Time for another Baltic nation that needs a turnaround in its luck. Estonia are relatively new to Eurovision, though even they have nearly 20 years in the game. Their first decade was a lot more successful, securing 6 top 10 finishes and more importantly took the contest to Tallinn after winning in 2001.
Things haven’t been quite so rosy since then. Aside from a top 10 finish in 2009’s Moscow, Estonia have a real problem qualifying.
More painfully, last year the wonderful Getter Jaani was the bookies’ favourite to win the Dusseldorf contest for quite a while, but were left with a rather humiliating and undeserved 24th place in the final. I really don’t get what went wrong there, it was a great song.
So what now? Uptempo didn’t work, so it’s back to that tried-and-tested ballad. Ott Lepland certainly looks the part, no scruffy-haired weirdo that often gets shoved onstage by Eastern Europe (actually that’s unfair, looking at some recent Western entries).
Seeing him for the first time in the preview video (see below), I think he needs a bit of work with his facial expressions, that sometimes look a little smug. Other times he pitches it well and pours some pain into what is a powerful and spine-tingling ballad.
He has a nice roughness to his voice, and gives me shivers when he sings some of the bigger “Kuula” notes. I wish I knew what this was about, hopefully about some heartache and loss, because it really communicates that to me as a non-Estonian speaker.
Oh, and I’m far to classy to talk about his ‘excitement’ at winning the Estonian pre-selection. So I’ll just post a picture of it. You’ll have someone’s eye out, Ott! OK not the clearest picture, but it happened.
Oh wait there’s a video! What a ridiculously long walk from the ‘green room’ to the stage!
As for their chances, well if I was a betting man I wouldn’t expect them to qualify based on their recent track record alone, but I hope they make it. I can’t see them doing more than propping up the bottom of the leaderboard though, in a year that seems quite ballad-heavy. Still, I will be pleased to see them do well.