Estonia 1997


16 year-old Maarja-Liis Ilus will represent Estonia for the second year in succession, after winning the Eurolaul in Talinn on February 15th with 'Keelatud Maa' which apparently means 'Forbidden Land'.
The picture seen here is from this year's contest, and I hope to replace it with a colour one once the tape I have in converted from SECAM to PAL, but Maarja-Liis is in green.
Her 1996 entry was written by the team responsible for the other song she entered for this year's contest, 'Aeg'.
The lyricist of the 1996 winning entry, Kaari Sillamaa, also was behind 'Keelatud Maa', so Estonia seem to be trying a repeat run, after coming 5th in Oslo.
Song number 8, 'Yksik hing' came second.
There's now a full report below

The list for Eurolaul 97 was:

  1. AEG - Maarja-Liis Ilus, Hanna-Liina Vosa & Anne Varvimann (Priit Pajusaar/Kaari Sillamaa)
  2. HOMME - Tanya (Heini Vaikmaa/Heldur Karmo)
  3. KEELATUD MAA - Maarja-Liis Ilus (Harmo Kallaste/Kaari Sillamaa)
  4. LIIGA NOOR, ET ARMUDA - Hanna-Liina Vosa & Peauru Paulus (Ivar Must/Leelo Tungal)
  5. MEELETU SOOV - Pearu Paulus (Toomas Vanem/Annelie Toevere)
  6. PERPETUUM MOBILE - Kate (Aivar Joonas/Leelo Tungal)
  7. TANTSUPALAVIK - Code One (Mikk Targo/Kaari Sillamaa)
  8. UKSIK HING - Hanna Pruuli (Hanna Pruuli/Hanna Pruuli)

This list was found at:
See their faces on
...Tobias Larsson

And here is Tobias's report on the contest after seeing it on video:

Estonia chose its entry on Feb 15, in a live televised final held at Linnahalli in Tallinn. Eight songs were compeating, all performed live. ETV put together a good show this year, especially compared to the rather amateurish event last year. The show started with the orchestra playing the Eurovision anthem ("Te deum" by Charpentier), and a medley of the three previous winners of "Eurolaul".

The songs:

After this came the interval act - the same girl's school as last year, but this year with no horrible disco-rhythm and no Eurovision evergreens. The whole thing started with some lines from "The voice", but developed into something looking and sounding like a mix between a musical and a horror-movie... Funnily enough, Hanna-Liina Vosa took part in this as well, even though she was among the contestants.

After a short clip of each song, to remind the viewers what the songs sounded like, the pre-recorded voting went into action. Eight jurors in eight countries had listened to the songs, and now cast their votes:

Song:	  1	2	3	4	5	6	7	8
Spain	 10 	8	5	6	2	1	4	3

UK	 10	4	1	3	5	2	6	8

Italy	 10	1	6	8	3	5	4	2

Norway	 10	3	2	6	8	4	5	1

Sweden	  8	6	1	3 	10 	4	5	2

Germany	  8	3	5	4	1	6	2	10

Slovenia  8	10	3	6	1	5	4	2

Hungary   8	3	6	2	10	5	1	4
Total	 72	38	29	38	40	32	31	32
Place 	 1	3	8	3	2	5	7	5

So, the Estonians were in for a big surprise, as their favourite ended second last. This is also an interesting trend, when the jurors ignore the Irish influences and goes for something completely different. The winning song was composed by Harmo Kallaste with lyrics by Kaari Sillamaa. According to the composer, this version of "Keelatud maa" can only be seen as a demo version, since he had not foreseen the success, and had not worked to hard on the orchestration. Everybody involved will certainly work hard to improve this ballad for May 3rd.

Personally I can say that "Keelatud maa" is a good ballad, with a good finish, but probably a bit too ordinary to win in Dublin. It should secure Estonia a place in ESC 98, though. Another lucky aspect for Estonia in the draw, is that Poland (and quite probably Germany as well) will go for an up-tempo song this year, and so Estonia will be lucky enough to be the first in a (potentionally) long row of ballads drawn together.

The jurors were:

There should also have been a Russian juror, but it seems his tape with the songs failed to arrive on time for him to judge them.

more than pleased with the Estonian quality
Thanks, Tobias!

Why not revisit last year's Estonian contest at my attic site,
or see my report on Oslo 1996 with a picture of Maarja-Liis.

Internal links: