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Estonia: Eesti Laul Open Thread

It’s time to blow away the Eurovision cobwebs now that Estonia has published this year’s lineup of acts vying to represent the nation in Tel Aviv next year.

The two semi-finals (not yet in running order) are detailed below. Six acts will qualify to the final scheduled for February 16th, which is on my birthday so I won’t be watching.  The final will consist of a 50/50 split between televote and jury voting, before three acts proceed to the 100% televote-decided super-final.

Semi-Final 1 – 31st  January 2019

  1. The Swingers, Tanja & Birgit – High Heels In The Neighbourhood
  2. Marko Kaar – Smile
  3. xtra basic & Emily J – Hold Me Close
  4. Johanna Eendra – Miks sa teed nii?
  5. Stefan – Without You
  6. Sandra Nurmsalu – Soovide puu
  7. Jennifer Cohen – Little Baby El
  8. Sofia Rubina ft. Janika Tenn – Deep Water
  9. ÖED – Öhuloss
  10. Victor Crone – Storm
  11. Ranele – Supernova
  12. Inger – Coming Home

Semi-Final 2 – 2nd  February 2019

  1. Synne Valtri – I’ll Do It My Way
  2. Iseloomad – Kaks miinust
  3. Lumevärv ft. INGA – Milline päev
  4. Sissi – Strong
  5. Cätlin Mägi & Jaan Pehk – Parmumäng
  6. Kadiah – Believe
  7. Kaia Tamm – Wo sind die Katzen?
  8. Kerli Kivilaan – Cold Love
  9. Grete Paia – Kui isegi kaotan
  10. Lacy Jay – Halleluja
  11. Around The Sun – Follow Me Back
  12. Uku Suviste – Pretty Little Liar

Final – February 16th

  • The Swingers – High Heels in the Neighbourhood
  • xtra basic & Emily J – Hold Me Close
  • Stefan – Without You
  • Sandra Nurmsalu – Soovide puu
  • Victor Crone – Storm
  • Inger – Coming Home
  • Synne Valtri – I’ll Do It My Way
  • Lumevärv ft. INGA – Milline päev
  • Sissi – Strong
  • Kadiah – Believe
  • Kerli Kivilaan – Cold Love
  • Uku Suviste – Pretty Little Liar


To my ears, Victor Crone and Uku Suviste have the most accessible songs, but Krone’s sounds like a 3rd-4th place at Dansk Melodi Grand Prix, which is the goto analogoy when a song sounds deliberately Scandi and somewhat short of delivering the goods at Eurovision. It just so happens that DMGP is packed with these types of song.

Betfair should have a market posted shortly with the likes of William Hill and Unibet offering odds closer to the event.

About Gavster

ESCtips Owner   I’m a qualified designer and dedicate a lot of my free time to keeping the ESCtips show on the road. My family routes allow me to support the UK, Ireland and Italy.


  1. Thanks Gav for getting things underway with what is a very interesting EL.Most years the likely 2 contenders and then one dark horse are pretty easy to work out for people who follow the Estonian music and TV scene.This year however it looks wide open with lots of booby traps placed among the acts and caution is needed for betting.
    There are a few big televote hitters among the 24 who would probably win a super final,but the road to that last 3 looks harder than usual.There are also several acts likely to be hyped due to connections and the bookies and market will probably miss price those too short.Some of them are poor live and will need a real top song to get close.
    Last,but not least we have a few very strong teams mixed in among the acts who have the artist/writer/producer to compete if the song is good enough.
    This EL looks more mainstream than most and while that might make purists turn their noses up it likely means the best song has less chance of been turned over by peoples 2nd preference safe song/artist.Best not to give too much away until we get some markets.

  2. As you all know, I’m no expert, but if I were looking to win Eesti Laul, I wouldn’t (a) call my song “Where Are The Cats” or (b) sing it in German.

  3. Ok as the songs are out tomorrow il take a stab at the main challengers from the teams and the make up of the semi’s.

    Winner, Sandra Nurmsalu
    Sandra has a good team this time and is up against mostly generic amateur’s or generic decent.Winning in Estonian will be hard,but if anyone can do it she can.She is world class,nobody else is close in talent.Hopefully she avoided a sax that put the jury off last time.Key is can she get the televote onside with what will likely be a complicated melody?.
    Grete Paia,
    Quality team who know how to win an EL and she has matured.Likely her talent will ensure she does well from the generic side.Needs a more natural staging.Likely a radio song that will help too.
    Victor Crone,
    Great team who will polish him right.Likely another radio song as well that could snatch a super final win if he can get there in the first place.
    The Swingers.
    Birgit and Tanja both very strong.Tanja brings the Russian vote.Downside is they never look tight and come across a bit Butlins.Dangerous if they get things right,but likely bridesmaids rather than bride and the jury might keep them down.
    Dark horse if the jury dont manage to keep her out of the final or the super final, Synne Valtri.She has a huge fan base in Estonia,but on her own its likely her song will be too kitsch to win.I would be scrambling to cover her if she did make the super final though.

    For anyone else to win they will need a really strong song and performance.We will have to wait until tomorrow to see on the song side.

  4. Gav, having just listened to them all, to my ears as well, Victor Crone is the Eurovision song. My personal favourite on first listen was Lacy Jay, but she looks too damn quirky.

