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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

Tuesday, 30 April 2013 16:12

Estonia: Stage Outfit for Team Revealed

Birgit Õigemeel with the song Et Uus Saaks Alguse co-written between Mihkel Mattisen and Silva Soro was selected to represent Estonia in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest following a public and jury vote which just managed to get her into the super-final. With 51.1% of the tele-vote, she was announced as the winner over Grete Paia and her entry Päästke noored hinged co-written with renowned songwriter Sven Lõhmus. Unfortunately, betting odds have not been so favourable with the nation currently found in twenty-second place despite achieving a sixth place finish with the song Kuula performed by Ott Lepland at the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest.

In bright and colourful spring fashion, Birgit has been doing a lot of national promotion prior to jetting off for the Eurovision Song Contest but nevertheless, due to her blooming pregnancy, her stylists have decided to go with a chic look on stage as witnessed in the photograph above. As a matter of fact, designer Antonio Baltman has worked worked on a visually stunning black and white short dress matched with black shoes whilst her three male backing vocalists will be in dashing grey suits and white shirts to complement. Et Uus Saaks Alguse will be performed in slot number #2 within the first semi-final whilst Birgit is currently at number #29 in the Estonian iTunes Singles Chart. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news as soon as it becomes available. 

Source: Ilkar.blogspot.com, ERR

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJhW_wKh4cw

Yesterday, Austria was the first country to receive the critique of the reviewers that escflashmalta.com has engaged in support of the participants in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. More preview videos are being added with the release of those from Austria and Belarus in the past couple of hours. The formal introduction of each entry continues. All of the information is obtained from the official website of the international spectacle and indeed, pertaining to the running order as decided by the producers, Estonia will be performing in slot number two (2) from the sixteen (16) entries which will be competing during the first semi-final. ERR, the broadcaster resposible for the participation of Estonia in the Eurovision Song Contest will be represented by the song Et Uus Saaks Alguse co-written by Mihkel Mattisen and Silvia Soro with vocals provided by Birgit Õigemeel.

Birgit Õigemeel is without doubt one of the happiest people in the world right now. Her life is full of love and great expectations: the challenge of performing in an international arena, settling in to her new home in Tallinn, and looking forward to the birth of her first baby. There could be no more exciting time for her to be taking part in Eurovision than now, when she and her partner Indrek Sarrap are expecting their first child. And she's not alone - composer Mihkel Mattisen is about to become a parent for the first time, too! It's clearly fate that Et Uus Saaks Alguse (known in English as 'New Beginning') is representing Estonia at the Eurovision Song Contest. Children have played a big role in Birgit's life throughout her professional career, which began in 2007 when she won the first ever series of Estonian Pop Idol. A year later she set up the Tähelaps ('Starchild') charity with politician and good friend Margus Tsahkna in support of the education of children from orphanages.

Born in the small Estonian town of Kohila, Birgit has three sisters: two older and one younger. Her father is a furniture maker, but it's her mother – a singing teacher – whose footsteps she has followed, teaching children to sing in one of her older sister's song and dance studios. In 2009 she teamed up with the internationally acclaimed deep house production duo Rulers of the Deep on the album Teineteisel Pool ('The Other Side'). A showcase of intelligent club music, it won her the award of the Female Artist of the Year 2010 in Estonia. In 2010 she took the role of Maria von Trapp in the 'The Sound of Music' in Estonia. She has also taken part in the national selection for Eurovision on two previous occasions, in 2008 and 2012. Birgit is only too aware that resting on your laurels is a step backwards, which is why she's studying music therapy at Tallinn University. "I'm interested in the deeper effect that music has on people," she explains.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EJEuPc-xSA

Eesti Laul is the national selection procedure in Estonia and it has proven somewhat successful in recent years following a revamp which was put forward by the broadcaster. A professional jury made up of people from the music industry along with the public both have a stake in selecting the best two tracks competing in the selection process but nevertheless, the public would then vote for the best act. Preceding the final round are two semi-finals, which comprise of ten songs each and once more, both the public and the jury decide on which five (5) songs from each semi-final should make it through. Estonia is known to be a nation with one of the most alternative selection processes when it comes to song genre and have been described by fans and critics as extremely avante-garde. In the first round of tele-voting, Birgit was actually third but having obtained the second best score of the jury, had managed to get her through to the super-final. 

