Ever since the Eesti Laul concept was launched five years ago, the main point of this contest has been to showcase different styles of music and genres rather than to find any typical eurovision entries. You can safely say that the aim has been successful this year.
It has really worked out well internationally as well. All Eesti Laul winners but one have made it to the ESC final, two of them ending in more than honourable sixth places.
As for these songs, I have only heard them and not seen any performances beforehand, so there could be a few surprises coming up tonight.
01. Tanja - Amazing
It is pretty inevitable that a powerful winner will influence entries for years to come. After Abba's victory there were loads of groups consisting of two boys and two girls at the ESC, now there are plenty of songs that wish they were Euphoria. Once you disregard the obvious source of inspiration, this proves to be a catchy number with good vocals. A good opener.
02. The Titles - Flame
This is a nicely produced song that will probably suit many radio stations perfectly. Modern and pleasant but too lacking in dynamics to make an impact in this kind of contest.
03. Wilhelm - Resignal
If you ignore that the lyrics are nothing but a bunch of random words seemingly thrown together without any deeper thought, this is an interesting piece of music that builds up nicely. Personable but probably too demanding.
04. State of Zoe - Solina
Another modern effort, aimed at the dancefloor rather than the radio airplay charts. Heavier, rougher, sharper edges. Good but not charming enough to win through.
05. NimmerSchmidt - Sandra
An intriguing mix of laidback vocals, 80's synthesizer sounds and an amusing saxophone thrown into the mix. Simple but effective pop, easily retainable with a good hook.
06. VÖÖRAD - Maailm on hull
Ridiculously catchy party rap in Estonian over a dance-friendly backing track, completed with a singalong chorus by a female vocalist. Their press pictures suggest this could visually be silly in a good way, and this is probably the dance song to blow the other similar tracks away tonight.
07. Super Hot Cosmos Blues Band - Maybe-Maybe
Another new genre, more country-flavoured than any of the other songs. Another pleasant, radio-friendly effort and yet another good voice. Catchy but ultimately too simple to stay interesting for three minutes.
08. August Hunt - Kus on EXIT?
I was smitten by August Hunt when they took part in Eesti Laul in 2012 and am very happy to see them back. This is another energetic and infectious little number, very true to their own style, and I find myself smitten again.
09. Kõrsikud - Tule ja jää
Also Kõrsikud stay true to style and offer a melodic little song, delivered with very smooth voices. I would have hoped for more of a hook somewhere, but these is an enjoyable entry all the same.
10. Lenna - Supernoova
The former Vanilla Ninja vocalist tried her luck as a soloist for the third time after being runner-up twice. The big question is if this is her time lucky with an elegant and sophisticated soft rock track, reminiscent of some of Ines's best tracks. Tonight's winner.
Tobson predicts: I would perhaps not call this a prediction as Estonians are known for working in mysterious ways and being full of surprises. But the five songs - based on audio versions only - I would select for the final are Tanja, NimmerSchmidt, VÖÖRAD, August Hunt and Lenna.
Chances are that Tanja or VÖÖRAD will be left out in favour of the Kõrsikud. I can live with it. But Lenna must be in, or something is seriously wrong with this contest.
The songs can be heard at the Eesti Laul website, and the show begins at 20:45 CET.