With Eesti Laul continuing with the second semi-final tonight, it’s time we saw what our team thought of the remaining dozen in the Estonian song contest. What did Boris, Daniel, David, James and Zack make of these songs?

Viinerid – Kapa Kohi-LA

Boris – 0 – “No.”

Daniel – 3 – “Ummmmmm… I mean….. I guess we really appreciate the musical diversity this song adds to the contest. I will not lie I do really like the instrumentation in the chorus, like really like. Other than that I am more lukewarm, and the singing sausages did not really help me in my perception. I guess I just hope they use that awesome beat from the chorus as their recap and hope people do not mind the ridiculousness.”

David – 0 – “Garbage! What the hell did I make myself listen to?!”

James – 1 – “I actually would love it if this song wins Eesti Laul 2020 as there has been so much joyless faux-sincere indie garbage this year. And for better or for worse, this one by a group called “Vienna Sausage” stands out. I would love it, but I can’t really. I can’t in all reality call for Estonia to burn all of its songs, no matter how dreary and navel-gazingly self-indulgent, and endorse a song that makes Dustin the Turkey’s entry for Ireland sound like “Hold Me Now.” There’s novelty, and then there’s bodily output that looks like Vienna sausages. This one’s the latter.”

Zack – 1 – “This is why rap doesn’t do well at Eurovision. There is no opportunity to build a connection with the audience.”

Total = 5 (avg. 1)

Janet – Hingelind

Boris – 7 – “Much how INGA charmed us last year with her plucky charm and adorable dork dancing, Janet charms me with pointless arm flailing and permafrosted smile! Unfortunately, “Milline päev” was a significantly better song than “Hingelind” is…”

Daniel – 7 – “I will say this song has one of my favorite builds of the national final, I was literally shuddering in anticipation. Do I feel like the chorus does justice to the song? Yes and no. It is a great and uplifting song that seems to be exclaiming her joie de vivre but I do feel there is a slight mismatch between the first part of the song and then the second part of the song. Regardless, I thought the song was great for what it showed and did give us a bop in the Estonian language.”

David – 5 – “It’s an adorable little song, there’s something about it that makes me smile a little. I enjoy the chorus with it’s more upbeat sound, compared to the beginning of the song, in which it starts very slowly. I just think it takes too long to start up and when it finally builds up, it just ends. The song could’ve composed a bit differently for my taste.”

James – 6 – “This would make a decent Junior Eurovision entry. This is not a slight on Janet. She is a decent singer and the song is pleasant, if a little on the pedestrian side. Considering some awful indie has cropped up in this year’s selection, I rather enjoy a mid-tempo pop song such as this.”

Zack – 7 – “Kind of digging the verses and chorus.  It feels current and familiar but that chorus drop is a bit unexpected, but not in a weird “Icebreaker” kind of way.”

Total = 32 (avg. 6.4)

Uku Suviste – What Love Is

Boris – 3 – “Oh god. Is love supposed to be boring and unexciting because this song does it’s best to make these points. My expectations of Uku Suviste weren’t high going in, but this song is the type of generic pop noise you instantly forget about the second it ends. Besides the sonic prosopagnosia caused by this overproduced musical mediocrity, it also lacks the overdramatic doofus panache of Uku’s previous entries, which were the main draws to Uku anyway. GET IT TOGETHER MAN!”

Daniel – 9 – “Look who is back! This might be an unpopular opinion but I actually feel that this time he delivers a song that is more soulful and dynamic. I really love the build of the song and those backing strings. I am still a bit unsure of how I feel about the chorus, it seems like a lot of words for the allotted time. I mean this song hits all the check marks in terms what a good Eurovision pop-ballad should have: talks about love, build-up with strings, chorus happens three times, hold the note extra-long. I really like this song, even with its formulaic set-up.”

David – 9 – “This is feelings! Incredible vocal performance with some powerful lyrics. The piano really takes some time to shine within the song, but everything just explodes into an overall powerful song. At this point, I feel though that the studio version is a bit underwhelming, but if this can be done on the live stage… Then I’ll be damned!”

