Warning; Contains Opinions. please try to not be offended. 

Note: this is part 4 of a four part review series. We recommend that you start by reading part 1, which can be accessed here:

With the 2024 season well underway, time has now come to slice into another group of Eurovision hopefuls. Eesti Laul has a new head of delegation and new format, and we definitely do not want to miss out on providing our usual mix of constructive criticism and cathartic rants. Did the new HoD deliver more on her first run than Tomi Rahula did, or is Estonia back to square one?

Thus, twenty write-ups by five our editors, each with differing views, morals and weights. Who is going to emerge as our favourite and which are out five qualifiers for the upcoming semifinal on Saturday? Let’s race!

On Estonia’s review panel we find:

  • Representing Angry Logic, it’s Boris Meersman!
  • Representing Clueless Heterosexuals, it’s David Popescu!
  • Representing Socially Drunk Guncles, it’s James Maude!
  • Representing Unrelentless Positivity, it’s Jasmin Prišć!
  • Representing the Five Stages of Grief, it’s Tyler Griffith!
  • Representing Unassuming Young Fans, it’s Yehonatan Cohen!

Today we will be reviewing these five hopefuls:

ltr: Brother Apollo, Carlos Ukareda, Daniel Levi, Nele-Liis Vaiksoo and Uudo Sepp & Sarah Murray. None of images use for our graphics are owned by us, and are credited to the artists depicted.

Each ranker has provided a score between 0 and 10 to the twenty hopefuls, unaware of what the others have written and scored. All the information we currently know (studio cuts, interviews, live performances outside of EL) can be taken into account for reviews, but be aware that opinions may change or age poorly based on what happens during the Semifinal on 20 January, and Grand Final on 17 February.

But before we begin, the usual disclaimer so we don’t get blacklisted:

Opinons stated below only reflect the views of the editor, and not of ESCUnited as a whole, nor those of our benevolent overlord Matt. You may direct your grievances at the editor responsible for vertical classification. Each reviewer is also aware that their opinions will be made public so if you’re one of these five reviewed artists and you meet the editor that eviscerated you, feel free to trash them back. They knew the risks. ^_^

Today we have reached the climax of our reviews, as we will be taking one final look at the five acts that have already placed themselves for the finale? Who are these acts? What are they bringing to the table? And do they deserve to be there? Well the answer to that question is probably “no”, but let’s delve into why that is, starting with:



Boris – 1.5 – “And so we rate the (sigh) autoqualifiers. To get this out of the way first, um why are these five the autoqualifiers? Were they picked through a raffle? Did one of the selection commitee vote in reverse? Take this discount store Dark Side for instance. It’s an awful piece of cringe, innit? I’m sure most of us think that? The attempted “Attitude” reeks more of Pervert by Nerf Herder than of anything resembling badassery, and you half expect Brother Apollo to fake us out with “GOTCHA! I’M A REDDIT MODERATOR, I NEVER LEFT MY MOM’S BASEMENT!!!”at the end. Maybe the cringe is the point and Brother Apollo are merely self-aware and ironic about their loserdom. But hey, that ain’t nothing a bit of grow-the-f-up can’t fix.”

David –  2 – “If someone told me this was a disastrous mesh-up, I’d believe that. You have soft and a VERY light voice, to some of the most harsh and hardcore music… who thought that was a good idea? Even the lyrics are ultra soft and pitiful. The music is absolutely awesome and on point, but lyrically and vocally… to this music? Dreadful!”

James – 8 –  “In the late ‘90s, MTV’s Total Request Live used to feature daily battles for its Number 1 song spot between two basic groups: Nu-metal such as Korn, and pop boy bands such as Backstreet Boys. Brother Apollo have decided to jam those two together to make a somewhat humorous pop rock entry of the “Blood and Glitter” variety. Apart from a largely repetitive chorus, “Bad Boy” succeeds as an ironic anthem of sorts for metalheads who love pop (or vice versa). It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but should also earn points for not being too over the top either. It makes its points with catchy hooks that should ensnare fish of the metal and pop varieties.”

