Eesti Laul 2012: A Closer Look
On December 12th, Estonian broadcaster ERR unveiled the twenty candidates for Eesti Laul 2012. After a pair of semifinals on February 18 and 25th, the top five from each semi will duke it out on March 3rd to see who will go to Baku. As of this moment, only about half of the songs have been released in full, but it’s a promising start for Tallinn. As is to be expected in a nation of just over 1.3 million inhabitants, there are a number of familiar names competing for the right to represent Estonia in Baku (as well as a few newcomers on the scene). Let’s take a look, shall we?
In their running order (and with videos or links, where available):
Semifinal 1: February 18
1) Janne Saar – Fight for Love (Janne Saar, Carola Madis): Janne has entered Eesti Laul twice before: she came in 5th place with “I am too good for you” in 2009, and presented “Meeting the Wolf” last year (although it was later disqualified due to an early release).
2) Erasmus Rotterdamist – Kuu pääle (Paul Daniel, Jürgen Rooste):
3) MIA – Bon Voyage (Vahur Valgmaa): Not to be confused with the British-Sri Lankan superstar, thisMIA (real name: Kersti Kukk) is a 24-year-old Tallinn native with a few hits on the local Top 40.
4) Milky Whip – My Love (Karl Kanter, Helina Reinjärv): I know nothing about this band, but with a name like “Milky Whip”, I’m oddly intrigued…
5) POP Maniacs – I Don’t Know (Rolf Roosalu): “Pop Maniacs” might be a new group, but Rolf Roosalu is a familiar name to Eesti Laul fans. Also known as “Rolf Junior”, he entered the preselection in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011, never making it any higher than the bronze-medal position. Will 2012 finally be Rolf’s year?
6) Ott Lepland – Kuula (Ott Lepland, Aapo Ilves): Ott was the winner of the third season of Eesti otsib superstaari, the same season that produced last year’s Eesti Laul winner, Getter Jaani. (Fun Fact: While on the show, he covered Urban Symphony’s “Rändajad”, sharing a duet with Sandra Nurmsalu. Check it out here.)
7) August Hunt – Tantsulõvi (August Hunt): I first heard about this song on Europopped, which covers great music (Eurovision-related and beyond) from all over the continent. When I heard that it had been selected for the Eesti Laul semifinal, I couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear. The song has already charted in Estonia, and it might have popular sentiment behind it . And I dare you to watch the clip and not smile…
8) Soundclear – A Little Soldier (Karl-Ander Reismann)
9) Liis Lemsalu – Made Up My Mind (Liis Lemsalu, Rene Puura): Another Eesti otsib superstaari connection: Liis won the 4th season of the show this past June, beating the aforementioned Teele Viira. You can hear the song here.
10) Loss Paranoias – Valedetektor (Loss Paranoias)
Semifinal 2: February 25
1) Traffic – NASA (Ago Teppand, Jaan Pehk): Traffic was runner-up to Urban Symphony’s “Rändajad” back in 2009. On a personal note, “See päev” was the song that originally got me hooked on Eesti Laul, so I’m thrilled to see them back in the game. Sharp-eyed viewers might recognize a familiar face in guitarist Stig Rästa; he was the lead singer for Outloudz, the runners-up from 2011. (Take a peek at “I Wanna Meet Bob Dylan“…and if you like where that came from, Outloudz’s debut album “Wide Awake” was released last year.)
2) Lenna – Mina jään (Mihkel Raud, Lenna Kuurmaa): Lenna was a part of the rock girl-group Vanilla Ninja, who represented Switzerland in Eurovision back in 2005 with “Cool Vibes“. The band took part in the Estonian preselections in 2003 and 2007, but never made it through to the main event for their home country. Lenna has tried to represent Estonia on her own, coming in second place in Eesti Laul 2010 with “Rapunzel“. She also co-hosted last year’s event with former bandmate Piret Järvis. Lenna was narrowly beaten out by Malcolm Lincoln two years ago…will she exact her revenge this year?
3) Malcolm Lincoln – Bye (Robin Juhkental): Malcolm Lincoln represented Estonia in Eurovision 2010, but “Siren” sadly failed to make it past the Semifinals in Oslo. Can the quirky electropop group make it to the top again?
4) Tenfold Rabbit – Oblivion (Tenfold Rabbit)
5) Birgit Õigemeel – You’re Not Alone (Mihkel Mattisen): Birgit was the winner of the first season of Eesti otsib superstaari, back in 2007. (So, if you’re counting, that means that three out of the four Estonian Idol winners will be competing at Eesti Laul in 2012…and the fourth, Jana Kask, competed last year.) Birgit gave Eesti Laul a shot back in 2008, coming in 3rd place with “365 Days“. She’s submitted a much more upbeat number this time around…
6) Soul Militia – The Future is Now (Lauri Pihlap): Soul Militia, formerly known as 2XL, acted as the backing singers for Tanel Padar and Dave Benton when Estonia took home their first (and, so far, only) Eurovision title. After “Everybody“, the group went through a bit of a rebranding, and even entered the 2007 preselection, coming in 5th with “My Place“. In 2009, member Lowry branched off on his own, and ended up in 4th place with “You Ain’t What I Need“.
7) Mimicry – The Destination (Paul Lepasson): 2012 marks Mimicry’s third shot at an Eesti Laul title; they came in 8th in 2010 and 10th in 2011. I personally think “The Destination” is light-years better than “New” and “The Storm“…but will audiences go for this ’80s-inspired track? (At the very least, I can predict that this will be used in a car commercial some time in the next six months…if Jedwardcan pull it off, why not Mimicry?)
8) Orelipoiss – Zombi (Jaan Pehk, Olavi Ruitlane): Orelipoiss is the pseudonym of singer-songwriter Jaan Pehk, who was the former guitarist for the band Ruffus, who represented Estonia in Eurovision 2003. (Check out “Eighties Coming Back” here.) He came in third place during last year’s Eesti Laul with “Valss“, which featured Malcolm Lincoln’s Robin Juhkental on backing vocals. The plot thickens even more this year for Jaan, as he co-wrote the aformentioned “NASA” for Traffic!
9) Teele Viira – City Nights (Priit Uustulnd, Teele Viira): Teele is an alum of the most recent season of Eesti otsib superstaari (Estonia’s version of the “Idol” franchise).
10) Cat Eye – Ride (Karel Kattai, Tanel Roovik, Margaret Kelomees):
Phew…quite a lot to get through, from ballads to electropop to alternative. Almost half have competed at Eesti Laul before (with a total of 21 entries between them, not counting 2012), and we’ve got four artists who have made it all the way to the Eurovision stage. So, will it go to a veteran, or to a rookie? Let me know what you think!