The contender there was Päästke noored hinged sung by Grete Paia who had achieved top marks by the public as opposed to fifth place by the jury. The voting in the super-final was extremely close and in the end it was Birgit who prevailed with 51.1% of the vote as opposed to 48.9% for the first runner-up. Estonia will be taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest for the nineteenth time and have managed to qualify to the final on three occasions from nine possible entries, all of which coming within the last four years. Their best result was a victory with the song Everybody by Tanel Padar & Dave Benton in 2001 whilst they also managed to finish in sixth place during last years' edition with the track Kuula performed by Ott Lepland. They will be hoping that this ballad, the second one in a row to be performed in the national language will reach the final against current odds published online. Õnn Kaasa!

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 33%

Magnus Kaxe: A ballad with country vibes. Birgit sings nicely but the total package doesn't tickle my ears. It's just - boring. This would sound better if the lyrics were in English because Estonian is not a musical language for ballads.

Lina Eriksson: A typical oldschool Eurovision Song Contest ballad. Will it work in 2013? I don't think so. Birgit is a great singer but this sweet song is out of date, production wise as well as melodically.

Matt Mercieca (Muxu): The way it starts is ok, nothing special. there are some country influences which is rare for eurovision. She is gorgeous reminds me a little bit of Adrianne Curry , ok sorry I went totally off topic, i guess this says a lot about the song, very boring , and never seems to go anywhere.

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02uHFbCN2JI

Published in Editorials

It as been yet another interesting day in Baku, Azerbaijan wit the final acts competing in the second semi-final taking to the stage for the very first time with the hope of representing their country in the best possible way. Some acts ave a tendency to warm up in front of a huge and this might have been the case for Estonia, a nation which has been written off on quite a hefty amount of occasions including with bookmakers who have put the track in a disappointingly low position nevertheless, despite being well below the number twenty in the overall scoreboard, they have started their rise and will most likely continue to do so when they give another rehearsal, one which will certainly pull in votes from both judges and the viewers at home. Estonia this year are being represented by Ott Lepland and his track Kuula which translates into Hear Me actually with the English version released just a couple of days back.

The fact of the matter is that the performer did not do anything special on the stage of Baku, the host city of the 2012 Eurovision Son Contest. He took to the stage wearing very smart casual attire and belting out the notes as he should. He could have taken the son on his own actually but decided he would like some company and that is why the female backing vocalist from the national final marks er return on stage, this time wearing a beautiful white gown. The vocals were out of this world and if he can manage to keep this going, Estonia will be achieving their best result in years, most likely better tan the one they managed back in 2009 with the group Urban Symphony and the song Randajad which finished in sixth place at the end of the evening. Remember that Estonia is competing in the same semi-final as Malta and would therefore be eligible to receive your vote on the evening. View the first rehearsal below and judge it yourselves. It is the kind of song which the Maltese pretty much like actually. Stay tuned for more news on escflashmalta.com in the coming hours.

Source; Eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Pvi3lMee5c

Wednesday, 09 May 2012 11:49

Estonia: Reviewing the track 'Kuula'

The latter part of the second semi-final has to be one of the most intriguing spectacles noting that the variety of genres is very much reflected especially following an array of Balkan tunes which will become somewhat synonymous. Despite their beauty, it is somewhat extremely important that they all relate to each other and some of them might be left out and that is why the next ballad is different because it has a different sound, more notable which will be respected by a number of people around the continent. The country that is being referred to is none other than Estonia who this year have decided to send the crooning Ott Lepland with the song Kuula which he composed alongside Aapo Ilves. 

He has always beaten the competition by an impressive margin. In the final of Eesti Laul, for example, he received 67% of the votes. Ott was already well known in Estonia when he was still a child. He released four albums of children's songs and performed in the theatre, but left the limelight when he became a teenager and focussed on his studies of music. The result is here: he is one of the most respected vocalists in Estonia, an excellent pianist, and the author of some of the biggest radio hits of recent years.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omZU90BMi0w

His vocal coach Maiken has this to say about Kuula: "This song has the potential to be the I Will Always Love You of this century – it is a powerful and simple balance with the potential to become an international hit." Ott's strengths are his powerful voice and down-to-earth demeanour. He is not a show-off, but a true and serious artist. He may be a little reserved, but it is this trait that makes people take him seriously and gives him the charm that has brought him the love of his audiences. Yes, that's what a true Estonian man is like! Get ready, Eurovision – here he comes!