Jasmin – 6 –  “The pre-chorus seems a bit out of place for what I expected to be a pure rock entry. The melody of the chorus has the needed energy but the chorus lacks “lyrics”. The vocal in the bridge is a bit more aggressive which I like much more compared to the lighter vocal in the rest of the song.”

Tyler – 4.5 – “One of the most boring rock songs that I can think of, and watching the music video that came with “Bad boy” didn’t endear me to the song either. I’m just bored of the notion of the “bad boy” and the song feels like it’s trying way too hard to send the message that the group is a danger to their lover’s parents when they still use lyrics about Bonnie and Clyde, enough already! It tries too hard. I’m annoyed that this is an automatic qualifier.”

Yehonatan – 9.5 – “Yes yes a thousand times yes! I can’t stop talking about how great this song is. The dissonace of the acting of a ‘“bad boy” by the singer to the playful melodies that sound like video games is just fantastic, it’s catchy as hell, and most importantly it’s being funny without laughing at your intelligence. I wonder how they will the excute those ideas on a live performance but I have very high hopes.”

Total Score:
Highest Rating: 9.5 (Yehonatan)
Lowest Rating:
1.5 (Boris)
Amount of 1s handed out by David: 7
Final Mark: C

Listen to “Bad Boy” below:

Agree with our editors? Let us know in the comments how #YOU would rate this entry.


Boris – 2 – “My oh my, is this Stig Rästa in a Matt Rife cosplay I see, preying on insecure women with shitty Sheeran knock-offs? Sometimes you’ve got to stick with your first gut instincts and my gut groaned at this. How does anyone tolerate this sort of whiny immature smarm? Is the popularity of these crappy songs TRULY a case of “omg Carlos is a seven out of ten and he likes his girl for who she is, maybe I won’t die lonely after all. :eats an entire tub of häagen-dazs:THIS IS HOW MON ALLIÉES HAPPEN, YALL. Ladies, you are NOT ugly, you are smart and talented and possess abilities that make the world better. LOVE YOURSELVES. But don’t forget to hate on “Never growing up” because that song is piss and you deserve better, okay?”

David – 3 – “It’s cute, the song has a story, a message and it sounds like it’s all as it’s supposed to be. As in, the song aimed for a certain style, and it delivered. However, it’s just not for me, lovely voice, nice overall delivery, but the song is just not for me. It eventually drags out, and interest is long lost before the end.”

James – 3 – “This entry has all the charm of a wet sock left on the radiator. “Never Growing Up” has a weird way of handling immaturity of two people in a relationship – by whining incessantly and going in circles instead of doing something about it. Carlos’s protagonist is DTF and down to complain about it non-stop as well. All this over a boiler plate acoustic pop track that is as tedious as the themes Carlos drones on about.”

Jasmin – 5.5 – “The production of this song seems rather simple. It builds from verse to verse and finally it reaches the climax in the final chorus that is preceded by the quiet bridge to create the contrast. In my opinion this track lacks originality. While there is nothing wrong with it, I don’t see it being competitive enough to stand out among other entries.”

Tyler – 4 – “The vocals for “Never Growing Up” seem to be both good and slightly whiny to me, and I’m just not a fan of this sorry. This song is just not for me. If the staging for this song is just going to be standing on stage with a guitar, I’m gonna lose it. This song is solidly mid, and I’m annoyed that this is an automatic qualifier.”

Yehonatan – 4.5 – “This is a great example that song lyrics sometimes shouldn’t be in English. If I didn’t know what the song was saying, I’d be into it overall. It’s very chilled out, with great harmonies and pop-rock guitars. But those lyrics, *those* lyrics, are hard to ignore, and it drags the song down a lot. However, it still has some character which puts it above many things in other national finals this season.”

