XTRA Preview & Review: Estonia – Eesti Laul: Semi-final 1

The national final season is in full swing. Tonight, the first semi-final of Estonia’s Eesti Laul is going to take place. We’ve taken a look at the entries and the procedure below, so here is the XTRA Preview & Review!

XTRA Preview: Eesti Laul – Semi-final 1

One of Eurovision’s most popular national selection processes, Eesti Laul, kicks off tonight with the first of two pre-recorded semi-finals. The second semi-final will take place next Saturday, with the final taking place live on March 3rd!
For the semi-finals, five songs will qualify from each. In each semi-final, a 50/50 combination of televoting and jury voting will determine the first four qualifiers. For the remaining six acts, voting will open for the second time and the act with the most televotes will take that final qualification spot.
In the final, it is expected that a 50/50 combination of jury voting and televoting will decide the best three entries. These will then move forward into a superfinal in which the second round of televoting alone will choose the Estonian entry for Lisbon!
Tonight’s first semi-final, beginning at 20:35 CET, features three big favourites for the title. Vajé will perform their already popular Estonian radio hit Laura (Walk With Me). Furthermore, 2015 Eesti Laul winner Stig Rästa will be hoping to take the title again with solo effort Home. Nevertheless, all eyes will be on opera singer Elina Netšajeva. Indeed, the hype around her entry La Forza has resulted in Estonia currently being the bookmakers’ favourites to win the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest at the time of writing.

Tonight’s semi-final one running order is as follows:

  1. Vajé – “Laura (Walk With Me)”
  2. Iiris & Agoh – “Drop That Boogie”
  3. Etnopatsy – “Külm”
  4. Sibyl Vane – “Thousand Words”
  5. Aden Ray – “Everybody’s Dressed”
  6. Tiiu x Okym x Semy – “Näita oma energiat”
  7. Stig Rästa – “Home”
  8. Miljardid – “Pseudoprobleem”
  9. Desiree – “On My Mind”
  10. Elina Netšayeva – “La Forza”

XTRA Review: Eesti Laul – Semi-final 1

Vajé – “Laura (Walk With Me)”

Luke: This is my favourite! I love the feel of the song and I can see this looking amazing on the big stage in Lisbon with some good camerawork, especially with the bit right after the chorus when the guitar kicks in!
Score: 10/10

Vincent: I’m not a big fan of the lyrics, but I must confess the composition is nice, though a bit repetitive at times, especially in the middle. And I love his warm voice.
Score: 7/10

Dominik: It’s catchy, radio-friendly and modern. I like this. I don’t know if this stands out enough to get a good place in Eurovision, but it’s definitely a song I would listen to more often.
Score: 8/10

Alesia: This song is modern and radio ready. It doesn’t do too much and could be a little more “risky,” but overall it is a nice melody and chill vibe.
Score: 8/10

Iiris & Agoh – “Drop That Boogie”

Luke: At first I think “I’m not going to like this”, and then it hits the chorus which is just so charming and makes you smile that you just have to like it! Also, they get points for referencing Friends.
Score: 7/10

Vincent: Musically speaking, this is not my cup of tea. And the lyrics don’t mean a lot, as provocative as they sometimes try to be.
Score: 4/10

Dominik: This is something different. It’s something Estonia could send. Estonia sometimes those rare magical songs who are so different but genius. This is maybe one of them. Depends on the performance.
Score: 7/10

Alesia: I love this song and although I am unsure that it will be able to fight its way into representing Estonia at Eurovision 2018 – it has a place on my iTunes playlist.
Score: 10/10

Etnopatsy – “Külm”

Luke: So this includes the woman from Antsud who sung Vihm last year….and I liked that more. This is good, it starts off really nicely but then just kind of disappears. It just needs to go somewhere and it’s perfect. Otherwise, it’s missing something major.
Score: 6/10

Vincent: This. Is. Gold. Mystic, atmospheric, breathtaking. The lyrics seem genuinely good (though I’d need a translation from a native), and this music… I can picture that in Lisbon!
Score: 10/10

Dominik: This is nice. I can see this stand out as a song and performance. It’s magical and this is something I love. I don’t know if it’s too special for Eurovision though.
Score: 7/10

Alesia: I’m loving the harmonies and ethnic feel of the track. However, I’m waiting for the big moment of the song and for some reason, it stays safely where it began.
Score: 7/10

Sibyl Vane – “Thousand Words”

Luke: Now this, I like! It’s catchy and this is going to be a difficult song to forget about. It feels a bit 2002, but I hope that this does well!
Score: 7/10

Vincent: I surprisingly like the beat and rhythm of this song and even Sibyl’s voice! However, the lyrics are a bit bland, and the chorus isn’t catchy enough to overcome its repetitiveness.
Score: 6.5/10

Dominik: It’s a good song, but it is nothing new or different from what we already heard. Still a nice song, but could be stronger.
Score: 5/10

Alesia: Did someone call No Doubt? This song is good and feels modern but I keep getting No Doubt flashback which isn’t a bad thing, but ultimately makes it difficult for the song to stand alone. But it is stuck in my head!
Score: 6/10

Aden Ray – “Everybody’s Dressed”

Luke: This is just bloody weird. Why is he whispering to me basically about “All of the people here are wearing clothes”…I genuinely feel creeped out listening to this. Let’s just turn this off and pretend it never happened.
Score: 0/10