Ott was born on 17 May 1987 in Tallinn. He has released two albums that were aimed at the Estonian market and contained many songs he had written himself. The first book about Ott, Lubage mul olla. Ott Lepland (Let Me Be. Ott Lepland) was published at the end of 2010. A part of the sales revenue is transferred into a grant fund, which helps young people study singing. The grant recipients are picked by Ott Lepland himself. He also donated the 20,000 euros he won on Laulupealinn to Kärdla Town for charity.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lMOEpv0_Pk

It seems that taking one victory after another has come easy to Ott so far. Only time will tell whether his success will continue on the Eurovision Song Contest stage. Ott himself has said: "I feel that I've been lucky. I believe that the reason why I've been so successful is that I've done my own thing and remained true to myself."

The Critics Voice Their Opinion

Magnus Kaxe

  • Back to ballads. This time a musical piece sung in Estonian. The song slowly builds up to the grand finale. The singer has a great voice and the song is beautifully written. I would have loved to hear it in English because the Estonian language sound a little bit hard for my taste. Nevertheless, well crafted and deserving of six (6) points.

Marion Welter

  • Without a doubt, this is more of a song to my liking. The music of this ballad is astonishing, it is just wonderful and his voice is amazing, somewhat beyond what I was expecting. This is a maximum points kind of entry therefore ten (10) points.

Tobias Larsson

  • One of the best ballads in the line-up, leaving you wonder how tiny Estonia can come up with so many really good songs. Very good singing, powerful and controlled at the same time, complete with very soft and tender lyrics. Nine (9) points from my end.

Entry Background 

Performer: Ott Lepland  

Composer: Ott Lepland  

Author: Aapo Ilves

Song: Kuula

Language: Eesti  

Broadcaster: ERR 

History of the Nation

This year will mark the eighteenth participation of Estonia in the Eurovision Song Contest and one can remark that there have been a number of positive results especially due to non-consecutive top ten finishes from 1996 until 2002 with the nation finishing at the top of the scoreboard in 2001 thanks to Dave Benton and Tanel Padar and the song Everybody. The following year, they were close but still far by virtue of finishing in third place with Runaway performed by the Swedish singer Sahlene. Since the introduction of the semi-final system, things have been far bleaker unfortunately though and the country has only managed to turn their luck around since 2009 noting that Urban Symphony and their song Randajad finished in sixth place before the country failed to qualify again in 2010 and then reaching the final again last year before failing to make an impact with Rockefeller Street ending in the last place. Ott Lepland will hope to restore some pride in his country with his entry which is doing well in polls and betting odds putting it in sixth place to qualify.

Source: Eurovision.tv for the Biographical Information and all respective media 

Published in Editorials

The 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest which is going to be staged in Baku, Azerbaijan draws closer and many artists are preparing to switch on a number of alarm clocks as they brave the different time zone nevertheless, many are looking to perfect their performance off stage prior to even thinking about being there as the preparations for each representative continue. In the past couple of days, one of the acts that we managed to speak to was none other than Ott Lepland, the man who will be honouring the colours; blue, black and white, those that best represent Estonia, the winning country of the 2001 music competition and then of course, host of the 2002 edition, one which the Maltese will surely remember with the birth of a star, that is Ira Losco. Within this interview, Ott speaks about his emergence as an artist, his career and his upcoming preparations for the event.

There are many sides to Ott Lepland as an artist with humble beginnings coming through musical theatre, having performed the lead role of Troy Bolton in an adapated version of High School Musical but then again, as the years progressed, you made a decision to go slightly more mainstream by tackling the Estonian music market and thus signed up for the Estonian version of 'Idol' which was were selected for with the backing of the judges and not only making it to the live shows but finishing at the top of the competition without ever languishing at the bottom two. What can you tell us about your early years and how did this competition make you the artist you are today? 

Before Idols I was a simple boy who went to school and liked music. I had studied music in school: both piano and singing. When Idol show came, my friends urged me to take part. I didn’t have any expectations but everything went very well. It made me a lot more self-confident and gave me the possibilty to present my music to Estonia and leave an input to music as such in Estonia.

Skimming through your career achievements, one would notice that the very first time that you made a public debut in terms of recordings was back in 1995 and 1996 having worked with the likes of Seafarm Records and BG Muusik to release four albums but then again, the first major platform in terms of music making came following your stint on 'Idol' wheareas you released a self-titled compilation with Crunch Industry in 2010 and then another album entitled 'Laulan Ma Sing' in 2011. You have been at this for quite some time but then again end up learning new things everyday. What could you tell us about the meaning behind the two albums and do you have general creative control over the songs you publish?