Total Score:
Highest Rating: 5.5 (Jasmin)
Lowest Rating:
2 (Boris)
Amount of 1s handed out by David: 7
Final Mark: F

Listen to “Never Growing Up” below:

Agree with our editors? Let us know in the comments how #YOU would rate this entry.

Boris – 7 – “DANIEL LEVI, YOU F*CKING TRAITOR.  You deliver one of my favourite EL songs in Burning Lights and then become an autoqualifer with a song by Victor Crone and it’s a lowtempo ballad???! Obviously, I understand why Daniel pivoted out of dreamy softrock into slow piano ballads – basic arse genre that is really easy to sing so no voice cracks this time around. But as much as a cop-out as Over The Moon is musically, it is also the only automatic finalist that deserves to be there. There’s definitely some finesse here: Clever poetic lyrics that build into an immersive experience, like a welterweight Victoria track with Da­ði theming or like that song Chérine sang about her deceased father.  But as you can read from this review, I’m not quite hungry for a song of this calibre regardless of who and what and why. It not without some charm, but only a convincing live performance can elevate an “Over the Moon” into greatness.”

David – 3 – ” I’m unsatisfied with this song, since it feels and REALLY sounds like a grand moment is imminent, but it somehow never happens. It’s alright and fine, but I’m just expecting more, both vocally and musically, but no. I’m just left bothered, since I feel like something is missing and never properly delivered.”

James – 9 – “I saw Daniel’s name and I thought, “hey! Is the son from Schitt’s Creek entering Eesti Laul?” And then I heard a Shannon Hoon look-and-sound-alike launch into a tender ballad about fatherhood, and I was hooked. It’s rare to hear a song about fatherhood, let alone one from a position of a father trying to figure it out and try to reassure his kids at the same time. In a year where snarkiness dominates and hollow novelty is rewarded, it is refreshing to hear an earnest and sweet piano ballad sung with gusto.”

Jasmin – 7 – “A typical piano ballad with a soft pleasant male vocal. I appreciate the lyrics and I feel the emotion Daniel is trying to convey and I hope he can translate that in his live performance. I’d prefer it if the song was in Estonian tho. The song ends a bit unexpectedly. I feel it needs one more chorus to achieve its full impact.”

Tyler – 4.5 – “I guess the ending of the music video was cute, but I’m not a fan of this sorry! “Over the Moon” feels too short and also takes way too long to capture my attention and the song falls into the category of “I Can Sing Well, Can’t You Tell?” with its vocal exercises. Maybe the live performance will change my mind, but I’m annoyed that this is an automatic qualifier.”

Yehonatan – 7 – “A very solid ballad that sounds like it got pulled straight out of Switzerland’s basement. It ticks all the boxes, gentle delivery on a modern production, cheesy metaphors in the lyrics that make a great song title, and an emotional music video. Not bad at all, I just wish it did something more unique.”

Total Score:
Highest Rating: 9( James)
Lowest Rating:
3 (David)
Lowest non-David Rating: 4.5 (Tyler)
Amount of 1s handed out by David: 7
Final Mark: B

Listen to “Over the Moon” here:

Agree with our editors? Let us know in the comments how #YOU would rate this entry.

Boris – 4 – “One of the songs of all time. Not sure why “Käte ümber jää” is a finalist? Nele-Liis uses her ethereal vocals to whip up ~a mystical atmosphere~ but she doesn’t do anything interesting with it. “Käte ümber jää” is not immersive enough to really merit multiple listens or be deemed competitive. Maybe the new HoD knows something we do not? Or maybe the new HoD just doesn’t know what the f she’s doing, maybe just that.”

David – 2 – “I’m not feeling anything here, I’m sensing that I should, especially for the sound the song is aiming for, but there’s just nothing. I mean, the composition is okay as it is, just doesn’t really developing overall. Vocally… it’s alright, but I feel this is for the Estonian people, and not for an international audience. I’m not even bothered looking up the translation.”

