I never fully understood why so many people love Eesti Laul however each year I always have a great respect for the winner. While the winner might not exactly always be a potential winner each year Estonia very often offers us something quite different from the rest of the pack. Eurovision 2012 so far appears to be shaping up to be one of many different songs however Estonia’s choice of Kuula by Ott Lepland was a good one [regardless of what I may have said earlier].
Ott certainly appears to be able to pull off the song really well. His convincing vocal performance gives the complex song real credibility. I understand that Ott is rather popular in Estonia. This all helps Estonia’s entry so far. The performance is quite simple and reminds me of Eddie Friel’s performance for Ireland in 1995 [Except the song is much better]. The decision to keep it in Estonian is a great one as it adds huge depth to the song. Ott performs this really well and emotionally. The big problem with the song is that it looks like it will deliver a big crescendo ending but then falls flat. This is probably the only thing I have against the song. [Trivia fact: Kuula meaning listen is also the same as the word Chuala in Irish, which is the past tense of to listen].
The biggest problem that this song faces is being in semi-final 2. That semi-final looks to be shaping up to be one which will have fierce competition for jury votes with many Balkan ballads, a piano ballad for Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Portuguese entry. If the song was in semi-final 1 I’d say it would have a good qualification chance.
Verdict: This is a really great choice from Estonia but will probably be overlooked in a ballad oriented semi-final. Personally I am a fan of it but I am unconvinced it has all the ingredients to overcome the competition. However as Tobias over on Tobson In Euroland pointed out it offers something to those who listen, I’m just unconvinced that people will actually listen.