Tere Eurovoxxers! The popular Estonian national final, Eesti Laul, is creeping closer and closer, its now under a week away! The semi-finals are due to take place on February 18th and 20th, the Grand Final is scheduled to take place at the Saku Suurhall in Tallinn on March 6th, hosted by comedian Tõnis Niinemets and presenter Grete Kuld.
Estonia at Eurovision
Prior to the 2021 contest, Estonia has participated at the Eurovision Song Contest twenty five times since their debut in 1994. Estonia has won the contest once, in 2001 with the song Everybody performed by Dave Benton, budding rock singer Tanel Padar and 2XL. Since the EBU introduced semi finals in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2004, Estonia has managed to qualify for the final a modest seven times.
A bit of Eesti Laul history
Eesti Laul, formerly Eurolaul, was introduced by Estonian broadcaster ERR with the intention to produce an Estonian contest, with Estonian music being presented to a wider European audience. The national final has produced four top ten placings for Estonia at the Eurovision Song Contest. The winner of Eesti Laul has been chosen by televoting and panels of jurors since its debut. The competition makes a considerable impact on music charts in Estonia and neighbouring countries including Latvia, Lithuania and Russia.
The introduction of semi finals in 2011 raised the potential number of contestants from ten to twenty. Tourism in the Estonian capital Tallinn has increased considerably since the introduction of the Grand Final being held at the Saku Suurhall. Announced in September 2018, lead producer Tomi Rahula made various changes to the 2019 contest including an entry fee for artists and composers who wish to submit their work and the fee is halved for entrants wishing to perform in the Estonian language.
So...Who are the semi-finalists?
Twelve artists will be battling it out in each semi final for a place in the Grand Final. Six artists from each semi final will progress to the Grand Final.
Formerly named Up The Sky, Alabama Watchdog are a rock bad from Tallinn, Estonia. They have tried to enter Eesti Laul in the past, but to no avail. They will be competing 10th in the second semi final on February 20th with their entry Alabama Watchdog.
Andrei Zevakin & Pluuto
Andrei Zevakin is an Estonian performer, songwriter and YouTuber. He competed in Eesti Laul 2020 as a songwriter with Uudo Sepp’s entry I’m Sorry I Messed Up, also appearing in the music video.
Pluuto is an Estonian rapper who is making a name for himself and gaining mass popularity in the Estonian music scene.
IG: @andreizevakin & @poisspluutolt
Egert Milder is an Estonian singer and songwriter. You may recognise him from Eesti Laul 2020 where he competed with the song Georgia (On My Mind) and placed 4th. He also competed in Eesti Laul 2015 alongside Estonian pop princess Liis Lemsalu with Hold On, which placed 7th in its semi final. This will be Egert’s fourth appearance at Eesti Laul, as he was a songwriter for Kéa’s 2016 entry Lonely Boy.
Gram-Of-Fun are an Estonian 80’s inspired band with indie influences who have toured far and wide around Estonia and performed at popular national festival Tallinn Music Week. The band consists of Kristel Aaslaid (vocals), Martin Kuut (keyboard), Kostja Tsõbulevski (bass), Raul Ojamaa (guitar), Jaan Jaago (drum machine) and DrPhilGood (DJ).
Hans Nayna is a singer, songwriter and performer from Mauritius. His journey started in the Estonian music industry when he was visiting his girlfriend in Estonia and the travel restrictions due to COVID-19 came into force, making it difficult for him to leave the country. He decided to make his debut in Estonia by teaming up with local musicians to create his Eesti Laul 2021 entry, One by One.
Helen Randmets, better known as Helen, is an Estonian singer and songwriter who has been prominent in the Estonian music industry for some time. She will be competing in the second semi final on February 20th with her entry Nii kõrgele.
Heleza is an Estonian singer and songwriter who has performed at many festivals and concerts across Estonia over her career. She will be competing 8th in the second semi final on February 20th with her entry 6, which has captivated Eesti Laul fans by using a mix of both French and Estonian lyrics in the song.
Ivo Linna, Robert Linna and Supernova
Ivo Linna represented Estonia at the 1996 Eurovision Song Contest with Kaelakee hääl alongside Maarja-Liis Ilns and came in 5th place in the final, hosted in Oslo. He also competed in Eesti Laul 2017 with Suur loterii, achieving 5th place.
Robert Linna is Ivo Linna’s son, and this is the first time we will see them perform together on stage, alongside Estonian band Supernova with their entry Ma olen siin.
IG: @ivolinna & @supernovaeesti
Jüri Pootsmann is an Estonian singer and songwriter from Raikküla. He became prominent in Estonia when he won the sixth season of talent show Eesti Otsib Superstaari.
After winning Eesti Laul 2016 with his song Play, he flew to Stockholm to represent Estonia at the Eurovision Song Contest that year. After his performance, he achieved 18th place in the first semi final, failing to qualify to the Grand Final.
Jüri returns to Eesti Laul 2021 with Magus Melanhoolia, performing 11th in the second semi final on February 20th.
Kadri Voorand is an Estonian singer, pianist and composer based in Tallinn. She has performed at a number of festivals across Estonia, including Tallinn Music Week.
Kadri will be competing 3rd in the second semi final on February 20th with her entry Energy.
Karl Killing is an Estonian pop singer who is a newcomer to the music scene in Estonia and the Eesti Laul stage. He has played concerts and festivals across the country, and is the only artist at Eesti Laul 2021 with just himself as the songwriter and producer of his entry, Kiss Me.
Karl will be performing 6th in the first semi final on February 18th.
Ketter Orav, better known professionally as Kéa, is an Estonian singer and songwriter based in Tallinn. She is known for competing at Eesti Laul 2016 with Lonely Boy, placing 9th in the final.
