Steve Roman, ERR News
Ott Lepland has beat out nearest rival Lenna Kuurmaa to take the top spot in the Eesti Laul, the national competition that determines Estonia's Eurovision Song Contest entry.
In the competition's final round, held in Tallinn's Nokia Concert Hall on March 3, the two contenders scored the highest marks in a 50-50 combination of jury and televoting. The two then faced each other in a televoting "Superfinal," which ended with Estonian viewers picking Lepland's romantic ballad "Kuula" (Listen) to represent Estonia in Baku this May.
The song received 67 percent of the over 46,000 votes cast in the last televoting round.
Immediately after the win, ERR News asked Lepland how he thought his heartfelt, romantic ballad with minimal stage effects would fare in the traditionally glittery world of Eurovision.
"Ninety percent of the Eurovision Song Contest is built on the TV show, what people see on TV, and my song is more concentrated on the music. I believe that's the difference and I believe that's the thing that [will make] the song memorable to the people of Europe," he said.
He also said that his team had yet to decide whether they would present the song in Estonian or English at the international contest.
The Saturday night event was hosted by well-known comic actors Tiit Sukk and Taavi Teplenkov. The pair filled the time between acts with a fake contest to find the "Truest Estonian," in which they lampooned various Estonian social stereotypes from ultra-nationalists to ultra-vain style babes.
For her part, last year's Eesti Laul winner, Getter Jaani, spared local audiences another full rendition of "Rockefeller Street" and instead opened the show with a flashy, new number called NYC Taxi, which may present a danger to epileptics and small pets.
As many as 159 hopefuls submitted songs to this year's Eesti Laul, an event designed as much to showcase new local talent as it is to fill the nation's Eurovision slot.
The next step for Estonia's entry is presentation at the Eurovision's second semifinal on May 24.
Ott Lepland Wins Estonia's Eurovision Final