Estonia sends Getter Jaani – "Rockefeller Street"

As expected, the Estonians delivered one of the most entertaining, high-quality, and competitive of the National Finals.  Since the change over from “Eurolaul” to “Eestilaul” three years ago, the quality of the Baltic nation’s Eurovision selections has gone absolutely through the roof.  In the span of one event, audiences heard rock, pop, ballads, electronica, alternative, and even a waltz.

But, of course, there could only be a single winner, and that honor went to 18-year-old Getter Jaani and “Rockefeller Street”!

Getter, like many of this year’s Eurovision performers, is a veteran of one of her country’s televised talent searches (in this case, she came in 4th place on season three of Eesti otsib superstaari, the Estonian version of “Pop Idol”).  In fact, her season of Eesti otsib superstaari was hosted by Tanel Padar, who sang as part of Estonia’s winning Eurovision entry from 2001, and Ithaka Maria, who Getter actually beat in Eestilaul this year (more on her later, though).  Furthermore, the winner of Getter’s “Idol” season, Ott Lepland, was on the judging panel for tonight’s event.  Small world!

I definitely enjoy “Rockefeller Street” (although, as someone who grew up right outside of New York, I hate to point out that there is no actual Rockefeller Street in Manhattan!  Rockefeller Center is fabulous, though…).  It was written by Sven Lõhmus, the composer behind one of Estonia’s greatest Eurovision songs, 2009’s stunning “Rändajad“, among other tunes.  There were other songs that I preferred in this year’s Eestilaul, but I can definitely support “Rockefeller Street” in the ESC this year, even considering it’s geographical misdirection.  It’s youthful, catchy, and instantly recognizable. Just as importantly, it’s simply fun!  I can easily imagine the Estonians putting together some sort of fantastic stage show for their three minutes on stage in Düsseldorf…this one has potential.

I would be amiss to omit some of my other favorite songs from my review of Eestilaul tonight, so here are a few of my favorites from the Final:

Coming in 8th place was Rolf Roosalu (who competed in last year’s Preselection as “Rolf Junior”) with the modern ballad “All and Now“.  Rolf, who has had extensive theater experience, brought in a subdued, yet powerful performance, especially considering his song from last year, “Maagiline Päev“.

In 7th place was “Smile” by MID, a throwback to the early days of 80’s British New Wave.  Considering the path that last year’s Eestilaul winner, “Siren“, took, “Smile” would have been a definite continuation in that direction.

The big shock in this year’s final was the under-performance of Ithaka Maria’s fantastic “Hoppa-Pa’Rei!”  The bombastic, cello-heavy pop-rock song only came in fifth place, despite high marks from the public audience.  Any song that features bad-ass rock yodeling deserves its due!!

Jana Kask’s big-voiced ballad “Don’t Want Anything” came in 4th place.  Jana holds the record for the youngest person to win an “Idol”-affiliated show in any nation, having won her title at only sixteen years old.

In a surprise third place (including maximum points from the jury) was Orelipoiss, a musical side project for prolific singer-songwriter Jaan Pehk, who was part of the band Rufus, Estonia’s ESC representative back in 2003.  Eagle-eyed viewers might notice Malcolm Lincoln frontman Robin Juhkental singing backup on “Valss“.

Runner-up this year was the quiet electro-pop song “I Wanna Meet Bob Dylan“, performed by Outloudz.  As a resident of Minnesota, where Bob Dylan was born and raised, a not-so-small part of me wanted this to win.  This one took a bit of time to grow on me after the first time I had heard it, but it quickly became one of my favorites.

I don’t know what’s in the water out in Estonia, but for a nation of only 1.3 million, the musical talent pool seems incredibly deep and well-developed.  I have no idea whether or not “Rockefeller Street” will claim a second victory for Estonia, but if Eestilaul continues to embrace local talent and style the way that is has over the past few years, I can’t doubt that a win is in the cards in the not-too-distant future.  And, if not, they’re nurturing and exposing local talent, which is always an advantage, even if a performer doesn’t end up making it to Eurovision.

