Estonia: New name, new format, new dynamics

by Stella Floras 79 views

A few days after the change of guard in the Estonian headquarters was announced, with Heidy Purga taking over from Juhan Paadam as executive producer of the local Eurovision Song Contest projects, a landslide of changes has been announced by ERR. The well-known Eurolaul is no more, having been replaced by Eesti Laul 2009 and an entirely different philosophy in the way Estonia will be approaching the selection of their representatives henceforward. The country's final has been scheduled for 7th March 2009.

Heydi Purga, executive producer of Eesti Laul 2009, explains the change from Eurolaul (Eurosong) to Eesti Laul (Estonian song): "Because our purpose is to change the nature of that competition, we had to change name as well. We expect and hope that musicians will send us songs that associate with themselves and suit Estonian musical taste. Musicians must not lose their personality because it is an international competition and become some kind of "euro product". In addition we wanted to organise an open competition and let the jury know who they are listening to and who the composers are", and she concludes: "And if one day there will be decision that we don't want to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest any more, then Eesti Laul could continue as a important music event in Estonia."

ERR have launched an open call for songs for all Estonian residents, the closing deadline is 8th December. This time the jury who will be making the initial shortlisting will know all the names of the creators of the songs unlike past years. The jury will select ten of the songs until 11 December which will be announced on the same night on an ETV special show.

The ten finalists will be presented to the Estonian public through a series of televised shows: "It will be the biggest TV-show series which will promote local pop-music" says Head of Entertainment Mart Normet. "Hopefully we can now and in the future offer the best Estonian song to Estonian people." The introductory live show will be broadcast 7th February, three more shows will follow on February 14th, 21st, and 28th. The Final of Eesti Laul 2009 will be held in March 7th 2009. The exact method of voting will be announced at the latest February 7th 2009 and the running order will be announced at the latest February 28th 2009.

The rules of the Estonian preselection can be found here.

Special thanks to Martin Paberit for his assistance with the article.

Stella Floras

Thanks to Johnny Logan and Hold me now I fell in love with the Eurovision Song Contest, a love that's been going strong ever since with undiminished passion. My first memories date back to 1977 and the lyrics of Rock bottom, Dschinghis Khan and A ba ni bi are still engraved in my brain.

I joined in 2006 as a junior editor after being invited by Barry Viniker, I soon became Senior Editor and during the 2007 contest in Helsinki I was appointed Head of Communications. Today I hold the post of Head of Human Resources and I am proud to be working with the best editorial team in the world.