Estonia is always one of my favorite countries to watch in the Eurovision Song Contest – they do a great job of melding their country’s musical history with music trends to present entries that often have a little bit of a retro or classical flair. Sometimes this works really well – “Goodbye to Yesterday” was one of my absolute favorites two years ago – and sometimes it doesn’t (see last year’s “Play”, which I also liked, but most of Europe didn’t, finishing in last place in its semifinal). This year, they’ve given what feels like a Eurovision throwback – a pretty straightforward male-female duet from Koit Toome and Laura called “Verona”
I find this song growing on me with each subsequent listen, but my main concern is if it’s too much of a throwback. Other recent contenders with similar structure (Romania’s “Miracle” from Ovi and Paula immediately comes to mind, as does Denmark’s “A Moment Like This” from Chanee & N’Evergreen as long as we’re throwing it back) have qualified to the finals, but they’re not placing as high as they once were.
Another issue that bugs me here is enunciation. Laura’s a little mush-mouthed in the opening of this performance, and while the lyrics reeeeeeeeeeeally aren’t important in a good Eurovision song, it’s still important that they be somewhat clearly sung. The staging on this also feels dated in a bad way – this isn’t a modern song by any means, but a lot of the tricks being deployed here feel like they’re from 4 or 5 different other performances rather than doing anything super original. I’d love to see this one make the final since it’s a lovely performance, but I think it might be a little too stuck in the past to get there.