James – 6 – “I’m not too sure about the colors used in the music video. With the browns dominating, it looks like Nele-Liis is throwing a photograph in a sewage treatment pond rather than a river. But I digress. Mostly because I have to with a piano ballad that I largely shrug at. It’s fine. But I don’t see this getting anywhere in Malmo unless the staging is spectacular. And brown on snow is not going to cut it.”

Jasmin – 8.5 – ” I enjoy the melody of the piano at the beginning of the song. A big plus that the song is not in English. I’m usually a fan of power ballads and this one gives me what I seek in one – a nice melody, gradual build-up until the final climax with powerful vocals. Definitely one of my favorites of this selection”

Tyler – 5 – This is fine, I guess? The vocals were too quiet in the sound mixing to make an impact for me, but I did like the sweeping instrumention that was a part of the song. Nele-Liis’s vocals are good, but that’s pretty much it? The song felt like 3 minutes of fluff and I’m just annoyed that this is an automatic qualifier. I needed more to really care about this entry and I just feel like “meh, but good job I guess”.

Yehonatan – 7 – “Nele-Liis has such a tender voice that works perfectly with this soft piano ballad. It builds well, and feels very climactic. It’s not the most innovative song on the selection but it’s still very well executed to make up for it.”

Listen to “Käte ümber jää” below:

Total Score:
Highest Rating: 8.5 (Jasmin)
Lowest Rating:
2 (David)
Lowest non-David Rating: 4 (Boris)
Amount of 1s handed out by David: 7
Final Mark: C

Agree with our editors? Let us know in the comments how #YOU would rate this entry.

Boris – 1 – “*GROAN*. “Still Love” is a chord-for-chord carbon copy of Castle On The Hill… except it’s a duet!!!! I’m not wasting my time on this. Its existence, as a song, let alone as a FINALIST, is an insult to everyone.”

David – 2 – “There you go, your good old CLICHÈ love song, and yes, with all capital letters even. Sing about your stories and memories… I mean, that’s all I caught while listening and while I still had a small sense of caring. Come on, if I don’t care for the song, then what’s the point. I guess it’s alright, but I’m just not into this style… as in, at all.”

James – 2 – “My inner Katy Perry on American Idol bursts out into rant hearing the vocal styles of these two, where every syllable is glottally mangled (e.g. stars becomes stay-arr-arrs, dies becomes dye-ur-eys). This style makes my piss boil, and to hear a duet of it… yikes, they have made a kettle out of my nether regions. This mawkish romantic ballad is unpleasant to listen to, and I wish one of the satellites they mistake for stars crashes on their stage.”

Jasmin – 5.5 – “In my opinion, the voices don’t blend together at all. I prefer bits where they sing individually. The build-up saves it later on as it feels more powerful. It’s another duet love song from the radio that we have heard many times before. ”

Tyler – 4 – “The duet entry in Eesti Laul that I don’t care about, hurray! Uudo and Sarah sound nice, I guess, but I don’t care for the lyrics (especially with the notion of high school sweethearts equals true love). I guess the vocals are fine and I’m sure they’ll both give a good performance in the final (I’m so annoyed that this is an automatic qualifier), but this isn’t my thing so a 4/10 it gets!”

Yehonatan – 6.5 – “I know I’m talk a lot about how corny lyrics ruin songs, but every rule has its exception. While this is cheesy, it is so excessively cheesy it passed to the realm of camp which made it funny for me. After a few listens, I started to unironically like the song, which I did not expect.”

Total Score:
Highest Rating: 6.5 (Yehonatan)
Lowest Rating:
1 (Boris)
Amount of 1s handed out by David: 7
Final Mark: C


Agree with our editors? Let us know in the comments how #YOU would rate this entry.

And there you have it. All 20 Eesi Laul songs, rated, ranked and ranted about. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as we enjoyed writing it. But we’re not done yet, as we have some statistics left to share.