    • Catriona colville

      I agree with Victor, but I also think Sandra has a powerful entry, and with a slight revamp, Birgit/Tanja could be very good. Lacy Jay seems to lack a hook, and the religious-oriented lyrics are questionable.

  5. Pretty much as expected.Victor has the radio song that is designed to get the jury votes as well.Its poor of course underneath.Sandra can win easily,or fail to even qualify.Its all down to staging and if they make a few slight changes to the melody and structure.Grete and Birgit/Tanya as well come down to delivery.
    Johanna Eendra has a very nice song.My worry is her lack of experience,but looking forward to seeing how she performs.
    Its not a fantastic EL,but it does at least offer the chance for someone to come and win it.

  6. Running order:

    1. The Swingers, Tanja & Birgit – “High Heels In The Neighbourhood”
    2. Marko Kaar – “Smile”
    3. xtra basic & Emily J – “Hold Me Close”
    4. Johanna Eendra – “Miks sa teed nii?”
    5. STEFAN – “Without You”
    6. Sandra Nurmsalu – “Soovide puu”
    7. Jennifer Cohen – Little Baby El
    8. SOFIA RUBINA (ft. JANIKA TENN) – Deep Water
    9. ÖED – Öhuloss
    10. Victor Crone – Storm
    11. Ranele – Supernova
    12. INGER – Coming Home


    1. Synne Valtri – “I’ll Do It My Way”
    2. Iseloomad – “Kaks miinust”
    3. Lumevärv ft. INGA – “Milline päev”
    4. Sissi – “Strong”
    5. Cätlin Mägi & Jaan Pehk – “Parmumäng”
    6. Kadiah – “Believe”
    7. Kaia Tamm – “Wo sind die Katzen?”
    8. Kerli Kivilaan – “Cold Love”
    9. Grete Paia – “Kui isegi kaotan”
    10. Lacy Jay – “Halleluja”
    11. Around The Sun – “Follow Me Back”
    12. Uku Suviste – “Pretty Little Liar”

    • INGER getting the pimp slot is interesting as there is a lot of interest in Estonia and was the most searched term on the ERR website.If i was able to get on with Coolbet id probably take the 6.5 to win the semi and cover my stake on the 2.0s for top 3 and hope it stages ok.Sandra isnt getting much love in Estonia and will really need to turn up with good staging or struggle.One set of stats iv always used for EL over the years you have needed to be in the top 3 to 4 and nobody is showing yet.Interesting to see if that changes after the semis.

      • Having just watched the Semi, – Victor Crone stood out a mile in terms of song and professionalism of staging. However, I agree that Inger is a threat – you can just imagine grandmas everywhere reaching for their phones. (God, he looks like he hasn’t even started shaving yet). As for the rest – not a hope.

        • It’s weird because I liked the studio version of Storm, yet I thought the vocals were lacking clarity and the presentation wasn’t deserving of the odds-on price.

          I also wonder how Estonian’s take to voting for Swede.

          • General reaction online seems pretty positive, haven’t seen much grumbling about him being a foreigner.. I’d be surprised if he’s not in the superfinal. Whether he’ll win it all is hard to say tho’.

          • Victor was very lacking live.Its a poor EL this year so he might win,but Uku and Grete will serve it up to him in the next semi i expect.Uku with the backing of Ani Lorak on the team might have the firepower to take this in the end.

        • Inger probably hasn’t started shaving yet because she’s actually a woman. 🙂

          • Inger a woman?!!!. Squirrel, I’ll never believe that. Next you’ll be trying to convince me that Bilal Hassani is really a bloke.

  7. First semi i think top 3 Inger,Sandra,Victor Crone,others to qualify The Swingers,Stefan and OED.

    I think Inger might win the semi and be challenging the final win with Uku Suviste,but see how the first lot stage tonight.

  8. Having just watched Semi 2, if 11 of the 12 acts didn’t make it to the final they wouldn’t have any cause for complaint. Grete was a big disappointment vocally. Only Uke really delivered, although he was only effectively on stage for two minutes (what were they thinking of).

    It the Superfinal is between anyone other than Victor, Inger and Uke I’d be really surprised.

    • Yes thats the super final i expect,unless something can improve the staging by a long way for the final.Uku should really win it from Inger.Victor would be a very poor choice.My stats arent picking up anything,nobody is showing in them and thats never happened before.Usually the winner and 2nd would both be showing top 5 in my stats.Interesting to see if that changes after the semi’s,but i think it shows Estonian’s dont really like any of the songs.Who can blame them.

  9. The only act my stats are picking up is Lumevarv ft INGA ,just on the final day though she hit no1 on things i follow.Interesting to see if she does ok with the televote.

    • I’ve just watched the final and I have to admit to being rather bored. I can’t say based on song quality and performance that I expect Lumevarv ft INGA will be up there in the mix but it will be interesting to see. I’ve always thought Victor had the strongest song for ESC but I’m losing confidence. Do you think slot three tells us what the producers think of his chances?

      • Yes very poor set of songs,Inga got 2nd in the jury vote,but missed the super final,interesting to see if Estonians will go for a Swede or one of their own in the super final.Its been a none event betting wise this year.

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