It’s going to be a year of changes for Estonia! Despite insisting on their annual selection mechanism Eesti Laul, the Estonian national broadcaster ERR has now announced several significant innovations on the procedure that is going to crown the next representative of the country at the Eurovision Song Contest.
Live semi-finals with more participants; Grand Final on 16 February
These changes aim at “bringing the show closer to the people”, says Tomi Rahula, the new Head of Eesti Laul. That’s the reason for the semi-finals to take place for the first time outside the country’s capital Tallinn and get concert dimensions. However, “negotiations are still in progress”, according to him.
The forthcoming Eesti Laul 2019 will be consisting of two semi-final shows, which will be airing live for the first time. So far, the semi-finals were recorded and broadcast a few days later by ERR, while a live televoting process was taking place. The semi-finals will be held on 26 January and 2 February respectively, with the competition’s Grand Final scheduled for 16 February.
Another innovation for 2019 is that the number of semi-finalists is expanded from 20 to 24 (12 at each show), while a total of 12 acts (from 10 to date) will fight for the Eurovision ticket at Eesti Laul’s final.
Participation fees introduced
All the names of the selected semi-finalists will be revealed on 15 November, however their entries will be released at a later date, on 4 December. The entries’ authors are not permitted to partially or fully release content from their songs before the broadaster’s official release date.
When it comes to the lyrics of the proposed songs, the authors of Estonian songs will have to pay an application fee of 25€, while the authors of songs in other languages will be paying a double fee of 50€. This happens in order to encourage native artists to submit entries in their own language. Foreign authors are also welcome to join the competition, along with Estonians.
Tomi Rahula stated that he introduced the above mentioned changes with the support of his collaborators and the most important songwriters that have participated in the Estonian national competition. Moreover, he added:
The first thing to do is to go along with the times. There are still some updates you need everywhere. There’s a small innovation here in Eesti Laul.
Estonia at Eurovision 2018
Following the 10th edition of their national selection show Eesti Laul, Estonia selected the soprano singer Elina Nechayeva to fly the country’s flag in Lisbon with the Italian-lyric song La forza. With her deep voice and her characteristic projection dress, Elina became quickly one of the year’s clear favourites for the top positions, even for the victory.
In Lisbon, she participated at the first semi-final of the contest in May and easily went through to the Grand Final, where she earned a total of 245 points which were enough for her to end up 8th, one of the best Eurovision results for Estonia the current decade.