watch Juri playing live in Riga HERE and you can catch up on our recent article telling us more about Juri HERE.
So my selections for best and worst entries are based on a combination of actual results and personal taste. Now Estonia have twenty one entries to choose from making the task a little tricky. There are many great songs from Estonia over the years especially some of the earlier ones. I will be able to choose three songs I deem to be the worst but am at a loss to choose three best ones. So I will highlight three in particular and many of the others I will mention as a tribute to the many great songs we have seen from Estonia.
We do not have to go very far back in time to find our first song that is one of the best for Estonia. The year was 2015 and we were in Vienna to see Elina Born & Stig Rästa singing the song ‘Goodbye to Yesterday’.
Now this collaboration came together especially for Eurovision. Stig wrote the song and had previously been a member of the group Traffic who had tried to represent Estonia before. Also Elina had tried to represent Estonia back in 2013. Although the song was written for Eurovision Stig had already written for Elina previously too. The song went on to do well with a very slick performance and great use of the lighting and backdrop that helped tell the story of the pairs break up. It finished up 3rd in the Semi Final and then 7th in the Final with 106 points.
Moving along we look at one of the worst entries for Estonia. We were in Helsinki in 2007 to see Gerli Padar perform the song ‘Partners in Crime’.
Now Gerli is the sister of Tanel Padar who of course went on to win for Estonia in 2001. She is a popular artist in Estonia having appeared in several musicals. The song itself was well enough performed with three male dancers and two female backing singers helping her out. But it failed to get to the Final and finished in 22nd place with 33 points which to date is Estonia’s worst result.
So now we move back to look at another best of entry for Estonia. We were in Stockholm in 2000 and the performer was Ines with the song ‘Once in a Lifetime’.
Now Ines who’s full name is Eda-Ines Etti is a musical celebrity in Estonia and her Eurovision pedigree did not stop in 2000. When they hosted two years later she was in the frame to sing the home entry ‘Runaway’ but pulled out at the last minute leaving the Swede Sahlene to be chosen which raised some controversy. Also she has read out the votes for Estonia on a number of occasions. The song was a big uptempo number which was a big favourite. She was supported on stage by five backing singer which included the composer of the song and also her then boyfriend Tanel Padar. It ended up coming in 4th with 98 points.
Our next song that has to be considered one of the worst for Estonia was sent in the year 2004 and we were in Istanbul to witness the spectacle that was Neiokõsõ singing ‘Tii’.
Well at least this something different for Estonia. The song was sung in the Võro language, spoken in South-Eastern Estonia. The band consisted of five girls and a guy who generally played percussion and fooled around a lot. The song itself was performed well enough but just didn’t have that extra punch that an ethnic song needs to do that well. It ended up in 12th place with 57 points and failed to get Estonia to the Final for the first time.
So onto our last song that was one of Estonia’s best. It was in 2012 and Baku was witness to Ott Lepland performing with the song ‘Kuula’.
Now starting with the song Ott composed the song itself and sang it in Estonian at Eurovision. He was accompanied in the performance by one backing singer. It was a very popular song and went on to do rather well for Estonia qualifying for the Final in 4th place and ending up 6th in the Final with 120 points.
We now arrive at the last song for Estonia and it’s another of the worst. In 2008 we saw Kreisiraadio represent their country in Belgrade with the song ‘Leto Svet’.
Now Kreisiraadio (Estonian for “Crazy Radio”) is an Estonian comedy act, made up of Hannes Võrno, Peeter Oja and Tarmo Leinatamm. The novelty song was sung in a combination of English, Serbian, German and Finnish. The song was certainly controversial among fans and booing could be heard before the performance. As most pop songs have simple melody and reliance of rhythm machine, Leto Svet is over simplistic and the lyrics are made of random words from dictionary. The use of Serbian with no regard for grammar or sense was intentionally trying to mock the way Eurovision is staged. It went on to finish in 18th place with only 8 points.
So I have mentioned 3 best of songs above but also have to mention the following entries for Estonia as all being great entries too.
2001 Tanel Padar/Dave Benton/2XL with ‘Everybody’. Estonia went on to win the contest with this.
2009 Urban Symphony with ‘Rändajad’.
1996 Maarja-Liis Ilus & Ivo Linna with ‘Kaelakee hääl’.
1999 Evelin Samuel & Camille with Diamond Of Night’.
2002 Sahlene with ‘Runaway’
1997 Maarja-Liis Ilus with ‘Keelatud maa’.
So there we have it folks, my little delve into Estonian Eurovision history and some of the best and worst moments over the years. Do you agree with all or even any of my choices? Feel free to comment below.
This series will continue with another look at songs over the years for each and every country competing in Eurovision 2016 so keep coming back for more reflections of the best and worst that Eurovision has had to offer us.
Author: Andrew Main
Source: Eurovision Ireland