Estonia has decided: it’s Ott Lepland!
The hotly-anticipated Final of this year’s Eesti Laul brought ten strong acts from all over the musical spectrum, from synth-pop to R&B to melodramatic indie and back again. But after the dust settled, only one act could represent Estonia in Baku. After the first round of voting, it came down to a pair of Estonian-language ballads: one by Lenna Kuurma (former lead singer of Vanilla Ninja and 2010 Eesti Laul runner-up) and Ott Lepland (the first winner of Eesti otsib superstaari, Estonia’s version of “Idol”).
After a second round of voting, the Estonian public favored Ott Lepland’s “Kuula” more than two-to-one over Lenna’s “Mina jään“:
Written and composed by Aapo Ilves and Ott himself, “Kuula” marks the first time since 2009 that the Estonian language will be heard on a Eurovision stage. Despite the ESC’s general trend towards English language entries, Urban Symphony’s mystical “Rändajad” came in an impressive 6th place in Moscow. Despite the general strength of this year’s Eesti Laul, it came as no major shock that Ott came out victorious. Not only did he come through his season of Eesti otsib superstaari without ever being in danger of elimination, but he has released a pair of successful albums since then. He stated out as a child singer, releasing four albums before the age of ten!
He’s grown up a bit since then…he’ll be turning 25 during the first week of rehearsals in Baku.
We still have a few more entries to hear for this year’s competition, but in my opinion, “Kuula” might have the strongest male vocal performance in Baku. It’s oddly appropriate that the song’s title means “Listen”…I know I will.