By Neil Durham
WHEN?: 12 and 14 January, with a final on 11 February 2023
WHERE?: Tondiraba Ice Hall, Tallinn Watch on ERR
- Read on for reasons including Janel, Meelik and Sissi, the daughter of a former Eurovision winner
This year Stefan is back as a co-writer of 1 of our favourites (see below) in a selection which is less full with big name participants but does have some notable features as co-writers of some of the fine songs
12 points: Elysa Bad Philosophy (Stig Rästa, Vallo Kikas, Elisa Kolk, Anne Gudrun Michaelsen, Alex Ghinea)
Elysa (main picture) finished 3rd in 2022’s Eesti Laul with the rather basic Fire but did hint that she had the potential to front something more sophisticated and successful. We’re getting Modern Talking/Erasure, 80s vibes from Bad Philosophy musically and we’re enthused by the co-writing credit for Rästa who finished 9th last time and, with Goodbye To Yesterday, wrote and performed a tune which won our Best Song monsta in 2015.
10 points: Janek House Of Glass (Janek Valgepea, Kjetil Mørland)
Mørland competed for Norway in Eurovision 2015 finishing 8th with A Monster Like Me. House Of Glass is a rousing ballad with more than a hint of darkness that is well sung and we can see it giving Elysa a run for her money for the ticket to Liverpool.
8 points: Meelik Tuju (Mood) (Andres Kõpper, Meelik Samel, Rain Parve, Martin Petermann)
Meelik was the lead singer of band Tenfold Rabbit who competed in Eesti Laul in 2012 and 2013 and Tuju‘s mood is late 90s Blur which is to say that if the lyric was to switch to English it might lose some of the mystery it currently boasts. Not sure that it would make the Eurovision final in May.
7 points: Sissi Lighthouse (Sissi Nylia Benita)
Both this and Bridges (see below) have an early Adele, piano-based vibe. Sissi competed in Eesti Laul in 2019 and 2021 and Lighthouse is self-penned with a beautiful build. It may be a little too understated and sophisticated to win in this company and much will depend on Sissi’s performance. She was just two years old when we saw her dad – Dave Benton – win Eurovision with Tanel Padar for Estonia in Copenhagen in 2001.
6 points: M els So Good At What You Do (Stefan Airapetjan, Andreas Poom, Hugo Martin Maasikas, Gevin Niglas, Stig Rästa)
Reminding our ears a little too much of 2011 worldwide smash Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye, this is the song that features the pen of last year’s winner Stefan. We hope others aren’t quite so blinded by the similarity. Rästa also a co-writer. Really catchy – but its derivativeness will surely prove its undoing.
5 points: Alika Bridges (Alika Milova, Wouter Hardy, Nina Sampermans)
The less good Hometown Glory-ish, early Adele-type effort. Hardy co-wrote 2019 Eurovision winner Arcade with Duncan Laurence for the Netherlands and we expect that pedigree to lift this into a strong challenger for the Estonian ticket to Liverpool 2023.
4 points: Carlos Ukareda Whiskey Won’t Forget (Carlos Ukareda, Gevin Niglas, Chris Roberts)
We do like Ed Sheeran and so, we suspect, do the co-writers of this mid-paced strumalong that manages to pack in a few cliches about alcohol and Levi jeans in its brief 3 minutes.
3 points: Anett x Fredi You Need To Move On (Frederik Küüts, Anett Kulbin, Jason Hunter)
1 of the surprising things about Eesti Laul is how its jury and public vote can differ massively. This is exactly the sort of muso-friendly entry that we would expect jurors here to be very enthusiastic about although it’s perhaps a little too Jools Holland for Eurovision. The chin-stroking in black and white of the video doing nothing to dispel that vibe.
2 points: Bedwetters Monsters (Joosep Järvesaar, Mihkel Mõttus, Rauno Kutti, Kaspar Koppel, Karl-Kristjan Kingi, Claus Peneri, Kris Evan-Säde)
Grisly video aside, this was always going to be a song that captured our attention with a title like that. It’s the best rock song in this selection and features in the far less stacked semi 1 here.
Of course everything will be decided when we see the live performances in 2023 but we think this is a strong selection that Estonia should be proud of and we’re interested to see if it can repeat its 2022 success.