The Estonian entry this year is a phenomenon! Even weeks before the national final has been taking place the mighty winner of this year’s ESC has been declared by the bookmakers already: “La Forza” by Elina Nechayeva. How can this be? Among the fan media this song has been highly praised so that the bookmakers might have been convinced that an opera song could win the ESC.
The Estonian national final “Eesti Laul” is one of the coolest pre-decisions in Europe since years. As the Estonians are very creative and talented in composing, so the Eesti Laul is a great platform for enthusiastic songwriters and singers to show their creativity. It can be noticed that the winning entries have mainly been songs which were a bit more conservative to please a wider audience recently. This is probably due to the jury votes. This year was no exception in the choice of songs and arrangements. So it was no surprise that the highly favorited opera song “La Forza” could win easily. Even the international jury picked this song as the favourite.
Elina Nechayeva was born in Tallinn, Estonia 1991. Her family is Estonian, Russian and Chuvash descent. That’s why Elina is fluently speaking Estonian, Russian, English, French and Italian. She wanted to become an astronaut initially. Instead Elina graduated from the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre with a master's degree in classical singing. She has become a highly respected opera singer in soprano and performs around the world after her participation in the “Eesti otsib superstaari” show and the ETV competition “Klassikatähed” in 2014. Elina loves Mozart and Tchaikovsky, but she is also delighted to mix opera music with contemporary genres like pop. Last year she hosted the Semi Finals of the Eesti Laul together with Marko Reikop.
The Estonian entry “La Forza” will be sung 100% in Italian. This is nothing new to the ESC to sing in another language than the native one. It’s always been a decision of the national broadcaster together with the composers and lyricists to choose the appropriate language. Furthermore it is a free choice of language since years. The song “La Forza” is about a star which guides through life to believe in when you are weak.
This entry will definitely polarize, either you love it or hate it. And of course it will absolutely fall out of the ordinary in Lisbon. The opera-like song reminds a lot the songs of Sarah Brightman’s singing style. But opera has never really worked at Eurovision. There serval attempts, but it will never convince all of the juries and especially televoters to grant a victory. Furthermore it’s still in question if the spectacular outfit with the lift from the Tallinn stage can be realized in Lisbon as well. It’s a matter of cost and a matter of technical realisation. The composers are also no strangers to the ESC: Mihkel Mattisen and Timo Vendt both have also composed the Estonian songs “Et Uus Saaks Alguse” in 2013 (rank 20) and “Amazing” in 2014 (rank 12 in the Semi Final).
For the 200 million expected TV spectators, such an opera-pop song will be a big surprise, a great moment of entertainment. But it’s hard to believe that this song will be played on the radio stations later on. Nevertheless, Elina’s glass clear voice will be highly recognized and the juries may vote for this. Can this song enchant the entire Europe and Australia?
Finals: 14 (5 since 2004)
Top 10: 11
Chances for Top 10: 36%
Chances for Final: 33%
Estonia had its debut in the year of 1994. In the year before there has been an international pre-selection, which was held in Ljubljana, Slovenia to choose the songs for three open spots for the ESC in Millstreet 1993. The Estonian entry “Muretut meelt ja südametuld” sung by Janika, could not achieve one of the higher placings, with the effect that Estonia debuted one year later with Silvi Vrait and “Nagu Merelaine”, who made a disappointing 24th place with only 2 points.
Nevertheless the Estonians really became Eurovision enthusiasts over the years with lots of good songs and a great enthusiasm. This year in Lisbon, Estonia is celebrating it’s 25th anniversary in the ESC. Unfortunately, the last two year, Estonia did not make into the Grand Final anymore. Neither Jüri Pootsmann with “Play” in 2016, nor Koit Tomme & Laura with “Verona” could bring back Estonia into the Saturday night show. But there have been many strong and memorable songs with good placings, and mostly Estonian entries can qualify for the Grand Final, statistically the chance for a place in the final is at 33%.
Estonia reached the Grand Final 14 times and even reached a Top10 position 9 times! In 2001 the big dream came true: Tanel Padar and Dave Benton could win the ESC; this was the first time that Estonia could achieve a victory and the also the first time of an Eastern European country at that time. The victory of Davel and Tanel was a big surprise for the most of the viewers, the bets place Estonia in the middle field. At the end the soul dance number “Everybody” has been shining and convincing the most. The year after the Estonian broadcaster ETV has organized a wonderful event in the capital of Tallinn.
The Estonian national final is called “Eesti Laul” and has brought many contemporary and experimental music into the spotlight. In this event all music genres can be found, and some of them make it to Europe thanks to the ESC.
Publisher, Editor, Journalist
About me: My first Eurovision Song Contest I watched behind the walls of the former GDR in 1987. This was even possible at that time! Since then I am following the ESC every year on TV. In 2004 I had the chance to watch it live in Istanbul. Due to the fact that Jens and Bernd have collected many interviews, photos, etc. the idea came up to show all this contest to the public. We founded the website eurovisionlive.com and we have been one of the first to offer the medium internet for the Eurovision Song Contest.