The submission deadline for Estonia's pre-Eurovision song contest passed Monday as a record 219 songs were entered to the national Eesti Laul competition.
Whereas it has become a bit of a tradition that most entries arrive only minutes before the deadline, this year proved exceptional for the number of early entries.
The yearly number of submissions has grown since the competition launched seven years ago. With this year included, a total of 1,128 songs will have have been submitted to the contest.
Eesti Laul producer Heidy Purga said that the large number of submissions is a compliment to the production team. "We can conclude that Eesti Laul is a unique opportunity and musicians can also keep arranging their plans around this event in the future. But it is also a sign that there is a lack of other opportunities for artists to market their music via television."
Mart Normet, the head of ETV's entertainment division added: "With only a small exaggeration we can say that everybody is represented - there are old, well-known artists but also new talent. The contest will be awesome."
The 20 semifinalists will be announced on Thursday evening. The semifinals and the final will take place in February. The winner will represent Estonia in the Eurovision Song Contest, scheduled to be held in Vienna, Austria, starting on May 23. Estonia's entry this year at the contest held in Copenhagen, Denmark, Tanja's "Amazing", did not advance to the finals.
Tanel Padar and Dave Benton won Eurovision in 2001 with their song, “Everybody”.