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Saturday, 29 March 2014 18:36

ESC 2014: An In-Depth Review of Estonia

It has become customary for the escflashmalta.com editorial board to engage professional individuals from the music industry to assess the songs competing in the Eurovision Song Contest as presented to the European Broadcasting Union during the Heads of Delegation Meeting. Martin Isherwood, Deo Grech, Stano Simor and Matt Mercieca from the United Kingdom, Malta and the Czech Republic have been entrusted with the first semi-final, comprising of sixteen songs and set to take place on the 6th May 2014 at the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark. Making use of the running order and thus moving onto number #3, we catch up with Estonia (ERR) who will be represented by Tanja and the song Amazing co-written with Timo Vendt.

Born in Kaliningrad, Russia, Tanja moved to Estonia with her family at the age of just two months. Today she’s a household name: a much loved entertainer and a role model in her home country – and tomorrow hopefully throughout Europe. This year she won the Estonian national selection, Eesti Laul 2014 and will thus represent Estonia at the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen with her song Amazing. Tanja is amazing – a true pearl in a sea of pre-fab pop stars. She was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth, but has achieved her success and popularity through sheer hard work. Today, her CV is about as thick as a telephone directory, featuring dozens of roles in major musicals, wins galore in singing contests and six albums' worth of music.

Thousands of people have seen Tanja on stage in theatre and musical performances, with her boundless energy infusing such productions as Chicago, Fame, The Phantom Of The Opera, Snow White, Hair and Kiss of the Spider Woman. She is currently starring in Cabaret (in which she plays Sally), The Last Cowboy (in which she plays Lucy) and ThrillerTribute to Michael Jackson. Tanja almost made it to the Eurovision Song Contest in 2002, as a member of Nightlight Duo, whose upbeat tune Another Country Song finished second in the national final before going on to become one of the biggest hits of the year in Estonia. Tanja has been a fan of Europe's favourite TV show for as long as she can remember. Amazing was written with the contest in mind, and she knew from the start that the staging would involve contemporary dance, which she has been active in since 2001. She has also taught at a dance school.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJR2LutvQLw

Estonia made their debut in the finals of the Eurovision Song Contest back in 1994 but it was surely not an evening to remember with Silvi Vrait and her entry Nagu Merelaine finishing in last place with a mere two points. It was a painful beginning to what would be a positive future, at least for the next couple of years, with Estonia reaching the top ten on six of the next seven participations, including a major victory in 2001 with Everybody performed by Tanel Padar, Dave Benton and 2 XL. Since the introduction of the semi-final system back in 2004, Estonis has found it extremely difficult to get through to the final show, but once more has maintained a positive record in the past three years, even finishing in sixth place in 2002 thanks to Kuula sung by Ott Lepland.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 54%

Martin Isherwood: Very strong chorus. Tanja has a very strong voice, but I'm not sure about the nasal sounding guy that opens the track. Very well done track with a few tricks and turns   Very strong, could stand a good chance.

Deo Grech: There is a strong reference to Loreen's ''Euphoria'' here. And this is even more accentuated by the stage act.   All in all it will be a great dance-floor filler at the Euroclub, however it's far from being ''Amazing'' at the Eurovision. It's only hope is that it will be performed right after Latvia, however it will be quite easily forgotten by Sanna who will be singing next.

Stano Simor: Choreography of the singer is incompatible with the fact that she can sing a song alone. Only if she would have extreme physical preparation. Personally, I think the main vocalist sings vocals for her. The song's atmosphere and style is really good and remains firmly in mind as well.

Matt Mercieca: DICTION!!! I have no idea what she’s saying, but beat is cool, and i like the backing vocals! reminds me of lion king I don’t know why. I must say when I do understand her, I kind of wish I wasn’t understanding her, over all its ok, beats cool, not in love, should do well though.

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VRSXRXBWCs

Published in Editorials

After two weeks of semi finals, Eesti Laul has chosen its final ten contestants to compete on the 1st of March so that one of them will win the ticket to Copenhagen for the first semi-final in next May. Amongst these ten finalists, one could find new and upcoming artists and also some familiar names like with Sandra Nurmsalu, who is the front women from the band Urban Symphony who represented Estonia in 2009 with their song Rändajad and ended in the sixth position in the grand final. From this final of Eesti Laul 2014, the representative chosen is no other than Tanja and her song Amazing.

