1) The Result
A satisfying result for Estonia in 2022, with “Hope” by Stefan closing the grand final and finishing 13th overall.
2) The Process
Opting not to repeat the lengthy process of Eesti Laul 2022 with its quarter-finals, the Estonian broadcaster went for two semis, each sending six entries to the grand final held a few weeks later. Alika won both the jury and public votes quite comfortably.
3) The Artist
20 year-old Alika Milova won the Estonian version of Idol a couple of years ago, although she has participated in various talent contests from a young age. This is her fourth single.
4) The Song
Big piano ballad with some strings. It’s not an unusual style for the contest, but it stands out in this year’s line-up and Alika performs it very well.
5) The Verdict
The first verse of this song reminds me strongly of Dutch band The Gathering in around 2003-2006, before singer Anneke van Giersbergen left. If all this means nothing to you, look up their song “Forgotten” (as just one example) and you might get what I mean.
In any case, I think this is a reasonably strong entry and if we had juries it would be sailing through with a good chance of repeating last year’s performance. However, it ventures a bit into technical excellence rather than emotional connection at times. The lyrics become anodyne when she starts singing about building bridges and all that rather than the more confessional earlier verses. Still, the bits that I like, I like a lot.
My ranking: 15th