Posted on February 27, '11, in 2011, Estonia. Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. Hello Samantha, you might remember me when I was watching this with you today. As I have said as an anonymous, I love you blog. However, I have to disagree with you. I definitely think this song was the best of the night. I had really high hopes for Estonia like always since 2009 but as I watched the first three songs, I just got the same vibe as anything I watched on Eurovision. When Getter's song started, I was immediately attracted to it. The beginning got me and I kept expected it to turn into the same screaming voices that most eurovision songs have. But, it went into that amazing chorus and I think I literally jumped in my seat with excitement! I loved it from then on and I believe that this song could seriously win this years contest. I like Outloudz, but, I like it just as I would like any other good EUROvision song. I think Getter's song is a successful song in Eurovision and out of it too.

  2. Hi, Jack!One of the great things about the ESC (and, by extension, Eestilaul) is the fact that by having so many different styles of music in one event, there's generally something for everyone (unless you're into Mongolian throat-singing or something like that). When I'm not listening to music from Eurovision, my tastes generally tend towards alternative and rock, so I felt drawn to Malcolm Lincoln last year, as well as Ithaka Maria and Outloudz this time around. I do really like Getter Jaani, and I would have given her my 8 points, if I had been a juror. I really look forward to seeing how it stacks up against everyone else on the same stage in Germany, and how it performs on the charts across the continent!(By the way, thank you so much for signing your name…the constant Anonymous thing is beginning to bother me, but I want to have people feel free to post here if they want!)-Sam

  3. I certainly agree with you. What I basically mean however, is that I think Getter's song is in the same area as Lady Gaga. (It appeals to the masses outside of eurovision.) But! Maybe I am wrong and I just love this song. lol I guess we will see when Eurovision comes along. Am I going to see you tomorrow? I am looking forward to the Slovenia selection. Which one are you going to watch? Slovenia or Montenegro?

  4. I hate to admit this, but I've been so wrapped up in today's events that I haven't done my pre-research on Slovenia and Macedonia! I might flip back and forth between the two, or see which one has the better live feed. Any favorites I should keep my eyes open for? 🙂

  5. None that I know of. I just like the history of slovenias songs. I've only watched my favorite countries national selections thus far (Like Estonia and Lithuania) and I prefer Slovenia over Macedonia. 😛 Obviously, in the final of ESC, I vote on the song itself, not the country,

  6. I hear you, Jack. I disliked Slovenia's song last year, so I'm both hopeful and cautious about what they'll do for 2011. (And, as an American, I can't vote on any of the songs, so it's all out of my hands!)

  7. If Slovenia sends its front-runner, Vanilija by Maja Keuc, they are straight away putting on a serious face. It is rather difficult to remember it after a few listens, but it is substantial and dramatic. Maja sounds like a black woman. EMA 2011 will be making use of a three-member all-female jury whose members all look at individual elements (one looks at choreography, another looks at image, and the last judges singing). Go women!Fyrom? Who cares about Fyrom? They are boring (except for maybe Elena Risteska)! I do not really care to watch their national Final. Once the result comes out, I shall pick it up from this blog, thank you very much!

  8. If you add Andorra 2006, Portugal 2008, and Slovakia 2009 together, that should come out to about Vanilija, I think. A burlesque routine would probably go with the song, though I do not know how the public would respond to that! They do not respond well historically, do they?Fyromese selection is not that bad! We will be having guest artists Femminem! Yey!

  9. Now, about the Estonian song: I could barely accept this victory. The song itself is not bad at all. The beginning is interesting, and the leading up to the chorus sounds great. It is just the chorus itself that fails to grab me! The chorus taken on its own sounds fine, but with the rest of this song, I would have liked something more remarkable.Besides, this victory came at the expense of our beloved Hopa'pa-rei! The cost was too high!Speaking of costs, I can expect to see a costly video production for this song now that it has been selected. That is if they want a video to go with this.Hopa'pa-rei's video, on the other hand, exemplifies what I like to preach: playing up what is below the surface. The details, her gestures, the theme, they were all perfect for the song, so the song is not angry just for the sake of being an angry song, but angry with meaning, meaning that transcends language barriers!The theme of Rockefeller Street, I fear, will invite kitsch that will keep it from being its best. What if Getter takes her lyrics literally and we see a Swan Lake filled with diamonds and pearls in Düsseldorf? Or her party Cinderellas? O dear…That is what I think. I just would love to know exactly what the jurors were thinking. A juror putting Ithaka Maria third from the bottom makes no sense, unless they had a personal grudge against her.By the way, I am replying as anonymous because I do not have an account with, so that is why I have to do it this way. Sorry!

