In this year’s Eesti Laul – the national final of Estonia, the creativity and courage of the Estonian music scene has proven another time. In no other country there is such a variety of different music styles reflected in the national final compared to the population of the country. This year the choice of the Estonian public and jury felt to the former “Sexiest Man” (2010) Uku Suviste.
Uku was born in Võru – a village in the South East of Estonia in 1982. Early is joined the Tallinn’s Boys Choir and learned to play the piano. Later he studied pop and jazz singing in Tallinn and went to the famous Berklee College of Music in Boston. Uku participated in festivals and contests as a band member or solo singer e.g. the New Wave Festival and The Voice in Russia. Uku also sang in musicals Oliver Twist", "Chicago", and in "West Side Story". In his career he also had two previous attempts in the Eesti Laul, with “Supernatural” he did not reach the final in 2017, but with “Pretty Little Liar” Uke achieved a second place in the final.
The co-composed love song “What Is Love” for this year’s ESC in Rotterdam, sounds like a song from a musical, actually it has been inspired by a musical theatre:
"I was meant to be alone But how can you know how a star looks If you've never looked at the sky I couldn't have told you what blue is Till I looked into your eyes"
Among all the songs of this year’s Eesti Laul, “What Is Love” is the most ordinary. A lot of people have been surprised that Uku made it with this song to represent Estonia in Rotterdam, while the other contributions have been more creative and original. The composition has been too weak for the international competition and a qualification for the Grand Final has been seen unrealistically. Due to the Corona crises the 2020 ESC has been cancelled. Uku will not be nominated directly for the 2021 ESC, as the Estonian broadcaster ETV is planning another Eesti Laul.
Finals: 16 (7 since 2004)
Top 10: 11
Chances for Top 10: 42%
Chances for Final: 41%
Estonia had the 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 slots for the ESC in Millstreet, Ireland 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, which could inspire other participating countries. This year, there won’t be the ESC, it would have been the 26th entry for Estonia. The Baltic country could make it into the Grand Finals successively the last two years, with even an 8th place by Elina Nechayeva and the opera song “La Forza” in 2017. Furthermore there have been many strong and memorable songs with good placings, and often Estonian entries were able to qualify for the Grand Final. Statistically the chance for a place in the final is at 41%. Estonia reached the Grand Final 16 times and even reached a Top10 position 11 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, but not always like this year.
1x 1st place “Everybody” | Tanel Padar, Dave Benton & 2XL (Copenhagen 2001)
1x 3rd place “Runaway” |Sahléne (Tallinn 2002)
1x 4th place “Once In A Lifetime” |Ines (Stockholm 2000)
1x 5th place “Kaelakee Hääl” |Ivo Linna and Maarja-Liis Ilus (Oslo 1996)
3x 6th place “Diamond Of Night” |Evelin Samuel and Camille (Jerusalem 1999) “Rändajad” |Urban Symphony (Moscow 2009) “Kuula” | Ott Lepland (Baku 2012)