Stig Rästa makes it through Eesti Laul 2018’s first semi final

The first five finalists of Estonia’s national selection were selected tonight during Eesti Laul’s first semi final. The country’s 2015 representative, Stig Rästa, was one of the qualifiers along with fan favorite Elina Netšajeva.

It was back in August that Estonia’s broadcaster – ETV – revealed how eager participants were to have a chance at representing the country at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest after receiving the two first hopeful songs – despite the fact that it wasn’t yet accepting submissions for the show.

Only by November would ETV announce the twenty acts and songs hoping to represent Estonia in Lisbon. Amongst the list of competitors, a familiar face would stand out: Stig Rästa, who, back in 2015, gave the country one of its best results in recent years with Goodbye To Yesterday.

Tonight, ten of the twenty acts took to the stage hoping to perform their song once more in Eesti Laul’s Grand Final, scheduled for the 3rd of March. As expected, Stig Rästa’s Home and Elina Netšajeva La Forza made it through along with three other songs.

The Show

It all started with a phenomenal performance by Koit Toome and Laura who took to the stage to perform the Estonian entry of last year, their dramatic love story Verona, which failed to quality to Eurovision’s Grand Final. It didn’t take too long until the two comedian hosts – Kristen Aaslaid and Martin Veisman – kicked off the songs’ presentations.

Even though this transaction was made quite quickly, the show’s structure didn’t follow traditional trends as all of the performances were pre-recorded and the jury was only introduced after the first five songs were performed. The fact that all of the performances were pre-recorded allowed the show’s production to apply multiple special effects to each of them.

The Songs

1. VajéLaura (Walk With Me)

Laura is a modern pop song that follows the trend of what’s in right now in pop music but manages to sound distinctive due to its break after the chorus. One could say Sofia by Alvaro Soler was maybe an inspiration. The duo took to the stage along with a girl – “Laura” – and delivered a performance truly faithful to the song.

2. Iiris & AgohDrop That Boogie

Resembling Lady Gaga in her early days, Iiris & Agoh brought a very alternative style to the stage along with a very alternative sound that could easily remind us of last year’s Dance Alone.

3. EtnopatsyKülm

The girl duo brought one of the most dramatic and intimate performances of the night. Besides singing in Estonian, Etnopatsy delivered great vocals and presented themselves in a rather traditional way.

4. Sibyl VaneThousand Words

While having a woman singing the song, Sibul Vane’s Thousand Words sound reminds one of something the global band Muse could have delivered. This performance was highly decorated with special effects.

5. Aden RayEverybody’s Dressed

While talking about everybody being dressed, Aden spent all of his performance dressed up in a bathtub getting out of it for the last chorus. The song was a strong pop piece extremely, catchy, sexy and modern.

6. Tiiu x Okym x SemyNäita Oma Energiat

The trio brought the most unique piece of music to the stage, which doesn’t necessarily mean it was good. The Estonian rapping would easily leave a non-native speaker confused as it was a bit all over the place sonically and lyrically.

7. Stig RästaHome

Stig didn’t have Elina Born this time but had his guitar that allowed him to deliver one of the cutest songs in the competition. Singing about love once more, Stig left Goodbye To Yesterday‘s drama behind and dedicated a song to his loved one.

8. MiljardidPseudoprobleem

Miljardid could be seen as an Estonian version of Franz Ferdinand. The song brings diversity into the competition by being extremely unique, alternative and underground. The vocalist’s presence on stage is also rather entertaining.

9. DesireeOn My Mind

Bringing pure pop into the competition, Desiree delivered choreography and a catchy tune highly influenced by Dua Lipa’s music style. Despite the effort, the song may not be exactly made for Eurovision.

10. Elina NetšajevaLa Forza

La Forza has been, since the beginning, one of the favourite songs to win Eesti Laul due to its unprecedented genre in the competition. The opera song showcases the powerful vocals from Elina who surely stands out among her rivals.

The Results

In order to determine the five qualifiers, the jury’s votes were mixed with the televoting – each being worth 50%. Initially, the four most voted acts were announced. Later, the voting lines were opened once more and the fifth most voted act made it through. Here’s how it all went:

Act Result
Vajé Qualified
Iiris & Agoh Qualified
Sibyl Vane Qualified
Aden Ray
Tiiu x Okym x Semy
Stig Rästa Qualified
Elina Netšajeva Qualified

Estonia at the Eurovision Song Contest

Despite having won the contest once back in 2001, Estonia has failed to qualify two years in a row, having ranked last in 2016 with Play.

The country has been participating in Eurovision since 1993 and has a total of 24 participations. Out of those 24, nine times it finished among the contest’s top 10.

Last year, Estonia was represented by the duo of Koit Toome and Laura, who performed Verona, but failed to qualify. Remind yourself of their performance in the video below, recorded during the duo’s second rehearsal:

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