Eesti Laul

Eesti Laul
(The Estonian Song)
Genre Pop music, etc.
Location(s) Estonia
Years active 2009–present
Founded by Eesti Rahvusringhääling (ERR)
Website ERR official site

Eesti Laul (English: 'Estonian Song' or 'The Song of Estonia') is an annual music competition organised by Estonian public broadcaster Eesti Rahvusringhääling (ERR). It determines the country's representative for the Eurovision Song Contest, and has been staged every year since 2009. The contest was introduced in 2009, replacing the former Eurolaul festival, used since Estonia's first participation in Eurovision in 1993. Since its introduction, the competition has been one of the most popular television programmes in Estonia; it is also broadcast on radio and the Internet. In 2012, the semifinals averaged 199 thousand viewers, and over an estimated 296 thousand people in Estonia watched the final. The contest was introduced by ERR, the organisers of the contest, with a different philosophy on the contest used previously. Eesti Laul was introduced to produce an Estonian contest, with Estonian musical tastes being presented to a European audience. The contest is also an open one, with all information of the songs being revealed in the selection process.[1]

The festival has produced four top-ten placings for Estonia at the contest. The winner of the Eesti Laul has been chosen by televoting and panels of jurors since its inception. The competition makes a considerable impact on music charts in Estonia and neighbouring countries.

The introduction of semifinals in 2011 raised the potential number of contestants from ten to twenty. The festival is very well known for its alternative rock and electro-pop songs which make the contest more diverse than other Eurovision national finals, so it is sometimes referred to as Alternative Melodifestivalen by the media and the Eurovision fans. The introduction of a grand final hosted in Saku Suurhall has attracted substantial tourism to the city.


Most of rules are dictated by those of the Eurovision Song Contest. However, regulations have been introduced by the Estonian broadcaster. The competition's official rules are released by ERR early in preparation for each year's Eesti Laul, to ensure any changes are noted by songwriters and performers.

There is a limit of six people on stage for each performance. All vocals had to be completely live; human voices are not allowed on backing tracks. Entries usually are not publicly broadcast until the songsare previewed on television. Until 2017, competing songs were only permitted if they were written by all-Estonian team. Since 2017, foreign collaborations were allowed as long as 50% of the song authors were Estonians. Artists and songwriters were allowed to submit up to three songs each with an exception to this rule for songwriters who participated in songwriting camps organised by the Estonian Song Academy.


The twenty selected songs in the contest are shown to the Estonian public through two semi-finals. From each semi-final, five acts get through to the final show. The winner is selected through two rounds of voting: the first round selects top three songs, selected through both jury and televoting; the second round selects the winner from the three songs through 100% televoting.


The first winner of Eesti Laul was Urban Symphony with the song "Rändajad", beating the televoting favourite Laura in the first round.[2] At Eurovision, the group changed Estonia's previous fortunes at Eurovision, qualifying to the final (3rd of the semi-final, with 115 points), and placing 6th in the final with 129 points.

The most recent winner of the contest is Elina Nechayeva with her song "La forza".

Year Song Translation Artist Songwriter(s) Position in ESC Points in ESC
2009 Rändajad Nomads Urban Symphony Sven Lõhmus 6th 129
2010 Siren Malcolm Lincoln Robin Juhkental Failed to qualify
2011 Rockefeller Street Getter Jaani Sven Lõhmus 24th 44
2012 Kuula Listen Ott Lepland Ott Lepland, Aapo Ilves 6th 120
2013 Et uus saaks alguse So there can be a new beginning Birgit Õigemeel Mihkel Mattisen, Silvia Soro 20th 19
2014 Amazing Tanja Timo Vendt, Tatjana Mihhailova Failed to qualify
2015 Goodbye to Yesterday Elina Born & Stig Rästa Stig Rästa 7th 106
2016 Play Jüri Pootsmann Fred Krieger, Stig Rästa, Vallo Kikas Failed to qualify
2017 Verona Koit Toome & Laura Sven Lõhmus
2018 La forza The strength Elina Nechayeva Mihkel Mattisen, Timo Vendt, Ksenia Kuchukova, Elina Nechayeva 8th 245


This list includes those who have acted as presenters of Eesti Laul. In 2009, there were two presenters for the first time. Since semi-finals inceptions various people were presented the shows.

Year Presenter(s)
2009 Henry Kõrvits and Robert Kõrvits
2010 Ott Sepp and Märt Avandi
2011 Piret Järvis, Lenna Kuurmaa (semi-finals)
Piret Järvis, Lenna Kuurmaa and Ott Sepp (final)
2012 Piret Järvis (semi-finals)
Tiit Sukk and Taavi Teplenkov (final)
2013 Anu Välba and Marko Reikop (all shows)
2014 Helen Sürje and Henrik Kalmet (semi-finals)
Marko Reikop and Henrik Kalmet (final)
2015 Helen Sürje and Indrek Vaheoja (semi-finals)
Marko Reikop and Henrik Kalmet (final)
2016 Henry Kõrvits and Maris Kõrvits (semi-finals)
Ott Sepp and Märt Avandi (final)
2017 Elina Nechayeva and Marko Reikop (semi-finals)
Ott Sepp and Märt Avandi (final)
2018 Kristel Aaslaid and Martin Veisman (semi-finals)
Ott Sepp and Meelis Kubo (final)

See also


  1. Floras, Stella (14 October 2008). "Estonia: New name, new format, new dynamics". ESCToday. Archived from the original on 15 October 2008. Retrieved 13 June 2009.
  2. Floras, Stella (7 March 2009). "Tonight: Estonia selects for Eurovision". ESCToday. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2009.
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