Tanja was the first one to compete in the first semi-final on the 14th February who won a ticket to tonight's final. She performed second to last, being the 9th position. As a normal procedure, the ten competing artists perform their songs to professional jury as a a part of the show where the juries' votes will add up to 50% and the other 50% are from the viewers of the show (tele-voting). This took us to two, from the field of ten, super-finalists. These two were Super Hot Cosmos Blues Band and their song Maybe-Maybe and Tanja with her song Amazing

After these results had been published, we got to another 10 minutes of tele-voting for the competition between the super-finalists. The winner was chosen only from the tele-voting and no professional jury was included in this second part. Tanja in the end triumphed the whole competition with her song Amazing and is now set to perform in the first half of the first semi-final on the 6th of May in the BW Hallerne Hall in Copenhagen. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news about anything related to the Eurovision Song Contest.

Source: ERR, Eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MqojuvtU3c

Saturday, 01 March 2014 19:10

Estonia: Eesti Laul 2014 - LIVE

Tere õhtust! Estonia will be making their selection for this years’ edition of the Eurovision Song Contest during the course of the evening with ten (10) acts competing for the right to represent the one (1) time winning nation, who has been on a successful run of results in recent times, making the final for three (3) years in succession including; Et Uus Saaks Alguse (2013), Kuula (2012) and Rockefeller Street (2011).

ERR, the Estonian public broadcaster will be airing the selection process through a webcast being transmitted on the official website of the Eurovision Song Contest. As has been the case in recent years, a mixture of public and jury will voting will be present in order to select the best two (2) entries of the evening, those of which will then enter into a super final from where the public will then select their favourite entry and thus the song that will represent Estonia in the Eurovision Song Contest. We urge you to follow our LIVE report, here on escflashmalta for the next couple of hours.

The Show (Part 1)

And here it goes! EESTI LAUL 2014, we've been waiting for you! What a huge arena that is! The crowd starts cheering as Birgit Oigemeel walks onto stage singing Estonia's last year entry 'Et Uus Saaks Alguse' which finished at the 20th position in the final. This time Birgit is not wearing a totally white dress but a white-ish blue dress. Ott Lepland just joined her on stage singing a new song! WOW! Birgit just joined him and they're singing a duet of a beautiful song! This is heaven, two of the best ever Eurovision voices on a duet! This is beautiful! No words can explain, pure music to my ears! Also I love the language! The crowd totally enjoyed this masterpiece.

Presenting on stage we have all the finalists competing tonight for a place in the Eurovision Song Contest as part of the first semi-final in the first half. We can see tonight's hosts up on stage already both wearing a plaid suit. We hear them chatting but obviously since I have never learned this beautiful language, I can not understand much! But the crowd seems to be excited about what they are saying. Most probably, they are introducing us to the procedure of the night where we have ten finalists which will compete to two super-finalists.

Brigita Murutar - Laule täis taevakaar

We are off! Brigita Murutar is on stage. She is a young beautiful woman clad in a light blue dress. The song is not anything special from my end just a soft country song which she doesn't show any special abilities. On stage she has a male band accompanying her. It is a sweet song which unfortunately will be forgotten if this is picked. 

The staging is a but dark. Not a really good competitor from my end but the audience certainly loved it. We have one of the hosts backstage chatting with Brigitta while the crew is most probably preparing for the next entry.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJ7c1kAnBKA

Traffic - Für Elise

And we're back with 'Traffic' on stage ready to perform Fur Elise for us. The front man has really good vocals and good ukelele abilities while singing. The stage is all darkened up and red light is all over the place. This song reminds me a bit of Something Better (Finland 2014) and Coming Home (Malta 2014).

It resembles them in a way. It is a good entry but is it good enough for Copenhagen? I think it might do well. I prefer this one to Brigita's song. And now, there is Traffic backstage with the host chatting about the performance they just gave.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlJSQA3uT_4

Norman Salumäe - Search

Norman Salumae is up next with his song search. He is up on stage clad in a black suit and a blue shirt underneath. Everywhere is darkened and he looks like he's enjoying it and feels the song. Out of the blues came out two ladies as backing vocalists. This is a beautiful song and he is a really good singer. 

Okay, now there are another three men with the ladies! This just transformed into a choir! It got a bit boring after all, everytime the same thing. This won't be a good Eurovision entry from my end. His voice is really good but the song is totally not sung by the right person. Better luck next time Norman!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNIT29ort2k

BREAK

And now some time for green room! The host is passing by all the contestants and talking for just a few seconds. Until he met the relaxed entrant 'Traffic' and takes a bit of his time and chats a bit with him. Then he turns onto Brigita. The connection is not wonderful so I am not able to hear these interviews as much as I would like to.

