ERR, the Estonian national broadcaster, has revealed that all three shows of Eesti Laul 2021 will take place in Tallinn.
The semi-finals of Eesti Laul 2021 will take place in ETV studios in Tallinn for the first time since 2018. This decision has been made due to the current Covid-19 restrictions on gatherings in Estonia. Tõnis Niinemets, who will return to present Eesti Laul for the second consecutive year, explained during an interview on the ETV evening show Ringvaade:
“We’re trying to see if this old and slightly depreciated TV studio can withstand this crowd. Due to the current situation, we can’t be sure that we can let the audience into the hall. That’s why it’s definitely easier for us to do it all ourselves.”
If the current guidelines are relaxed by then, the organisers hope to hold the final in Saku Suurhall, host venue of Eurovision 2002 and the venue of the Eesti Laul final since 2016.
Tõnis is also looking for a new co-presenter. Last year, he presented the contest with singer Karl-Erik Laukar:
“It was undoubtedly a very pleasant and fruitful collaboration, but life goes its own way. I can’t speak for Karl-Erik until the end, but this year I know that he will not be presenting with me. Everything is very good. We’re still good friends and meet up from time to time but this year things overlapped and he had to make a choice to do other things.”
Ringvaade proposed three candidates for the position of co-presenter, all of whom have Eurovision connections; Dave Benton (winner of Eurovision 2001 alongside Tanel Padar and 2XL, Annely Peebo (co-host of Eurovision 2002) and Uku Suviste (winner of Eesti Laul 2020). agreed to consider the first two. Tõnis replied that he would only consider the first two, as Uku could possibly be a participant in Eesti Laul 2021, as he is guaranteed a semi-final spot if he submits a song.
The submission window for Eesti Laul entries will close on November 6. However, the participation fee is now €50 for Estonian-language songs and €150 for songs in other languages. According to Tõnis, almost a hundred songs have already been but he added:
“Most songs will arrive in the last week, so I invite everyone who is able to write songs to still send them.”
24 songs will be chosen for the semi-finals on Feburary 18 and 20. 12 songs will then qualify for the Grand Final on March 6. All three shows will be broadcast live. The 24 semi-finalists will be revealed no later than November 12, with their entries being presented no later than December 5.
Uku Suviste was selected to represent Estonia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 with the song “What Love Is” before the contest was cancelled.
Estonia in the Eurovision Song Contest
Estonia debuted in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1994 alongside six other countries. At the contest in Dublin they were represented by Silvi Vrait, who finished 2nd last scoring just 2 points. In 2001 Estonia won the Eurovision Song Contest for the only time to date. They were represented by Tanel Padar, Dave Benton & 2XL, who performed the song “Everybody” and took a surprise victory in Copenhagen. After the success of the late-90s and early 00s, Estonia failed to qualify for the final from 2004-2008. In 2009 Estonia launched a new selection show, Eesti Laul, and has since qualified for the final six out of ten attempts.