James – 7 – “This is much better than his dreadful “Pretty Little Liar” from last year. The instrumentation is a nice fit with the lyrics about a despondent man whose life finds purpose when he meets the love of his life. His entry last year felt bitter, small and cheap, but with Sharon Vaughan and Dimitri Kontopolous as co-writer and producer, respectively, Suviste clearly feels he’s ready for a push into the big leagues, and he’s largely achieved it here with this lush, extravagant number.”

Zack – 6 – “Classic Eastern European pop dirge about love. This is right up the Eurovision alley. Whether that’s an alley you want to walk down…that’s another story.”

Total = 34 (avg. 6.8)

Inger – Only Dream

Boris – 5 – “God what a dreadful title. Anyway, INGER always seemed like a marmite-type of contestant to me, but I never really cared either way. She’s boring to me. For the second year in a row. The Ed Sheeran noise is a safe ho-hum noise and should we really let Inger Friedkin get away with this just because she has breasts and estrogen? I don’t think so.”

Daniel – 5 – “This is the feelgood song that we all need when we are feeling down. Watching the video made me get all sort of feels. Nevertheless the song seems a bit vanilla for my taste. That is not to say that this bubbly, indie sound would not do well, because it totally can. This is just not screaming winner to me but I appreciate the message and the delivery for what it is worth.”

David – 2 – “Sweet little sing-along song, which I don’t have the patience for. These kind of songs are just nice and very innocent for a short time, but will easily become forgettable. I’m lacking a proper hook that can capture my interest, so not much to say overall.”

James – 2 – “Another crap indie song with mangled multi-syllabic pronunciations of single syllable words. I hate to use the descriptor “crap” so flippantly, but I just don’t like the dead behind the eyes emotionless peanut butter on the roof on the singer’s mouth delivery creeping into Eurovision.”

Zack – 6 – “A good jingle for a commercial, but not the best fit for Eurovision. But I do think it’s a pretty good chorus that serves as a good build-up from the verses.”

Total = 20 (avg. 4)

Merilin Mälk – Miljon sammu

Boris – 7 – “Everyone has their kryptonite and mine is upbeat midtempo electropop! I only give ‘7’ because ‘Miljon sammu’ is guilty of the same issues that are plagueing Eesti Laul: every song just blends together in a wash of unmemorable, non-qualifier noise.”

Daniel – 4 – “A perfectly good song. It did not make me feel anything out of this world but it also did not make me feel super excited to watch it at Eesti Laul. Yeah, it is a sweet song with a nice beat that is sung well. Brownie points for being in Estonian but other than that I honestly cannot say that this song was impactful among the different songs.”

David – 2 – “We all know that the contest normally gets a large number of pop songs every year, so here we have another regular pop song in the mix. I fail to see what’s so interesting about this song, I’m left quite bored and uninterested throughout the duration of the entire song.”

James – 6 – “Egert has Georgia on his mind, but evidently Merilin has Dubai on hers. That being said, this is not a half-bad slower pop song. The problem is that it does not stand out too much, that there is not much of a hook to hang your hat on.”

Zack – 7 – “Feels very Top 40 and current. I’m surprised that I actually like this as much as I do. I do have to say that with songs like this, my default fear is great in the studio, horrible live.”

Total = 26 (avg. 5.2)

German & Violina – Heart Winder

Boris – 9 – “Oh god, this song is toe-tappingly good. Perhaps it’s because this was the last song I listened to when compiling this list, but there is not a single song in this selection that gave me this much pure unfiltered happiness. The Violina + German combo SPARKLES, and even though he is a preciously inexperienced lithping gay who will 100% Carl-Phillip himself into oblivion during the live shows, the joy they spread is more infectious than chlamydia. EASILY my favourite in this NF so far.”