The Ranking

As it turns out, the automatic finalists were not quite enjoyed by our ravenous reviewers. The one exception to the rule, Daniel Levi’s “Over the Moon” managed to amass a decent average of 63%, entering the ranking in 6th place. Nele-Liis Vaiksoo, the only female finalist and the only finalist to sing in Estonian earns a spot in the middle of our leaderboard, at 11h place, right ahead of Brother Apollo who win the tiebreaker against INGA on the back of Yehonatan’s 9.5. The other two finalists, Carlos Ukareda and Uudo Sepp ja Sarah Murray failed to impress, landing in the bottom three besides Ingmar.

  1. 🥇Cecilia – “FOMO” (70%)
  2. 🥈Ollie – “My friend” (69%, two 9s)
  3. 🥉5Miinust & Puuluup – “(nendest) narkootikumidest ei tea me (küll) midagi” (69%, one 9)
  4. 🏅Anet Vaikmaa – “Serotoniin” (68%)
  5. 🏅Antsud – “Vetevaim” (65%)
  6. Daniel Levi – “Over the Moon” (63%)
  7. Traffic – “Wunderbar” (60%)
  8. Peter Põder – “Korra veel” (59%)
  9. Cartoon ft Ewert Sundja – “Oblivion” (58%)
  10. Ewert and the Two Dragons – “Hold me now” (57%)
  11. Nele-Liis – “Käte ümber jää” (54%)
  12. Brother Apollo – “Bad Boy” (53%) (highest: 9.5)
  13. INGA – “No dog on a leash” (53%) (highest: 7)
  14. Sofia Rubina – “Be good” (51%) (highest: 7)
  15. Yonna – “I don’t know about you” (51%) (highest: 6.5)
  16. Silver Jusilo – “Lately” (44%)
  17. Laura – “Here’s where I draw the line” (43%)
  18. Carlos Ukareda – “Never growing up” (37%) 
  19. Uudo Sepp & Sarah Muuray – “Still love” (35%) (highest: 6.5)
  20. INGMAR – “Dreaming” (35%) (highest: 6)

As you can see the top five from the last update remains unchanged, resulting in a photo-finish with Cecilia in first, followed by Ollie and 5Miinust & Puuluup. Anet Vaikmaa and Antsud round out our top five.

Voting Chart:

Below you have an overview of how each of our editors participating in this round of reviews has voted. Here is the full voting chart in all of her glory:


As it turns out, our new contributor Jasmin enjoyed EL2024 the most with an average score of 66%. James and Yehonatan also liked what the Estonians had on offer, with high averages (63% and 62% respectively). Tyler’s middling scores and Boris’s bipolar scores give them averages around the 50% mark (at 53% and 51%) respectively. Bringing up the rear is David, who really did not enjoy himself today.


To confirm Eurovision.tv’s notion that Elina Born is an Eesti Laul legend, we’ve created and IN or OUT chart to commemorate her. As we’ve established in part 3, our editors have chosen five finalists out of the 15 hopefuls that will perform in tonight’s semifinal. But if we had been fully in charge of EL without changing its format, how different would out line-up be? Well, let’s find out.

Below, we have our previous In or Out chart, now with a special section for the top five of our editor poll: Cecilia, Ollie, 5Miinust/Puulup, Anet and Antsud would have been our automatic finalists under the current format. If we also had our say about the semfinalist qualifiers, then we would have put Daniel Levi, Traffic, Peter Põder and both Ewert Sundja songs IN.

Here you see a visualization of TeamUnited’s  ~ideal~ Eesti Laul 2024

and so the review series for EL2024 comes to an end. A decent selection overall, many tracks that won’t leave you cold, for better or for worse, but somewhat marred by the automatic qualifier twist. WILL ANY of our predictions and write-ups hold up? Tune in at 18:15 tonight to watch the Semifinal.

Other parts of this review series can be accessed below:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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