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.