The first half of the first round of the Estonian Song Contest, Eesti Laul, the prelude to Eurovision, will air tonight at 21.45 on ETV. As Eurovision is a welcome chance to leave good taste, manners and professionalism at home, ERR News's staff has taken the liberty to offer its own thoughts on tonight's contenders.
The first number after the comments (on a 10-point scale) are how much the editor liked the song in question. The second number is a estimate of the song's suitability for the Eurovision contest, a Eurovision-Suitability-Score (ESS), if it were to advance.
What are your picks for tonight?
SA: Not terrible, but not memorable. Five minutes later, I can't remember what it sounded like, other than a woman sang it. (5, 4)
KK: Standard computer-generated Eurodisco fare, not doing any favours to Tanja’s voice. Ctrl+Alt+Delete, moving on. (3, 8)
JML: Steering-wheel drumming traffic-jam music at best. Add pyrotechnics and short skirts and it could pass the Eurovision semifinals. (5, 8)
SA: If this was the Oscars, it wouldn't win Best Picture, but something like a technical award for Best Use of a Synthesizer. (6, 4)
KK: A few hooks shy of a catchy unpretentious electro-pop song. Like the vocals, but ultimately a snooze. (6, 5)
JML: If it wins I can see many hipsters using it as a ring tone. Do people still do that? (6, 3)
SA: This band has a lead singer with a compelling voice, a nice ballad, and a group of members who appear to have a modicum of musical talent. This song doesn't have a prayer. (7, 5)
KK: The extra points they gain for music they lose for the lyrics. “Resignal is being so hard”. Really? I know this is Eurovision, but still - really? (5, 6)
JML: Another example of typical Estonian music – talented musicians, awful song writing. (4, 2)
SA: Was this song on the Shaft movie soundtrack? (6, 7)
KK: As far as production quality and personal tastes go, it’s the best of the bunch. (8, 7)
JML: The Chorus merits a mention, but the song is too unemotional for Eurovision. (4,3)
SA: This, quite possibily, is the musical fruit of years of being beat up for your lunch money in high school. (4, 4)
KK: Like a puppy trying to lick my ears. No, for the love of God, no. (4, 8)
JML: I really hope there is a person called Sandra, and she appreciates these kinds of songs. Otherwise it's a wasted effort. (2, 2)
SA: Now, if the lead singer was wearing the Darth Vader helmet, you would have Eesti Laul gold. Instead, we get the whitest Ice-T wannabe performance of the new millennium. In the video, the female chorus woman seems to be bolted to the floor. Let's see if she regains some mobility tonight. (5, 4)
KK: Take one tablespoons of early 1990s house, a sprinkle of dubstep, mix it with faux-naive lyrics, add flat female vocals, let it simmer for five minutes, throw in the trash bin. (4, 7)
JML: VÖÖRAD has many similarities with Estonian athletes in Sochi: they try, but not very hard, no high expectations, suspicion of drug use. (3,7)
SA: What is it with all the sci-fi shoutouts in this year's acts? First, we have Darth Vader. Maybe-Maybe gets the Coneheads to join them. Otherwise, a decent Neil Young cover band. (6, 6)
KK: Echoes of "I Feel You" by Depeche Mode descend into a grating chorus. Not bad. (7, 7)
JML: Extremely suitable to play in the backdrop of a bar fight in a western-type saloon, but it's a 'no' for Eurovision. (4,3)
SA: I'm certain the lead singer will have a certain cachet among a particular segment of the Eesti Laul demographic. But as for the music, August Hunt might as well be named "Hell Hunt", as in "Gentle Wolf". A safe tune, without any risks or standout elements. I do wish I had his hair. (6, 6)
KK: Hello, Hall. Hello, Oates, meet your bastard grandsons. (4, 6)
JML: The good news for August Hunt is that half of the Balkan nations have pulled out of this year's competition. So there will only be 5-10 songs exactly the same. (3, 9)
SA: A nice tune, with a certain "just crawled out from behind the Jaanipäev bonfire" style. This is so anti-Eurovision, it might actually find some legs in the largest contest. But can it find one in Eesti Laul voting? (8, 8)
KK: Like with Jaan Pehk’s Valss, we may have another runaway hit among the four-to-five-year-old demographic on our hands. Chances of winning depend on the generosity of parents across the country. (5, 5)
JML: A nostalgia song that breaks out when a group of friends reminisce the good old times, while sitting around a fireplace drinking beer. Not as catchy as their previous Euro-attempts, but should make it to the final round of Eesti Laul. (7, 3)
SA: Lenna's a known quanity in Eesti Laul and Eurovision contests. From those in the know, this wasn't the strongest track on her latest album. But maybe being Eesti Laul royalty will give a boost in the polling. (7, 6)
KK: She always seems to be singing just one song and not a particularly memorable one at that. Still, I guess that’s her thing and third time lucky, perhaps? (5, 6)
JML: Can't put on a Eesti Laul contest without the nation's sweetheart. The strongest song of the first semi-final, and I love the word “purpur” (crimson) from 0:59 on the track. (9, 5)
SA (Scott Abel): I like Kõrsikud, Lenna, and State of Zoe to be in the mix with the voters, while I'm holding out hope for Wilhelm. As for what the judges think, who the heck knows (Winny Puhh and Laura finishing second in their respective years because of the judge's input were travesties). And with most Eesti Laul contests, whomever wins in the end, we will all probably lose.
KK (Kaisa Kaer): At the risk of sounding astoundingly original, I think I will go and listen to some Winny Puhh now.
JML (Juhan-Markus Laats): Hoping for a stronger second semi-final. Only Lenna merits a mention as a contender, but as last year, her song is completely useless at a Eurovision final. Kõrsikud will go through, as well as August Hunt (the hair, as Scott pointed out), State of Zoe (for quality) and Tanja (a ton of radio-play).