Daniel – 7 – “The intro had me so excited and then it takes a slight left turn. This is just to say that I think that the music instrumentation is superb and involves a variety of musical influence from Celtic folksy to Spanish guitar to Scandinavian production quality. I do think the lyrics and, to some extent, the singer do not seem mature enough to really have the song stand as strongly. I will say that just as an arrangement itself, this song deserves to be in the final of Eesti Laul.”

David – 2 – “This song has a higher chance of being successful without the singing, what is even a “heart winder”? Would baby girl even know that? The song is so happy and joyful, but the lyrics kinda sounds like that a “heart winder” is a bad thing, and even including “Holla holla baby” in the lyrics… I’m going to bang my head against the wall until I forget that part.”

James – 7 – “Hahaha, what in the hell is this? That’s all I got to say about this camp song. It’s fun and a little over the top with its Latin masculine overtones from a singer who makes Enrique Iglesias come off looking like Kurt Russell. It also comes off like an adult version of the Beador kids’s “Heartbreaker” from the Real Housewives of Orange County. But with violins. I like that this is fun, trying to be sexy, even if I don’t 100% buy the package and the heart winder is a very clunky metaphor.”

Zack – 4 – “Overly corny. It may be someone else’s cup of tea and could have been mine if it were simply the instrumental.”

Total = 29 (avg. 5.8)

Jaagup Tuisk – Beautiful Lie

Boris – 8 – “Ho, okay, this song. Listen, this composition borrows a lot of ideas from “Arcade”, especially its general vibe. I also think this composition is more interesting than “Arcade”. However, while “Beautiful lie” may be slightly better than “Arcade” it’s not a wide *enough* margin to warrant its existance so close to the original. Regardless, this is the song I am supporting. Yes, Jaagup is a walking loaf of crustless bread and this world doesn’t need more Callum Scotts but this is Eesti Laul 2020 and he’s their only viable qualifier. Fingers crossed he doesn’t pull a Pootsmann and turn into an antropomorphic rake when placed in front of a mic.”

Daniel – 10 – “When that heart beat began I was like this song is going to be something special, and I was not wrong. This song is romantic, dramatic, theatrical and synthesized, I mean what else could you want. It has the traditional elements of a power ballad with an inverted formula that makes the song more of a performance than a simple song. While I am very excited to see how to deliver this at Eesti Laul, I am cognizant that there are certain modification necessary to fit into the national final. Nevertheless, the song was captivating and absolutely enthralling by all measures.”

David – 3 – “All I could think of, was “Arcade”. Same build up, similar lyrics, same emotions, this is pretty much a new version of “Arcade”… and I’m not accepting it. Entries at Eurovision that reminds of last years winner, has very often been butchered at the competition, and this one doesn’t hit my feelings at all or even close, just like “Arcade” did. This song tries to be different, but it has just avoided everything that could’ve made it good.”

James – 1 – “This is a terrible “Arcade” inspired song. Yeah, I know people are getting upset that this is being called an “Arcade” knock-off, but there is truth to that accusation at least in the essence of this sonic turd and the pallid replication of some of “Arcade’s” production techniques and even visuals in the video. This song tries so hard to replicate the raw emotion of “Arcade” but flops so hard. But unlike “Arcade,” which builds towards a finale, this song goes nowhere and ends with a down tempo wet fart. And “fight” is a one syllable word, you divot! I am still struggling to articulate why this song makes me so mad, but it does. I just really, really hate this joyless, cynical dirge.”

Zack – 6 – “If Estonia wants to be this year’s country that blatantly rips off last year’s winner, then they should go with this song.  I mean it works for Eurovision, but it’s way too similar to the feel of Arcade let alone does it match up to it.”

Total = 28 (avg. 5.6)

Ziggy Wild – Lean on Me

Boris – 9 – “When we’re dead in the Middle-of-the-Road zone, I will never say no to a free energy spike courtesy of a female-fronted rock & roll anthem. Well done, Laura Priits.”