Wilhelm - Resignal

Next up is Wilhelm with her song Resignal. She is clad in a green dress and joined by what seems to be her band. The song is a slow paced song yet the instruments give it that beat needed. The song just now turned into a kind of pop-rock song and her voice is so so nice. I love the accent she uses to sing.

The female backing vocalist is clad in white and pink and has a huge pink rose on her head which seems as if she feel in a garden or something like this. This was my most preferred entrant up till now, I found it a bit interesting. Also, her personality seems bubbly enough for Eurovision. Still it is not a super good entrant, yet the best one up till now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-0rqU2IwEE

BREAK

And finally we are presented the professional jury. One of the jury is Getter Jaani, the Estonian representative in 2010 with Rockefeller Street. Also, we find the opening act of the night, Ott Lepland as part of the jury. He was also the Estonian representative back in 2012 with his song Kuula which has finished in the sixth position in the final.

Super Hot Cosmos Blue Band - Maybe Maybe

Up next is Super Hot Cosmos Blue Band with their song 'Maybe-Maybe'. I surely already think that they should change their long stage name. A not depressing song finally! Starts out totally great from my end as we hear this amazing beat coming up. The main singer is wearing sunglasses inside the darkened arena! Is he a vampire or something? 

I don't like this thing, eyes tell you the reality what a singer is feeling! The female backing vocalists are totally out of their place on that stage singing totally different to the genre of the song, going like 'Sha La La' on a country-pop song. The singer resembles Billy Ray Cyrus somehow! The song is nice but very very very repetitive! It might reach the superfinal but it does not have the chance as others do. I found it a bit too repetitive. But, I will be pleased to see this band try again next year!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCjxOF3lyus

Maiken - Siin voi sealpool maad

And up next we have, Maiken with her song 'Siin voi sealpool maad'. This is a totally Estonian name for me! What a beautiful opening. Please saty like this! Don't include anyone with you on stage. She is clad in a purple long dress. What a peaceful song this is! Her voice is so beautiful, I love it! The stage is full of smoke effect, which makes it look like she is were she is supposed to be, in heaven as a singing angel. 

This is a true singer! She has a really nice voice! I'm left speechless as the key change came up! This is marvelous. WOW! Please send this directly to the superfinal! She stands a chance of being in the final of the Eurovision in Copenhagen. The crowd loved it, cheering all the way. This was amazing! Keep it up Maiken! I'm on your side!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XYKBwxe7u8

Korsikud - Tule Ja Jaa

Next up is Korsikua and the song 'Tule Ja Jaa'. Could this be real? I think this is the oldest band to compete this year. These fellows looks a bit aged when compared to the other contestants. Yet I think this is one of the good songs. I expected it to be a country song as they are wearing all these waistcoats and stuff which you certainly make the connection.

It is a nice song and for once the stage looks a bit lit up. The backing vocals makes it sound as if it was written and recorded back in the 1990s though. The song isn't so so good, totally not good for Eurovision when compared to the dance tunes and all the genres competing this year. I'm not sure. I hope we won't see this in the superfinal tonight. Sorry but this is one of the worst entries tonight.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teKz8bo24-w

BREAK

Back into the greenroom where we take a look at a few more relaxed artists like the outstanding backing voalists from Super Hot Cosmos Blue Band. Also, the host is talking the Norman Salumae next! Fair competition, let's talk to everyone!

Tanja - Amazing

Next up is Tanja with her song 'Amazing'. Let's all hope she will give an amazing performance tonight! The first one not holding a microphone. She has an ear microphone. She is clad in an orange and beige short dress. She is the first one to have an actual dancer on stage with her, apart from the three nearly invisble backing vocalists. Finally, here is a dance tune which I think will do good in Eurovision. 