Vincent: What does this even mean? I can’t make much sense of the lyrics (and the little sense I make is not making it better to me). And I’m not a fan of his voice. I’m sure it has some potential on stage, though.
Score: 4/10

Dominik: The song is something for the radio maybe, but not strong enough for Eurovision. I can’t see this doing well.
Score: 3/10

Alesia: This song is so good and stands out. The modern feel and potential gem it could be staging wise make this song hard to not mention when you talk about Eesti Laul’s standouts. I’m not a huge fan of the vocal tone but overall—no complaints.
Score: 7/10

Tiiu x Okym x Semy – “Näita oma energiat”

Luke: This is just a bit too….all over the place for me. I forgive it and think maybe the chorus is decent, but then it comes and it’s incredibly bland. Then the verses come and it just feels like the singer is attempting to sing as quickly as possible rather than rap. It doesn’t work.
Score: 2/10

Vincent: From what I understood of the lyrics, they are sort of epic and chaotic… I like that! But then comes the music, which actually starts off very well, until they begin singing. After that, it’s a mess to me.
Score: 5.5/10

Dominik: The beginning sounded promising, but the verses remind me of Montenegro 2016. But by far not as catchy. I don’t think, that many people can connect with the song. Still kinda funny.
Score: 4/10

Alesia: I struggle with this track because I appreciate its edgy sensibilities. Ultimately, I think it suffers due to the monotone vocals and repetitive melodies. But! I like the edginess which we need a little more of at Eurovision.
Score: 3/10

Stig Rästa – “Home”

Luke: It’s not my favourite of all the songs that Stig has created, but this is definitely something beautiful. Whether or not it’d be good for Eurovision though, I’m not sure. It reminds me a bit of Paradise Oskar’s “Da Da Dam” and that came bottom five.
Score: 8/10

Vincent: This is very different from his previous three Eesti Laul songs, and he stills nails it! This is sweet, some might say too much but I feel that the GoT reference gives authenticity to the whole song. I also quite like the parallelism between the first verse and the second one (from angels falling to angels flying).
Score: 8.5/10

Dominik: A sweet song. Super radio friendly and definitely a contender to win Eesti Laul. Would be a safe choice for Lisbon. No risk and safe qualifier probably.
Score: 7/10

Alesia: Stig doesn’t disappoint with his return to Eesti Laul. The song is quality from start to finish. I think the song could take more risks, but overall I am humming along and please with Mr Rästa.
Score: 9/10

Miljardid – “Pseudoprobleem”

Luke: Sorry but what are these verses supposed to be? There’s virtually nothing there. The chorus too is absolutely not my style and is just the same word being repeated over and over. Stop.
Score: 0/10

Vincent: This is boring, and I like neither the music nor the voices nor the melody. And the lyrics, unfortunately, don’t help much.
Score: 2/10

Dominik: I don’t really know what I think about this song. This is not the best thing. It’s different, but I don’t think the good kind of different.
Score: 3/10

Alesia: I feel like I forget this song after 5 mins. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The song has a solid groove and feels modern. I fear this song may end up being forgettable for the average Eurovision voter.
Score: 6/10

Desiree – “On My Mind”

Luke: On first listening to the songs, this was my initial favourite. Unfortunately, I got bored of it very quickly…the chorus just isn’t strong enough to grip you. But, it’s still a really good song and it’s still one of the few songs from this year’s Eesti Laul that I’ve been listening to!
Score: 9/10

Vincent: Another song of passion and love, sung in a maybe too “cool” way in my opinion. It is still not badly written and nice to the ear, but… forgettable.
Score: 6/10

Dominik: YAS! Such a strong song. Love this! Super modern! This is one of the best in this years Eesti Laul. Would make a great entry for Estonia. Totally added to my Spotify playlist.
Score: 9/10

Alesia: It’s a simple and straightforward pop track that could be on a Selena Gomez EP. Ultimately the song fails to raise the bar and differentiate itself from the pack.
Score: 6/10

Elina Netšajeva – “La Forza”

Luke: I’m sorry, but I just don’t get the MASSIVE hype behind this. I mean it’s decent, but at the time of writing, Estonia is 1st in the odds, probably because of this song and I think that that’s just insane. It’s perfectly fine opera, but that’s it, nothing to start screaming “TALLINN 2019!” over.
Score: 6/10

Vincent: This is GREAT! I love that, it’s my second favourite. I thought it overrated at first, but it’s actually incredible! The lyrics are a bit cliché again, but they are in Italian! And you just can’t resist this chorus! The live performance MUST be good, though, and some are having doubts…
Score: 9/10

Dominik: I love these modern songs with opera touch. The chorus is strong. The verses could be a bit stronger. This needs a good performance. It has potential!
Score: 8/10

Alesia: THIS COULD BE A MOMENT AT EUROVISION. This song is the shining star of Estonia’s national selection and could be an EASY top 3 finisher at Eurovision 2018.
Score: 10/10

Who do we want?

The XTRA Jury, this time consisting of Alesia, Dominik, Luke and Vincent has spoken. Below you can see the average each song achieved. Their favourite for tonight’s show is Stig Rästa’s “Home”!

Below, we’ve included a playlist for you. Which of these ten do you like best? Make sure to let us know who you like by commenting!


Ryan Cobb

My first memory of watching the Eurovision Song Contest was back in 2001 and, over the years, my passion and enthusiasm for the contest has very much turned into an obsession. I adore music and I love geography, so this contest is a natural fit for me. If la la loving Eurovision was a crime, I'd certainly be a criminal!

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