Kéa will be performing 4th in the first semi final on February 18th with her entry Hypnotized.
Kristin Kalnapenk is an Estonian acoustic and pop singer, fitting mostly into the indie and indie-pop genres. She is a newcomer to the Eesti Laul stage, but has performed at numerous festivals and acoustic sets across Estonia.
Kristin is performing 11th in the first semi final on February 18th with her entry Find A Way.
Koit Toome is an Estonian singer and musical actor from the country’s capital city, Tallinn. He has represented Estonia twice at the Eurovision Song Contest, his debut being in 1998 with Mere lapsed and his second appearance was a duet alongside Laura Põldvere in 2017 with Verona.
His debut Eurovision performance achieved 12th place in the final, whereas his second appearance in 2017 failed to qualify to the final, finishing 14th in the semi final.
Nika Prokopjeva, better known professionally as Nika Marula, is a singer, songwriter and performer who is known in both Estonia and Russia. She has competed in both The Voice and X-Factor in Russia, reaching the live stages in both.
Nika competed at Eesti Laul in 2018 with Knock Knock, achieving 9th place in the final. She will be performing 7th at the first semi final on February 18th with her entry Calm Down.
Rahel Ollisaar, known professionally as Rahel, is an Estonian singer and songwriter based in Tallinn and is a newcomer to the Eesti Laul stage. She has performed at a number of festivals and gigs in Estonia, and released singles as a soloist.
Rahel will be performing 6th in the second semi final on February 20th with her entry Sunday Night.
Redel are an Estonian musical duo from Tallinn by Kristjan Oden and Indrek Vaheoja. Kristjan and Indrek participated at Eesti Laul in 2013 as part of Winny Puhh with their entry Meiecundimees üks Korsakov läks eile Lätti.
Redel will be performing 5th in the second semi final on February 20th with their entry Tartu.
Sissi Nylia Benita, known professionally as Sissi, is an Aruban-Estonian singer based in Tallinn. She is the daughter of Dave Benton, who is known for taking Estonia’s first win at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2001 alongside Tanel Padar and 2XL.
Her father’s musical talents have definitely rubbed off on Sissi, as she has competed in Eesti Otsib Superstaari and also competed in Eesti Laul 2019 with Strong, achieving 4th place in the final.
Sissi will be performing 1st in the second semi final on February 20th with Time.
Suured Tüdrukud are an Estonian disco duo made up by Kaire Vilgats and Dagmar Oja. They are newcomers to the Eesti Laul stage, however they remain widely popular through all age groups in Estonia.
Kaire and Dagmar will be performing 12th in the second semi final on February 20th with their feel-good disco song Heaven’s Not That Far Tonight.
Tatjana Mihhailova-Saar, better known as Tanja, is a Russian-Estonian pop singer born in Kaliningrad. As a child she participated in many song festivals across Russia, Estonia and Ukraine. Tanja entered Eurolaul (now Eesti Laul) with Nightlight Duo in 2002 with Another Country Song taking 2nd place and in 2003 with I can b the 1 taking 4th place.
In 2014, Tanja won Eesti Laul with Amazing and competed at the Eurovision Song Contest held in Copenhagen, Denmark the same year. She did not qualify for the grand final, achieving 12th place in the first semi final.
Tuuli Rand is an Estonian singer, songwriter and performer from Kuressaare, Saaremaa, Estonia. She is active and prominent in the Estonian music industry as the lead singer of TuuliKustiPeep, Funkifize, Bliss, Estonian Dream Dixieland and vocal ensemble Söörömöö.
Tuuli participated in Eesti Otsib Superstaari and made the studio rounds, but not the finals. She performed twice in Eesti Laul 2013 – once with Liisi Koikson and Söörömöö with Üle vee and secondly with Teele Viira and Ring The Alarm, finishing 5th and 10th respectively.
Uku Haasma is an Estonian singer, songwriter and guitarist. His musical career kickstarted when his father gifted him a bass guitar when he was young and started a band with his friends from school.
Uku will perform 7th in the second semi final on February 20th with Kaos.
Uku Suviste is an Estonian singer and songwriter from Võru. He rose to prominence in 2005 when he performed on popular Estonian singing contest Kaks Takti Ette and placed 3rd. In 2010 he took part in Russia’s largest song contest New Wave and also finished third.
In 2018 he competed in the 7th season of The Voice Russia and was coached by Ani Lorak, and was eliminated in the semi final.
He has competed in Eesti Laul three times in total. In 2017 he competed with Supernatural and came 7th in the semi final, failing to qualify. In 2019 he entered with Pretty Little Liar and reached the superfinal, placing 2nd. In 2020, he entered with What Love Is and eventually won the contest overall along with the ticket to Rotterdam to represent Estonia at Eurovision 2020.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this didn’t go ahead. Instead, Uku was offered automatic selection to the semi finals for another chance to go to Rotterdam with The Lucky One.
Wiiralt are a country-rock band based in Tallinn, Estonia. They have played numerous festivals and gigs across the country and gained a large fanbase. The members of Wiiralt are Marta Arula, Mikhel Uba, Vahur Krautman, Hans Pikani, Martin Saaremägi, Sander Nommistu and Siim Tyrnpuu.
Wiiralt will be performing 3rd in the first semi final on February 18th with Tuuled.
...And that's a wrap!
So there is your low-down of all 24 Eesti Laul 2021 semi finalists! Don’t forget to catch the semi finals live on February 18th and 20th, you can watch them on the ETV website. As always, Andy’s reaction to the Eesti Laul 2021 songs is below!
Who are your favourites to qualify to the Eesti Laul grand final on March 6th? Let us know in the comments below or on our social media!