In this post, I will review the 12 competing artists and songs that participate in the first semi-final of “Eesti Laul 2020”. The first semi-final will be held on the 13th of February 2020. At the end of the show, only 6 artists will qualify for the grand final of “Eesti Laul 2020”.
The review of the second semi-final will be published later on. The running order in the semi-final is yet to be decided.
#1. Annet and Fredie – “Write About Me”
Anett Kulbin has participated in “Eesti Laul 2016”. She performed her song “Strong” and ended in 9th place in the semi-final.
Frederik Küüts is a young guitarist, singer, and songwriter.
The song opens with a guitar solo that precedes the gentle and soft voice of Annet. The sound of the song moves between the roughness of electrics guitars and the warmness of Annet’s voice. The atmosphere of the song is pretty romantic. The entry has strong Blues, Jazz, and theatrical foundations. moreover, the song contains computerized musical processing which should be removed in the live version. This is a good and catchy song. However. it should get a staging boost. I would like to see the song qualifying for the final.
#2. Egert Milder – “Georgia (On My Mind”)
Egert Milder is an Estonian pianist, singer, and songwriter. He participated in “Eesti Laul 2015” where he performed the duet “Hold On” together with Liis Lemsalu. They didn’t qualify for the final of “Eesli Laul 2015”.
In 2019, Egert wrote to songs that competed in “Eesti Laul 2019”: “Cold Love” by Kerli Kivilaan that ended in 9th place in the final and “Öhuloss” by Öed that didn’t qualify for the final. This year, Egert is competing as a solo artist.
It’s a nice song, but something feels flat. The beginning may be considered promising, but it doesn’t go anywhere. The song can be a standard radio song. The majority of the entry is based on piano/keyboard playing. However, as the song continues, drums and guitar are added. The song includes a linking section with backing vocals and “a half acapella”. The Genre of the song can be defined as an anthem ballad. I’m pretty sure that Egert Milder will qualify for the final.
#3. INGA – “Right Time”
Inga Tislar is an Estonian singer. She participated in “Eesti Laul 2019” together with Lumevärv.
They performed the song “Milline päev” and ended in 5th place in the final.
I will start by admitting that INGA is a great Pop singer. The song is a Pop- Soul song with a little bit predictable format. The chorus is a direct extension of the first verses, in this way, the song’s structure is flat and homogeneous. In the third part of the song, the music is lowered, but it wouldn’t bring us to the wishful peak. Unfortunately, the song hasn’t the ability to take Estonia to the grand final. This is just a classical case where the singer is way better than the song.
#4. Jennifer Cohen – “Ping Pong”
Jennifer Cohen is an Estonian Jewish singer and songwriter. She is 20 years old. Cohen has participated in “Eesti Laul 2019” and performed “Little Baby El”, but didn’t qualify for the final:
This year she will compete with “Ping Pong” that she co-wrote with Luisa Lõhmus
The song is opened almost without melody. All we can here at the beginning is the sound of ping pong balls hitting the floor, while Jennifer is singing. Afterward, the song develops into a soft love ballad. The chorus is more rhythmic but it doesn’t break the verses. “Ping Pong” (as well as other songs in “Eesti Laul 2020”) contains some computer-processed vocals that should be changed in the live version. The Genre is a mixture of R&B and Pop. For the first time, it could seem like a nice song. Nevertheless, this is a tricky entry that won’t leave your mind and have the potential to be a dark horse.
#5. Kruuv – “Leelo”
Kruuv is an Estonian band that consists of 6 musicians: Liisa, Heiki, Silver, Allan, Valmar, and Villem.
The lead vocalist performs the song while playing a tiny guitar. The song contains foundations of commercials songs or children’s music. The feeling is the song tend more to present enjoyment and fun of the band members and less being a contender in Estonia national selection. The only thing that I can remember is the “Leelo” word.
#6. Laura Põldvere – “Break Me”
Laura Põldvere is a 31 years old Estonian singer. She is said to be the most played artist in the Estonian radio for the past decade. Laura competed in the Estonian national selection for Eurovision on several occasions: 2005, 2007, 2009, 2016 and 2017.
In 2005, she was a member of the group Suntribe. They performed “Let’s Get Loud” and represented Estonia in Eurovision 2005, but failed to qualify.
In 2007,2009 and 2016, Laura competed in the Estonian selection for Eurovision (“Eurolaul”/ “Eesti Laul”) and came third, third, and second respectively.
In 2017, she competed together with Koit Toome in “Eesti Laul 2017”. The duet represented Estonia in Eurovision 2017 but failed to qualify for the grand final.
This year, Laura will compete as a solo artist and perform “Break Me” :
The song is opened with a monotonic guitar playing. Laura sings a little bit through the nose. The chorus is significantly stronger than the verses. The song carries an atmosphere of American frontier (“The Wild West”). The final result is a love ballad of the Soul-Pop Genres. At the end of the song, her singing becomes more powerful. The song is pretty good, but not excellent. I predict that it will qualify for the final.
#7. Little Mess – “Without a Reason”
Little Mess is a girl trio that consists of Johanna-Elise Kabel, Karmel Üksvärav & Viktoria Koljagina. The band sings in English, Estonian and Russian.
