ESC 2017 Review: Estonia – Turned to Drama

I LIVE IN ESTONIA BTW. And I wanted to Kerli to win so you know I’m not really that biased.

These are my own PERSONAL rankings of what I think of 2017’s Eurovision songs but I’m also going to make some bold predictions about the eventual fate of the song. These will probably be very wrong for a variety of reasons including I have no idea what almost half the artists sound like live or what type of staging and song changes could be made. There’s plenty of songs that have been let down by their staging (2016 Spain for example) so in the end they’re just guesses in the dark.

Country: Estonia
Artist: Koit Toome & Laura
Song Title: Verona
My Ranking: 9th (out of 43)
Semi Final: 2nd Semi Final
Final placement prediction: 17 of 26

Estonia! The singing nation! Last year’s absolutely tragic take down of Jüri Pootsmann aside, Estonia has done very well in Eurovision since they threw their hat in the ring back in 1994. A nation of just about 1.3 million people, they’ve won Eurovision once back in 2001 (the only time a POC has won Eurovision) and they also have 9 respectable top 10s. They’ve sung as much in Estonian as in English which is the interesting fun fact and our winners this year beat legend Ivo Linna and most noted Estonian export to America, Kerli. Hoping to regain some of the magic from 2015’s 7th place, this time we again have a duo with a little bit of magic. (Estonia sends a lot of magic tricks for some reason).

Our Estonian representatives this year are Koit Toome & Laura. Both of them have been to Eurovision previously as well. Koit, 38, and with a long career behind him went to Eurovision back in 1998, placing a very respectable 12th. Koit is a singer and voice actor who has worked with other Eurovision notable Getter Jaani (Estonia 2011). He’s spent a great deal of his time in musical theater in Estonia and has also done dubbing work. Laura (Põldvere) was at Eurovision in 2005 with the group Suntribe, but they failed to qualify that year. Laura has several albums and over a dozen singles and is an accomplished sing-er. She had previous tried out for Eurovision in several years as well but her second chance didn’t come until this year.

I have to say that nearly every act in Eesti Laul, Estonia’s national selection, was really top notch and Verona is quite a fun song. A lot of people have complained saying the song sounds very early 90’s and dated but I think it at least has a bit of a modern twist. The song is very easy to listen to and goes by quickly. I actually love the song and I’m amused by the stilted English lyrics which only make it more endearing to me. The song at least has something to say and it feels both super dramatic but you can also can dance to it. Which is honestly a great mix of things of styles of Eurovision – not just a ballad, not just a pop dance song.

The song is actually also catchy with a repetitious chorus that has some (maybe too much) vocalization. The problems with this song start to show in the live version though. As flashy and cool as a lyric video is to highlight a simple and easy going song, the staging at the national final was both too low key and also completing ripping off past Estonian Eurovision entries. Especially the disappearing act at the end which mimics the last duo from 2015. As good as that was I believe peoples memories aren’t that short and it won’t play well to do an encore of the same trick from the same country.

The other problem that I have with this song is that it highlights Laura a lot as sort of the starting singer but it turns out that unlike most classical duos, she is a way worse singer than Koit. Her vocals are extremely nasal to the point I assumed she was very sick until I listened to the studio version where she basically sounded about the same and it comes off to me as a little annoying or cloying. Koit has quite a good voice despite being one of the oldest singers in this year competition so much so that he could give some of the youngsters a run for their money. Since we haven’t seen any more live performances since March my hope is that they’ve been working diligently on their vocals as well as looking more like a team effort out there rather than two people picked at random.

Also please give Laura a dress that she can move around in.

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