Daniel – 3 – “I know the word outdated usually gets thrown around for songs that seem fit better in the 2000s or even 1990s but this is ridiculous. This song, sadly enough, sounds like a little melody form the long-haired, bandana-wearing rock bands of Middle America during the 1980s. It most certainly adds to the musical variety this year but it really has not sold me a strong contender to even qualify, let alone represent Estonia in Eurovision.”

David – 0 – “Oh dear… please stay back in your time.”

James – 5 – “Rock ‘n rollers causing trouble, born to be free, ’69 Mustang, denim jackets… you know the tropes. Unfortunately, at the bridge Ziggy Wild takes their foot off the gas and the song sputters to a close when they should have floored it and hit the two minute mark with a scorching guitar solo. I want more of this sort of hard rock at Eurovision, but “Lean on Me” is too pedestrian to leave an impact.”

Zack – 7 – “Good verses. Pretty cringey chorus. The middle 8 breakdown is quite nice.”

Total = 24 (avg. 4.8)

Uudo Sepp – I’m Sorry. I Messed Up

Boris – 1 – “Oh, a fukboi anthem. SKIP!”

Daniel – 5 – “An emotional male ballad that seems to deliver what it sets out to do. This song is really just the combination of Adele’s “Hello” and Frans’ “If I Were Sorry”. I will say that the first two and half minutes are rather predictable and formulaic, but that last thirty seconds really do the song justice in the emotional realm. Overall impression, a well-produced song that seems derivative given the variety of songs that are so similar to it.”

David – 3 – “You better be sorry, for this messed up song. Such a simple song that relies too much just on a simple guitar. When finally something starts to happen, then it’s at the end, and barely anything still happened within the song, a very monotone song overall. Great vocals, touching message, but a bit pointless when you barely sing to anything.”

James – 1 – “Christ, another song where the vocalist thinks lie is a two syllable word. This song is awful, and why would I want to listen to a joyless acoustic guitar ballad like this at Eurovision? Why? The phrase “I’m sorry, I messed up, mmmmm” makes Uudo Sepp sound like a hipster version of Billy Bob Thornton’s character from “Sling Blade.” To quote the great Leeanne Locken, this song is “fake as F$&$ and my breath smells like dog s%$&” and Uudo Sepp gets a whiff to wake him up from his faux-lethargic state as I am sick and tired of having heard this type of song over and over again at Eesti Laul 2020.”

Zack – 8 – “Really nice song that has a lot of emotion and feeling.  That last bit where the music goes away and comes back loudly is quite dramatic.”

Total = 18 (avg. 3.6)

Traffic – Üks kord veel

Boris – 7 – “I like this song! Unfortunately, as we are wont to do with returnees, we look at the precedents set in their previous Eesti Laul entries and… “Üks Kord Veel” is decent, but it’s the weakest of the four Traffic entries. It gets even worse if we look at Traffic’s discography outside of Eesti Laul. Even though I like this song it is probably the best example of Eesti Laul’s declining quality brought forth by sacrificing quirks and personality for conformity, which saddens me because Stig Rästa and Silver Laas deserve so much better.”

Daniel – 6 – “This song has a bunch of heavy hitters like Victor Crone and Stig Rästa behind it. The hype does not disappoint, it is a strong pop-rock song that would sit perfectly well with bands like OneRepublic or Coldplay. The song gives me a lot of Malta 2014 vibes with the folk elements imbedded inside the happy and instrument-heavy composition. In spite of its composers though, I do feel the song might get slightly lost as it may be too light for some of the heavy hitter ballads this year.”

David – 9 – “What a wonderful song, it might slowly build up, but it does so in such a great way and then it just captures you. I’m getting such happy feelings and warmth inside of myself, just by listening to the song. I don’t even know Estonian, but yet I’d wanna sing along to this, the ending it pretty much my only low point, that it just stops.”

James – 7 – “It says something about your contest when a Mumford & Sons-esque song written by Victor Crone and Stig Rästa stands out. It’s pleasant in that “meet me in the middle” moment you have with your mother should you ever watch a national selection with her.”

