Estonia gives strong rehearsal

by Richard West-Soley 89 views

With only three more rehearsals to go before the end of the day, it was Estonia's turn to take the stage as Sandra Oxenryd and her team performed Through my window for the first time in OAKA.

Sandra appeared in white thigh boots, with a pink top and white hotpants – the second set of hotpants of the day after Tina Karol's performance earlier! Her backing crew – one male and four female vocalists – were largely in white today, and start the performance standing behind Sandra on raised parts of the stage. Two of the singers remain on mics, but three, including the male dancer (who starts off holding a guitar which he quickly loses), join Sandra below as the song progresses.

The routine is very much like the presentation from the Estonian semifinal performance, and looks great on the stage in Athens. The backdrop is bathed in hot pinks, yellows, purples and reds, which is set off perfectly against the pink and white of the costumes, although the exact dress on the semifinal night may change.

Powerful vocal performance
Sandra's voice is tremendously powerful – perhaps too powerful at times, as there seemed to be problems with the music and voice levels at first – but she gave a belter of a performance to the hall. A good group of Estonian fans and press were on hand to give her the first cheers of her Athens experience, and they seemed more than happy with the performance. Sandra made sure to thank them at the end of the rehearsal.

Whitest smile of the contest
The young singer must surely win the prize for the whitest smile of the contest, which she flashes to great effect as she works the camera extremely well. She certainly looks very happy to be here, and that vibe comes across both on stage and screen. The final camera shot is looking to be a very effective mobile one, which zooms in on Sandra and the assembled dancers as they sing the last couple of bars.

An international affair
The Estonian head of delegation, Juhan Paadam, made a special point of the international nature of this year's Estonian participation. Not only is Sandra Swedish, but the delegation has Russian, Norwegian, Latvian and of course Estonian members. Estonia was represented by a Swede in 2002 as well, though Juhan made clear that Estonians have no problem with foreign representation. He rather ironically retold the joke that everything in Estonia comes in ones – one great composer, one great singer, and so on, so looking outside is a necessity! On a serious note, though, he did add that the outside competition is a challenge to young Estonians to reach the same level of professionalism. As for this year, Estonians will wait for the result to give their true verdict on foreign singers!

Sandra explained how she was discovered when the songwriters stumbled upon her website and listened to some of her tracks. The Estonian entry Looking through my window is a demanding piece of music which requires the singer to command a great range from low to high registers, so the job of finding a singer was particularly tough. On listening to Sandra, writer Pearu Paulus knew they had found their perfect voice. In fact, the same group of people who pointed the writing team in the direction of Sandra also discovered Swedish Sahlene for the Estonians in 2002.

Have I or haven't I?
Sandra shared some comical recollections of winning the Estonian Eurolaul with the assembled press. After the final douze went to the by then victorious Sandra, she cheered, then promptly sat down, clearly waiting for more. In fact, as she didn't understand Estonian, she had no way of knowing whether the voting was over, and through nerves had forgotten to count the number of points and juries! After finally realising, she accepts proudly the opportunity to represent her new adopted country, which she does with all the effort and seriousness that she would if it were her homeland.

Diggi-loo through my window
The members of the delegation had a chance to share their favourite Eurovision Song Contest memories with the hall, and Sandra was very quick to add her own – Diggi-loo diggi-ley, the fun-pop Swedish winner of 1984 – and she treated everyone to an a cappella version of the Herrey's hit!

Although she did not manage to promote the song internationally as much as she had wished, she hopes that fans ofThrough my window will pass on the good news by word of mouth and that itwill be publicised that way. She is over the moon for the support of Estonians who have travelled to Athens, and hopes to pick up lots more fans while she is here.

Juhan Paadam was brimming with confidence of success and praise for the Estonian team this year. It certainly didn't disappoint at rehearsal, and Sandra is very happy after watching it through in the viewing room.The delegation hope it can only grow stronger with Sunday's rehearsal!

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Richard West-Soley

Senior Editor

Richard's ESC history began way back in 1992, when he discovered the contest could fuel his passion for music and languages. Since then, it's been there at every corner for him in some way or another. He joined the esctoday.com team back in 2006, and quickly developed a love for writing about the contest. In his other life, he heads the development team at the learning resources company Linguascope, and writes about all aspects of language learning on the site Polyglossic.com.

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