Koit Toome & Laura Põldvere have won Eesti Laul 2017 and will represent Estonia at the Eurovision Song Contest with “Verona.”
This year’s Estonian delegation is chockfull of Eurovision veterans. Koit Toome first represented his country in 1998 with the song “Mere Lapsed,” and later won Tantsud tähtedega, the Estonian version of Dancing With the Stars. Laura Põldvere was a member of Suntribe, which represented Estonia in 2005 with “Let’s Get Loud.” And “Verona” was written by Sven Lõhmus, the venerable Estonian songwriter behind “Let’s Get Loud,” “Rändajad” for Urban Symphony, and “Rockefeller Street” for Getter Jaani.
As you can probably guess from the title, “Verona” uses Romeo & Juliet as a metaphor for a romance gone bad, although one that doesn’t end quite as badly as the one in Romeo & Juliet, seeing as they are still singing. It’s sort of like using Sophie’s Choice as a metaphor for being unable to decide between the fish or the steak at a restaurant.
Anyway, Toome and Põldvere are solid performers and the staging for Eesti Laul emphasized theatricality. The camera angles and the editing and the visuals were all very smooth and professional and… well, cheesy. Like a camembert: mild, mainstream, slightly musty, but nonetheless tasty.
When we were watching Eesti Laul and the super final ultimately came down to “Verona” and Kerli’s mad electro-pop freakout “Spirit Animal,” we absolutely knew “Verona” was going to win. “Spirit Animal” had its issues, to be sure, but even if Kerli had nailed it, Estonians usually send the safe choice to Eurovision and keep the more interesting stuff for themselves at Eesti Laul.