Zack – 6 – “Cute song, but again, nothing that stands out.”

Total = 35 (avg. 7)

SHIRA – Out in Space

Boris – 5 – “Not quite my thing. I generally like introverted music, but ballads require emotional investment and that’s too much to ask for a studio track. I’m keeping my eye on this song though because if Shira can carry her song live, this could easily become one of my favourites.”

Daniel – 7 – “Oh I like this song. It starts with a sultry voice that is heightened by the harmonies of the strings. It has that theatrical element that makes its delivery and the possible presentation easier than some of the other songs. I will say I hoped for a stronger chorus and a more monumental build which does slightly hurt the song in my ranking. Nevertheless, the song does leave a lasting impression and contains elements that could make it a contender for the crown.”

David – 1 – “Sweetheart, you can have all of space for yourself, cause we ain’t meeting if I have to deal with this. Way to depressing and just overall sad, I just can’t. This is honestly such a mood killer for me.”

James – 3 – “If I heard this song on the Nostromo, I’d want to vent the device playing this song out into space and take my chances with the xenomorph. I am tired of this dull nasally rubbish overtaking Eesti Laul this year.”

Zack – 9 – “My fav song of the bunch. There is a nice mix of familiar taste for Eurovision fans, but something a bit more complex in terms of the production, coupled with the tone of SHIRA’s voice.”

Total = 25 (avg. 5)

Mariliis Jõgeva – Unistustes

Boris – 9 – “It would seem that Mariliis intends to brighten the world with positivity. She definitely brightens up this selection with her enjoyable dream pop and even conjured a smile on my cute grouchy face. One of the few songs in this NF that feel clasically EL and I am quite charmed. Good job.”

Daniel – 8 – “Well I will say this music video made me feel the most amount of feels of any of the songs, I mean it literally a chain of people helping each other after they have been helped. My question is how would that translate on the stage. Beyond that, if this song were to win, how could they translate this happy message given the language barrier. I do appreciate the quality of her vocals and the striking presence she has throughout the video and think this song adds some of the really positive vibes that a lot of the more male sad pop ballads are missing.”

David – 2 – “I’m left very bored and uninspired while listening to this, since I can’t understand Estonian. I’m left listening to the music which get very repetitive easily and just like that, my interest for the song is lost, there’s not even any interesting moment of singing or any sign of some unique vocal performance.”

James – 7 – “I will admit I am a sucker for those YouTube videos that show dogs getting excited waiting for their owners who have been deployed overseas in the military to come home. That level of authentic sweetness is here in this song, perhaps standing out in contrast to a lot of fake and insincere indie on offer at Eesti Laul this year. Sure, this song won’t stand out otherwise, but it is warm and pleasant.”

Zack – 6 – “Cute song. Feels a bit like what we have heard many times before.”

Total = 32 (avg. 6.4)

So, let’s find out what this means for our Eesti Laul rankings…

  1. Traffic – Üks kord veel – 35
  2. Uku Suviste – What Love Is – 34
  3. Janet – Hingelind – 32
  4. Mariliis Jõgeva – Unistustes – 32
  5. German & Violina – Heart Winder – 29
  6. Jaagup Tuisk – Beautiful Lie – 28
  7. Merilin Mälk – Miljon sammu – 26
  8. SHIRA – Out in Space – 25
  9. Ziggy Wild – Lean on Me – 24
  10. Inger – Only Dream – 20
  11. Uudo Sepp – I’m Sorry. I Messed Up – 18
  12. Viinerid – Kapa Kohi-LA – 5

…and it’s a close call, but Traffic with “Üks kord veel” is the favourite of our panel ahead of tonight’s second semi-final, with Uku Suviste, Janet, Mariliis Jõgeva, German & Violina and Jaagup Tuisk making the rest of the top six. But will this be the case later today?

Do #YOU agree with our scores? Share your thoughts with us on our forum HERE or join the discussion below and on social media!

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