Eesti Laul judge: Song contest shows quality of Estonian music

Vaido Pannel.
Vaido Pannel. Source: Kairit Leibold/ERR

On Wednesday evening, the 20 semi-finalists of 2023's Eesti Laul, the annual song contest to determine Estonia's Eurovision entry, were announced. Vaido Pannel, who was a member of the jury that decided which songs made it this far in the competition, believes Eesti Laul is a great platform for showing off the quality of Estonian music.

"We have people who know this stuff really well and do it brilliantly, and we also have people who can learn very quickly from what's going on abroad," said Pannel on morning radio show "Vikerhommik."

Pannel pointed out that popular music styles from around the world occasionally seem to take over the Eurovision Song Contest and, in his view, there seems to be an increasing shift towards rock music. "If people vote for it, the critics can't say anything. My opinion is always, that no matter what an artist does, they are always right. Even when they are not right," said Pannel.

One thing that did surprise Pannel about this year's Eesti Laul entries was the apparent lack of refinement, particularly when it came to singing in English.

"Maybe (singers) should listen to their songs a few more times and share them with other people before sending them out. If the diction is incredibly bad when singing in English, listeners in Estonia, as well as those around the world, will understand that, and it won't get you any points."

However, Pannel stressed that there were also a lot of good songs that were really polished. "The vast majority of those are in the semi-finals," he said.

All the songs selected for the semi-finals of Eesti Laul will be heard for the first time on December 2 in a special show on ETV.

The semi-finals themselves are set to take place on January 12 and 14. Both semi-finals have two rounds, with the winner of the first round decided by the jury along with votes from TV viewers. The winner of the second round is decided by the viewers alone.

The final of Eesti Laul 2023 is scheduled for February 11, with the winner earning a chance to compete at next year's Eurovision final, which will be held in Liverpool, UK in September.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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