1995-96, as i was a child, i sang children’s songs. Now,15 years later after the Idols i had a possibilty to release my own record. My first album had two of my own songs but mainly songs from other auhtors. My second album has songs from other auhtors too, but half of it contains songs from me as an author. My goal is to move towars releasing more and more music written by myself and i can be only happy that my management allows me to do so.

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

The very first time that Estonia entered the Eurovision Song Contest was back in 1994 with the song 'Nagu Merelaine' performed by Silvi Vrait which did not fare well at all finishing in twenty four position with just two points to it's name but the broadcaster; ERR took a new musical directiton starting two years later ad the results would ultimately flourish managing to reach the top ten on six of the next seven occasions, with songs that have been noted to be timeless. Amongst such songs was the victory of Tanel Padar, Dave Benton & 2XL with the song 'Everybody'. What do you remember of the first entries sent on behalf of Estonia and what do you remember from winning the esteemed music competition?

I have followed the Eurovision from since I was very young. As I come from a very musical family (my mother is a music teacher) I know pretty much all the songs that have represented Estonia in Eurovision. Now, as an active musician, I have the honor of knowing most of the artists who have represented Estonia as well. What I can recall is Silvi Vrait, then Maarja Liis Ilus, Koit Toome and others. I have followed and I have only positive recollections of the whole thing.

The 2012 edition of the Eesti Laul as has been the case in the past couple of years proved to be a selection of astonishing talent with many unconventional music genres, all representing the nations' music scene in the best possible way. Following each performance, the acts were treated to two votes; one of the jury and one of the public and whilst you managed to finish at the top of the latter each and every time, the professional people were putting you in second place, the first time to Liis Lemsalu with 'Made Up My Mind' and in the final to the popular Lenna with 'Mina Jään' who you got to beat in the Super Final stage with 67% of the vote. What were your initial thoughts when submitting the song and did you reach your personal expectations when it comes to presentation?
 
As the song was submitted very spontaniously, there were no real expectations and i rather took this as a new experience. The song did very well, what was somewhat surprise for me too as well, one might say.
 
 
In the past, many performers came to the Eurovision Song Contest in order to commence their musical career and establish themselves as stars in their country but then again it seems that you are already popular in Estonia with many people commenting that this was their choice, one which sees both the artist and the song representing the country as it should be each and every year. One could easily note that such elements were surely going through your mind when coming into the competition but when it actually started to be promoted on television, did you believe that you would garner such support or was it surprising to know how much the people had actually wanted to see you represent Estonia with the possibility of bringing back an extremely good result?
 
It’s a very difficult question. I’d like to think that they voted for the song and thought it would do well, not that people decided to send me, as an artist. Or that’s what I’d like to think. I think they chose the song rather than an artist Ott Lepland.
 
In the past couple of weeks, the European Broadcasting Union was quite busy with uploading the final versions of the tracks along with their respective preview videos to the offcial YouTube channel which was opened a couple of years back and it seems that the song that you will be presenting at the 2012 edition of the music competition is receiving a lot of positive acclaim and is being heard quite a numerous amount of times. The simple yet effective video with the embossed lyrics works wonders with the new orchestration of the track. The song has been slightly altered but maybe you can explain to the readers what actually happened and is the message getting across through such a promotional motion picture?
 
The song was changed into more symphonic. Some instruments were added to make the song sound bigger. As for the video and will it get the message more across... i dont know, to be honest. The emotoion will come through live, most probably, I think.
 
 
The song that you will be taking to the stage in Baku, Azerbaijan translates into 'Listen' and the actual depiction I got from the performance during the Eesti Laul which I covered was that even a pin drop could be heard because the absolute silence from the crowd whilst performing the song was stunning in itself. Normally, there might be some figgiting but the clear production in the song along with the silence of the audience put you in the best position to send out the message. Have there been any discussions on the way that you will be presenting it on stage during the actual showcase where millions of viewers from all over the world will be tuning in?
 
As I have said earlier – less is more. Many participants will use a lot of visuals and effects and so.. we’ll make the best of the situation there but nothing too much, the song will speak for itself.
 
Would you like to say anything to your fans and our readers at escflashmalta.com
 
Take care and thanks for your support!
 
Published in Interviews