Eesti Laul 2021 Odds Review
Odds are now available on Estonia's selection Eesti Laul. Despite 'you-know-what' the format is the same with two semi finals taking place on the 18th and 20th February before a final on March 6th.
Eesti Laul is one of the national finals that has a returning artist from 2020 taking part. Uku Suviste has been a regular in Eesti Laul and frankly won last year's competition with a far weaker song than he performed in 2019, which finished second to Victor Crone's Storm that year. Uku did steamroll the final though, taking nearly 4/5ths of the votes in the three song superfinal last year.
Uku is favourite (best price 2.5 with CoolBet), and his 2021 song The Lucky One is an improvement on last year (if, again, not his 2019 entry). Uku is incredibly photogenic and likeable, and a solid performer, and rightly he is the most likely to get to Eurovision from this list.
It's no certainty though, and there are two other previous winners in the mix as 2nd and 3rd favourite. Koit Toome (best priced 6.0 with CoolBet) is going for his third visit to the Song Contest, and is much beloved by the Estonian people - comfortably more than Uku is. When he won most recently together with Laura and the song Verona in 2017, Koit and Laura got more votes than Uku in a more competitive final than the unknown names Uku was performing against when he won. From that I believe Koit's loyal fanbase is bigger than Uku's.
Koit's song, We Could Have Been Beautiful, may be a Eurovision ballad by numbers but the melody and phrasing is strong and Koit will have no trouble selling the material. Uku's story about not getting to go in 2020 just swings him to favourite in my eyes, but I do feel the gap between 2.5 and 6.0 is too large.
Jüri Pootsman, 2016 Eesti Laul winner (and last place in a Eurovision semi final) is third favourite (6.0 with Betsson and CoolBet) and is entering with a jazzy, lounge style track Magus Melanhoolia. It's very well done and Jüri's voice is one of the most mesmerising that I have ever had the pleasure to listen to live. That said, this song isn't ultimately competitive, at least with casual televoters, and with the superfinal usually 100% televote it will likely run out of steam, if it even gets that far.
The bookies see it as a battle between three veterans and while there is space for fresh blood to get some momentum, I find it hard to see anything coming close. Gram-o-fun (35.0 with Betsson) recaps really well and its joyful feel is a breath of fresh air against the favourites and their serious three minutes - a very important trait in 2021. Sadly it can't keep up that energy for the whole song, but fun and joy can't be discounted.
And for a mad punt I'll highlight Alabama Watchdog (125 with CoolBet). To my ears this is very palatable and competitive rock music that is a rare combination to find. It is such long odds because the lyrical content has been a source of controversy, and the lead singer's defence hasn't helped this (nor has his social media). Yet Estonia is a nation that has people in parliament with, let's say, alternative views of society, and a decent televote may follow. One would though expect based on the drama that any jury would slaughter this.
Should some good semi final odds appear (there are exchange markets, but they are not populated yet) I may reappear with some insight into those at a later date.