Estonia are one of my favourite Eurovision countries and of the three Baltic states, they have had the most success at the contest, becoming the first ex-Soviet country to win Eurovision (in 2001) and were only the second Eastern European country to have won at that time (after Yugoslavia in 1989).
As well as their win, Estonia have managed 11 top 10 placings in their 15 grand final appearances (24 total appearances). While they had a bad qualification patch in the mid 00s and can be a bit hit and miss now, they generally they do well. That said, my top 5 Estonian favourites don’t all come from their most successful songs…
5. Elina Nechayeva “La forza” (2018, 8th place, 245 points)
I’ll be honest, this wasn’t my favourite for the Estonian national final (that was Stig) but I still liked this a lot, especially when I saw this performed live in Lisbon. Elina proved that “popera” can do well at Eurovision, scoring well with both juries and televote. The dress/staging was stunning and Elina’s vocal was spine-tingling.
4. Urban Symphony “Rändajad” (2009, 6th place, 129 points)
Perhaps an overlooked gem this one, it saw Estonia return to the final for the first time since 2003 and finished just outside the top 5.
3. Birgit Õigemeel “Et uus saaks alguse” (2013, 20th place, 19 points)
Very much a personal, vaguely guilty pleasure this one – quite an old school song and performance but I really enjoyed it and was pleasantly surprised it got to the final. She was singing for two as she was several months pregnant at the time of the contest.
2. Koit Toome and Laura “Verona” (2017, 14th in semi-final, 85 points)
A Eurovision-fan favourite, and a new camp classic, the live performance of Koit and Laura in Kyiv did leave something to be desired (and of course it was a shock non-qualification) but this has to place highly on my Estonian list.
1. Elina Born & Stig Rästa “Goodbye to Yesterday” (2015, 7th place, 106 points)
What else could it be than this super classy song, written and co-performed by Stig Rästa. The staging and live performances didn’t disappoint but the juries and public let us down on the night as this really deserved to be top 3 at the least. I think its early appearance in the running order damaged its chances. Still, it was a comfortable top 10 result and Stig has gone on to write more songs for submission to Eurovision. Look out for Elina’s tears in the course of the song – really connects to the story of the song!
So, what are your thoughts? Though an impressive song, there’s no “Kuula” and in this update, Tanja’s “Amazing” has dropped out of my top 5. No place for their contest-winning song from 2001 but I’m not sure I would even have had that in an Estonian top 10! Let me know what YOU think in comments below!