Post Mortem – In our next look at the countries that did not make it through to the grand final this year, Eurovision Times contributor Jane looks at the fortunes of Estonia’s Jüri Pootsmann. Jüri sang ‘Play‘, with music by Stig Rästa, Vallo Kikas, Fred Krieger and lyrics by Stig Rästa, Vallo Kikas, Fred Krieger.
It seemed like the dream team: 21 year old Jüri Pootsmann, fresh from winning Estonian ‘Idol’ and ‘Best Male Act 2015’, teams up with Stig Rästa and the writing team behind Estonia’s successful 2015 Eurovision entry ‘Goodbye To Yesterday‘, wins Eesti Laul and heads for Stockholm with the sophisticated pop ballad ‘Play’. So how come Estonia crashed out of Semi-final 1 in last place with a measly 24 points, the worst ever result for an Estonian song? Did ‘Play‘ deserve such a harsh result?
First let’s look at the votes Estonia did, and didn’t, get in Semi-final 1.
- In summary, Estonia was not given an especially rough ride by the juries, but kept slipping out of the points when placed mid-to-lower table.
- Estonia was awarded a total of 9 points from 6 juries, and finished last in the jury vote.
- 7 juries placed Estonia in 11th or 12th position, well off last place but not high enough to score.
- Only 1 country out of 20 (San Marino) placed Estonia last.
- Looking at individual jurors, 40% of jurors placed Estonia in their top 10, indicating that they would award points. Unfortunately in several countries these were offset by one or two jurors bringing the score down enough to take Estonia out of the points zone.
- Only 4 jurors out of 99 placed Estonia last.
- In summary, the Estonian entry failed to connect with the public and this is reflected in the poor televote results.
- Estonia was ranked 16th out of 18 countries in the televote, and only 3 countries gave points, Finland (12 points), Azerbaijan (2 points) and Moldova (1 point).
- Half of Estonia’s total 24 points came from the Finland televote. Finland are close geographical and cultural neighbours and the top score of 12 points for the televote is not a surprise. Without it Estonia’s result would have been an even sorrier sight.
- 4 countries placed ‘Play‘ in their bottom 3 for the popular vote.
Pre-show analysis and expectations
Jüri was a popular performer and before the semi-final Estonia was expected to qualify by most of the press and fans, although some expressed doubts about the casino staging, double breasted suit and cheap looking card trick. Song quality was never in doubt, and the retro pop ballad style was considered a strength by Jüri, because it stood out.
The intention was to create a playful interplay between Jüri and the audience, using sparkling eye contact; and to use the stage technology to create a big space: the Bond Casino concept. (1st press conference.)
Jüri was reported as having some vocal problems during the Jury Semi-final, which may explain in part his low score from the juries.
During the televised show tweeters commented on some negative features of the production:
- I’m getting “I look nice on the outside but at home I microwave cats” vibes from you #EST
- #est reminds me of an intimidating babyfaced Ken doll
- It feels wrong when someone who looks 12 is singing seductively to me
- Singer or serial killer
- #EST I feel like I’m trapped in a deck of cards
The reaction was not good from the public, Jüri came across as creepy, and the contrast between his youthful looks and the retro staging was awkward.
In hindsight there was a lack of awareness by the Estonian team about the retro styling.
Estonia’s poor result did not come from poor song quality, although reports are there were vocal problems in the Jury Final. Juries on the whole marked the song mid-table, but rarely high enough to break into the points. The retro staging and Jüri’s performance seems to have been the biggest factor in stopping people picking up the phone and voting.
Review: Jane Taylor