She looks like Helena Papariziou, who has just made the final in Sweden, I hear! The dance is like Loreen's. If this is chose, the staging and performance might need to improve a bit. It is one of the most preferred from the audience in the Nokia Hall in Tallinn receiving the biggest applause from of the night. It was good, really good, yet not amazing! I like it, with a few changes it might do well in Eurovision! A bit not sure if this will go to superfinal! It's difficult to pick just two!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MqojuvtU3c

Sandra Nurmsalu - Kui Tuuled Poorduvad

Next up is the most awaited entry for the night, Sandra Nurmsalu with her song 'Kui Tuuled Poorduvad'. Sandra was the singer from Urban Symphony in 2009 and finished 6th place in the final with their song Randajad, which I still listen to regularly! It was a masterpiece! Let's cross fingers Sandra gives a good performance tonight! Here she is up on stage, clad in a blue dress joined with three backing vocalists in white and a drummer! 

This time she is competing with an up-tempo song. Not a total disaster at all! It's a good song yet a bit late! I think this should have been submitted like 5 years ago. Her voice is undoubtedly amazing. The song gives you a good feeling, mostly if you haven't known she is the singer from Urban Symphony. I pretended it to be much of a slower pace and relaxing! Anyways, it is a good entry and it seems that the Estonians still love Sandra! I like it, I think it will the superfinal and have a huge chance of winning with a good song and a familiar singer!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=My5KZQqi--U

The Show (Part 2)

The televoting just opened for 20 minutes while the jury will be adding up their votes to know who is in for the super-final when joined with the televotes and here is the first recap so as to refresh our memory. A message to all Estonians is to choose their preferred and vote! It's an open competition. I've just picked my favourite two and they have to be no other than Maiken with 'Siin Voi Sealpool Maad' and Sandra Nurmsalu with 'Kui Tuuled Poorduvad'.

And the jury started giving their points on the score borad and these are quite shocking! These might have been the most shocking points I have ever experienced in my life. Super Hot Cosmos Blues Band is on top of the table with jury and in second position we have the 'Supernova' sing Lenna. Somehow, we have Maiken and Sandra Nurmsalu falling right back. But this was only 50% of the final voting so the other 50% nay be enough to change the result!

Super-Final

The televoting votes have already been counted and the two superfinalists are no other than Tanja with Amazing and Super Hot Cosmos Blues Band with Maybe-Maybe so it looks like the jury and the audience have agreed! And another recap, if you can call it so with only two songs! My more preferred song has to be Tanja's Amazing! I can't see Super Hot Cosmos Blues Band at Eurovision! Make the right decision please!

And back to the green room! I think we've had more time backstage than actually on stage. Tanja and SHCBB should be tired standing up all the time. A new young band, which seems to be bigger than the other two! Finally, a song I know by heart! 'Hey Brother' by Avicii! He seems to be in every national final this year! Yet this version is more of a classical band one! But I still like it!

Televoting is now closed! And we are waiting for the results to come in! And we finally have a winner! The only up-tempo song of the night triumphs! Tanja and her song 'Amazing' are off to Copenhagen next May as part of the 1st Semi-Final!

ERR, responsible for the participation of Estonia in the Eurovision Song Contest is seeking to improve upon results achieved in recent years, noting that they have received a massive 188 submissions, a national record. During the daily round-up show aired every evening, Ringvaade, the Executive Producer of Eesti Laul, Heidy Purga revealed the names of the twenty (20) acts chosen with the hope of representing Estonia in next years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest.

For the past three (3) years, Estonia has been successful into getting through to the final of the Eurovision Song Contest, even managing to best their result in the past five (5) years by reaching sixth place with the track Kuula performed by Ott Lepland in 2012. Earlier this year, former Estonian Idol winner, Birgit Õigemeel managed only twentieth place, and ninteen points with her country ballad, Et Uus Saaks Alguse. Estonia have somewhat become a visionary in the world of music, noting that their genres are very experimental and have a tendecy to go overboard sometimes. Nevertheless, it does pose some interesting suggestions.

Some of the competing entries have already been released, either as an audio clip or in the form of a music video and that provides some extra promotion for a couple of artists. As a matter of fact, we expect most of them to be revealed prior to the selection which is set to take place in the form of semi-finals on the 14th, 21st of February and then a grand final on the 1st March 2014. The jury which selected the songs comprised of Maarja-Liis Ilus (represented Estonia at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1996 and 1997), Janek Murd (musician), Erik Morna (Radio 2’s Head of Music), Siim Nestor (music critic), Kaupo Karelson (producer), Valner Valme (music critic), Tauno Aints (composer), Ingrid Kohtla (music editor), Owe Petersell (Editor in Chief of Radio Elmar), Toomas Punas (Programme Director of Radio Sky+), Kostja Tsõbulevski (musician). Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.

Source: ERR

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ooo6GvZNLhI