ESTONIA: Live blog of Eesti Laul SF2 from 18.30CET
Estonian broadcaster ERR continues its search for a song for Rotterdam with the second semi-final of Eesti Laul. As with Thursday, twelve songs are vying for six places in the Final of Eesti Laul on Saturday 6 March.
A 50/50 mix of expert jury and televoting will pick four of the six qualifiers. A second round of televoting will pick two more. The big question is: Will Mr Suviste make it through? Let’s find out.
And here we go, from the Iconic Saku Suurhall in Tallinn. Lots of dancing to open the show. Estonia is making a big thing of tonight. And then on come the twelve acts for tonight. A pleasing mix of soloists and groups.
And here are our hosts. They give a very brief rundown of what will happen tonight. The Estonian public can vote throughout the show, not just after the last song has been on.
And then it’s onto the songs…
Sissi – Time
We start in English, and Sissi is alone on stage to start with, but then her backing singers appear in front of her. It’s what you could call a power ballad. It’s one of those uplifting songs we’ve been hearing for the last 12 months of lockdown. Very gospel and a great opener.
Gram-Of-Fun – Lost in a dance
Band time now and something with a very jangly guitar arrangement. Think of 1980s band The Police band and you’re there. It’s also got a very summery sound to it. And would I be wrong to say I’m tapping my foot to this. My foot doesn’t always get it wrong. A great song actually. It’s nicely original, yet there’s also some familiarity about it too. Nice.
Kadri Voorand – Energy
No, it’s not a cover of a Slovene song from 20 years ago. And she throws a ‘hell’ or two into the mix, does our Kadri. Her song is mid-tempo and a tad downbeat. Potentially full of angst and longing too. I’m expecting her to leave the piano behind after the first chorus, but no, she stays there throughout. I don’t know. It’s maybe a bit too down for me. She’s talented, but the song maybe doesn’t do her justice.
Helen – Nii kõrgele
Helen is a sporty type, according to her postcard. Her song is refreshingly in ‘eesti keelt’ and has props! Yey! A table no less, and some backing assistance who could be from Blake’s Seven. They’re rocking a silver-and-black futuristic vibe. The song bounces along nicely and is safe. But safe isn’t always a good thing. Oh yes, and she finishes wearing wings.
REDEL – Tartu
Here’s some Estonian geography, and another song in the local language. The one-time Winny Puhh performers have their own special take on music, and this is no exception. It’s done in the falsetto stylee and is nicely chaotic. ETV have ourdone themselves with the camera work, making it memorable. So memorable I can’t adequately describe it. Definitely a marmite song. A qualifier? Maybe.
Rahel – Sunday night
Back to English, and a cabaret stage show. Rahel is a decent voice, but I’m struggling to find that killer hook in this that we’ve seen in a few other songs tonight. There is a very good stage show and Rahel and her pals use the stage to full effect. But it’s cabaret which is another marmite style. Not quite for me I’m afraid.
Uku Haasma – Kaos
You wait ages for an Uku and then two come along almost at once. Uku H sings in Estonian. His song has another jangly guitar accompanying him – and little else – to start with. Then you see his backing band a modest distance away from him. This has something about it, despite its slightly downbeat tones. Suitable for a big stage? Yes. It’s not a typical structure, but there’s nothing wrong with it. Apart from it fading out instead of the usual ending. Amd what a pair of trousers!
HELEZA – 6
A song in French and Estonian! I wasn’t expecting that. There’s a breathy quality to this, that is quite à la mode. Not quite my thing but I can see the appeal. And Heleza has a frock to remember. She also ably employees a saxophonist towards the end. Hmmm, I’m not sure. It doesn’t grab me like some of the other songs have.
At this point we meet the expert jury. All in facemasks. Janika Sillamaa (EE 93) among them.
Uku Suviste – The lucky one
Uku Kaks (That’s Uku Two to you). Let’s hope he’s lucky tonight. The song is serious and is very good. The chains from the roof are a different touch. I like it. It’s a bit rocky, a bit poppy. But very earnest and has all of the right bits and mostly the right order. It even demonstrates Uku Kaks’ range. So much so an audience member – or maybe his lady – joins him on stage. It’s a yes from here.
Alabama Watchdog – Alabama Watchdog
This is sort of student rock with those tickertape headline running along the bottom of the screen for part of the song. Very serious, bordering on angry. If you like guitar-ey riffs then this will be for you. The lyric might not be the most serious, but it will create an impression and maybe sneak through. It’s not the best, but not the worst tonight.
Jüri Pootsmann – Magus melanhoolia
Ooh, someone who’s won this before. Jüri has opted for Estonian this time. He starts in dramatic darkness -almost a little sinister in fact. His song is another downbeat one, with lots of finger-clicking. Whilst it demonstrates his range, I’m not sure that the song actually goes anywhere. It relies too much on effects and style to me. Sorry, Jüri.
Suured tüdrukud – Heaven’s not that far tonight
Finally, we get a Koit Toome composition (remember him?). These are a duo who are experienced in the music industry – according to their postcard. The song is a proper disco banger of the floor-filler variety. It’s a great way to end the 12 songs and is very very good. A stomp from the 1970s and it is sure to qualify. Brilliant.
That’s the songs over. We now get the usual recap, although the public have been voting from the start of the show. I’d have Gram-of-fun, Helen, Uku Haasma, Uku Suviste and Suured Tüdrukud. And possibly Alabama Watchdog. Let’s see how right I am.
To fill the time, we’ve got some jolly japes in the Green Room. One grizzled old rocker is having his long locks cut off. Never a dull moment at the Saku Suurhall.
We now break for 30 minutes. Don’t forget to come back for the results at 19.30 GMT/20.30 CET/21.30 Local time
Welcome back! Nothing gets in the way of Estonia’s main news bulletin at 21.00 local time.
We kick things off with another recap, as the voting hasn’t closed yet. Oh, the tension! And then we go to the Green Room. It’s all nicely socially-distant in there.
Interval act time now, with the Curly Strings with Taevas seab riidu. Someone’s not turned on the key microphone though. So it stops abruptly. Second time lucky. It’s nicely folksy
The four picks from the jury, are Gram-of-fun, Alabama Watchdog, Jüri Poostman and Kadri Voorand. But we still need the televotes to come in.
More chatter whilst the televotes are verified. They’re eating marzipan figure. I’m jealous!
It’s results time – again! This four have got through as a result of the 50/50 jury and televote.
Uku Suviste, Suured Tüdrukud, Kadri Voorand, and Jüri Pootsman
There’s now more televoting to pick two more songs. And more Green Room chat to fill in.
Next we have a further interval act. It’s Daniel Levi with Jasmine. He likes dancing on the front porch apparently.
We’re now awaiting the last two qualifers. They are…
Redel and Sissi!
I got two out of six!
Thanks for tuning in. The Grand Final of Eesti Laul takes place on Saturday 6 March.
Author: John Stanton