Looking back at the history of Estonia at Eurovision, it is clear that the nation has some incredibly strong vocalists. One of the performances that always stood out was Kuula, a powerful ballad performed by Ott Lepland. The entry dominated the national final, but that doesn’t always equal Eurovision success – but in this case, it led to a Top 10 finish for the nation.
The song itself ticks all the boxes of a classic ballad, from the tinkering of the piano to the way it builds over the duration of the song. There’s nothing worse than a ballad peaking too soon, leaving nothing new for that final minute. That’s not that case for Kuula. The build up to the peak is executed incredibly well, and that final minute really hits the mark.
What I really love about this performance, is that Ott really commits to the vocal performance for the entire three minutes, giving 110% but yet managing to really keep the highs and lows. In comparison to the national final performance, he really pushed further to extend and elevate those big notes. It’s not just an empty display of vocal strength, but a real show of emotion. It always amazes me listening to a song in a language I don’t understand, yet I feel the emotion just purely through the interpretation. I also think this performance is a great example of great backing vocal support, with the backing vocals coming in at all the right times, and never overpowering.
Visually, the performance worked well. A well performed ballad doesn’t need gimmicks, and Estonia kept it simple for this performance. Even though Ott didn’t always completely connect with the camera, you could still feel a connection as a viewer.
Overall, this is certainly one of Estonia’s best Eurovision entries. Even though it’s been almost a decade since this song was performed on the Eurovision stage, it still stands strong today. For me, this is absolutely worthy of a 10/10.
Artist: Ott Lepland
Final Ranking: 6th in the Final