They will perform “Without a Reason” in “Eesti Laul 2020”:
The song is opened with piano playing and the beautiful voice of Johanna. It is a love song that starts as a piano ballad and changes into Mainstream Pop. The band’s style is something between the dutch O’G3NE and Little Mix from UK. The entry is really catchy, and although it has a common style, it’s still very promising and refreshing. It’s always fun to hear and watch charismatic girls. I’m sure that they will qualify for the final. With the right staging, the girls can represent Estonia in Eurovision 2020.
#8. Rasmus Rändvee – “Young”
Rasmus Rändvee is a 24 years old Estonian singer. he is well known in Estonia for winning the 5th season of “Eesti otsib superstaari” (Estonia is Searching for a Superstar). Rasmus has participated in “Eesti Laul” on two occasions. The first time, was in 2013, together with the band “Facelift Deer“. They performed the song “Dance” and came 7th in the final.
In 2017, he competed again in “Eesti Laul“. This time. as a solo artist. He performed “This Love” and ended in 3rd place in the final.
Rasmus was a member of The Estonian jury in Eurovision 2014 and Eurovision 2017.
In 2020, he will take part in “Eesti Laul” and perform his song “Young”:
This is an anthem ballad, in an Avicii style. Rasmus serves a solid and warming voice that contributes to the message of the song. This is one to the Top Radio friendly songs of “Eesti Laul 2020″. However, it has the material of a Eurovision song. The song is based mainly on the Rockist voice of the singer and the guitars playing. The chorus and the pre-chorus starts strongly. The song is easy to remember. The entry can be boosted if the singer will use more of his flint voice. It is a sure qualifier to the final.
#9. Renate – “Videomäng” (English: “Video Games”)
Renate Saluste is a 25 years old Estonian singer, composer, lyrics writer and composer. She is active since 2010 and has released 2 albums so far when the third album will be released at the beginning of 2020. Her main genres are Pop and Dance.
Here is a link to Renate’s personal blog where she describes her life.
Renate Saluste will perform her song Videomäng:
The style is an Estonian ballad with sound that belongs more to the 1980’s music. In this song, the verses are more powerful than the chorus. Renate has a magical voice that blends well in the production of the song. I’m afraid that the song may be forgotten when it will face other songs in the semi-final. I think that there is a modern component missing in the melody. Nevertheless, when writing these words the song is growing on me. It may have difficulties to qualify for the final or it will be a borderline qualifier.
# 10.Revals – “Kirjutan Romaani” (Eng: “I’m Writing a Novel”)
Revals is a country band that is active since 2017. The main Genres of the band are: Rock, Country, American Music The members of the band are:
Rait Sohkin – vocal & guitar, Jaanus Saago – vocal & guitar, Rauno Laikjõe – guitar, Danel Pandre – bass guitar, Eugene Babkin – keyboards, Liis-Marii Vendt – violin & percussion, Jaanus Salm – drums.
The band will perform “Kirjutan Romaani”:
This is an American Country Pop Rock song that’s based on the rough voice of the lead vocalist. The part in the song on 1:07-1:13 is just unnecessary and doesn’t contribute to the whole song. To sum up, wh have got here a decent rock song but it has a disadvantage: It’s very generic. At the last minute, there is a female singer that serves as a backing vocal, but she disappears after a few seconds.
#11. Stefan- “By My Side”
Stefan Airapetjan is an Estonian Singer, song-writer. He has participated twice in “Eesti Laul”. In 2018, he performed the song “Laura (Walk With Me)” together with Hans Noormets as the team Vaje. They ended in 3rd place in the final. A year after, Stefan competed again in “Eesti Laul“. This time he performed “Without You” and once again came 3rd in the final. In “Eesti Laul 2020|, he will perform “By My Side”:
It is an exciting ballad that’s opened with a solo of acoustic guitar. Stefan’s singing is soft, emotional and relates to the song theme. His singing is being transformed along the song and afterward becomes more rockist and powerful. You can feel the connection between the singer and the lyrics and off course that it raises the values of the song. My prediction is that “By My Side” is one of the contenders to win the “Eesti Laul 2020”.
#12. Synne feat. Väliharf – “Majakad” (Eng: Lighthouses)
Synne Valtri is an Estonian singer that’s is active for years. Her main Genres are Schlagers and Pop. Väliharf is an Estonian Folk band that consists of Marko Matvei and Anto Siimson. They will compete together in “Eesti Laul 2020” and perform “Majakad”:
It is an old fashioned song, in the meanings of melody and of interpretation. What they are trying to do here feels like a combination of too many components and Genres together: Schlager, Pop, Rap, Rhythm, Folk and more. The integration between Väliharf andSynne Valtri seems un-natural. The young generation won’t be attracted to the song. I barely see it qualifying for the final.
My Ranking of the 12 songs will be:
|STEFAN – By My Side|
|Little Mess – Without a Reason|
|Anett x Fredi – Write About Me|
|Laura – Break Me|
|Jennifer Cohen – Ping Pong|
|Rasmus Rändvee – Young|
|Renate – Videomäng|
|Egert Milder – Georgia On My Mind|
|Revals – Kirjutan romaani|
|INGA – Right Time|
|Kruuv – Leelo|
|Synne feat. Väliharf – Majakad|
My Prediction of Qualifiers will be (in random order):
Egert Milder – “Georgia On My Mind”
Rasmus Rändvee – “Young”
STEFAN – “By My Side”
Laura – “Break Me”
Little Mess – “Without a Reason”
Renate – “Videomäng”
The review of the second Semi-Final of “Eesti Laul 2020” will be published later on, so stay tuned.