  10. "I just would love to know exactly what the jurors were thinking." Keep in mind that Estonia's the country that sent "Leto Svet" a few years back…for every stroke of genius, there's a moment of lunacy!In the drop-down menu when you post a comment, is there an option for "Comment as Name/URL", or is it just Anonymous? The fact that almost everyone is posting anonymously is getting a bit hard to handle, especially now that I'm getting more readers/comments! Maybe everyone could write their initials and your home country at the end of their comments?

  11. You can choose name/Url at the bottom of the drop down menu.

  12. Hi,Just a quick word from an Australian living in Estonia. Thanks for your rather in-depth thoughts and comments about Eesti Laul and Estonian music in general. It's true that the depth and quality of talent here is rather impressive!I watched Eesti Laul with some friends (all Estonians) and were also surprised about Ithaka Maria. There were quite a few good songs on offer, but there was the constant question of "Yes this is a good song, but is it a good 'Eurovision song'"It seems for some reason that quality is expected to be sacrificed when it comes to creating an ESC song.Anyhoo, thanks again and keep up the good work.GeoffI guess we'll have to see what happens with Rockefeller St

  13. They removed the high quality video, that's bad PR Getter!

  14. New video attached! 🙂

  15. HD Getter Jaani videos were removed from various YouTube accounts (including official website) due to the claim EOCP received from Getter Jaani manager Mr. Tambet Mumma who also owns phonogram producers rights (Moonwalk) for this video. Go figure! Getter, you should get a new manager!

  16. UK guy…been watching Eurovision for 40 yrs…this is a GOOD SONG and is definitely top three material. It has chance of pace and rhythm, good voice, variety and a very catchy chorus….Tallin 2012??

  17. The reason I think we are entitled to understanding the jurors' thinking behind their decisions is because they position themselves as the experts. On shows like Dancing With The Stars and Project Runway, the judges give their explanations as to how they score their contestants, for transparency, and so viewers can follow what is happening. Why can it not be the same here? The jury clearly took the wheel on this one just as they did back in 2009, how can I know it was for the right reasons this time? If Getter Jaani wins, I guess there is nothing better than winning, aside from maybe winning with more points, but Hopa'pa-rei to me just exuded quality in all the ways I described (you see what I am doing? I am trying to be as objective about this as possible, and point out what is good for what reasons, and so forth.), and I would not have passed that up for (almost) anything else. The Estonians passed it up? Well, so be it.What exactly, by the way, is the role of a jury? After a disastrous 2008, with all the blatant political voting, I thought executives brought in the juries to make the contest more merit based and diminish the political voting. Also, juries have proven that they do not necessarily vote for ballads or more "conservative" songs. People are misguided if they believe that entries from for example France, Italy, or Lithuania are "made for the juries". On the other hand, I like to think that they always vote for quality (2009 looked so much better because of them), but I have not been so sure since the 2010 results came out. Well, WHAT ARE JURIES FOR???-Finland

  18. Sorry ,I don't like it.just for teenagers.

  19. What does the whole status on the Facebook badge say? "Was rocking out to "Hopa'pa-rei" on my drive…". What does it say after?

  20. Hehe…I wrote that a while ago, but the full status is: "Was rocking out to "Hoppa-Pa'Rei" on my drive home, probably singing completely off-key. I don't really care…Badass rock yodel FTW!":-)

  21. I am a great fan of Eestilaul too. Even though I'm actually Latvian, I have watched Estonian show for the last 3 years instead. It consists not only of high quality songs and performances but is also very well hosted, I would especially highlight the camera-operators. Here are more of my comments about Getter Jaani and this year's participants:

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