In common with most of the northern European countries who usually hold national finals, Estonia did not award their 2020 national final winner with a pass to the 2021 contest. Instead, they elected to hold their national final Eesti Laul as usual. They did however, give an automatic pass to the semi-final line up to last year’s winner, Uku Suviste.
Two semi-finals have already taken place, and most of the expected acts made it through to the final, which takes place on Saturday 6 March. One of my own favourites, an 80s sounding song, did not make it but a less than stellar vocal probably doomed it. Twelve songs remain in contention, and as well as last year’s artist, there are several artists who have actually been to Eurovision (twice in some cases!)
Last year’s winner and the (betting and fan) favourite: Uku Suviste “The Lucky One”
Clearly hoping his song title will prove to be prophetic and take him to Eurovision after last year’s cancellation, Uku returns with a song in a similar vein to his entry last year. If you liked that song, then you’ll probably like this one, though it wasn’t so popular in the fandom. (I had his song last year around mid-table in my countdown). While there do seem a fair few contenders who could beat Uku, there does seem to be a view that the Estonian public may support him heavily, given there is perhaps a perception he should have been automatically been made the Estonian entry for 2021. We will see!
Two times Eurovision entrant and second favourite (in betting): Koit Toome “We Could Have Been Beautiful”
Koit Toome has represented Estonia twice at Eurovision: back in 1998 as a fresh faced youth (where he finished a respectable 12th with “Mere lapsed“), and more recently in 2017, duetting with Laura Põldvere for “Verona” (a fan favourite which had less success in the contest, failing to reach the final). He’s back for a third attempt, with a fairly classic Eurovision-esque ballad – but given they are quite thin on the ground this year in both national finals and the songs selected so far, it might stand him in good stead.
Former Eurovision contestant and third favourite: Jüri Pootsmann “Magus melanhoolia”
Jüri Pootsmann was the winner of Eesti Laul in 2016 and went to Eurovision, though his entry, “Play“, achieved Estonia’s worst ever result at the contest (somewhat unfairly in my view). His very unusual/distinctive 2021 attempt has built up some support in the Eurovision scoreboard app, suggesting his song is almost as popular as Uku’s song with the eurofans this year. It doesn’t do much for me I’ll admit, but there is definitely a chance he’ll win the opportunity to redeem himself in Rotterdam.
My not so guilty pleasure: Suured tüdrukud “Heaven’s Not That Far Tonight”
Serving up some great Estonian schlagerpop, there’s something of the Bobbysocks about Suured tüdrukud. This is just good old-fashioned fun, and actually, in terms of the betting and the Eurovision scoreboard app, it’s running at fourth favourite in both!
Eesti Laul begins at 5.30pm UK time on 6 March and be viewed via the broadcaster’s website.