05 April 2018

La Forza / Elina Nechayeva / Estonia | Review

And so we arrive at one of the favourites - according to the bookies - of the 2018 Eurovision season. Despite a couple of non-qualifiers over the last two years, Estonia has always felt as if it produces quality entries and that the country is just marking time until it achieves its first victory since its 2001 win. Through the Eesti Laul national final - ostensibly Estonia's mini version of Sweden's Melodifestivalen - it has cultivated a notable collection of decent entries.

Elina Nechayeva | Estonia | Eurovision 2018
Elina Nechayeva
Elina Nechayeva arrives at her Eurovision semi-final with particularly impressive qualifications: in 2016 she graduated from the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre with a Master's Degree in classical singing. It's no surprise then that her national final scores were equally remarkable – she blew away the competition on each occasion that the juries and public were given the opportunity to vote. In fact her song, La Forza, earned 70% of the super-final televote; a landslide would be an understatement.

With that in mind, it’s not difficult to understand why her odds have shortened so quickly. La Forza is a very dramatic classical-crossover song – bringing operatic pop and Elina's soaring soprano voice to the Eurovision arena. Add to that a spectacular staging at Eesti Laul - where she "borrowed" Aliona Moon's 2013 dress - it's then not surprising that the video of her performance has already amassed more than one million YouTube views.

Flag Estonia
There is a concern that remains, though. Can a song of this type triumph at Eurovision? Many will remember that Amaury Vassili was one of the hot favourites in 2011, only for him to fail spectacularly when the votes were announced. Other classical-crossover examples from the likes of Sweden 2009 (La Voix) and Romania 2013 (It's My Life) also scored worse than anticipated.

It’s a bit of a mystery what it will take for the first real classical breakthrough, although I feel Il Volo's Grande Amore from 2015 had more of a hook than La Forza and that nearly turned the trick. Perhaps, the audience just wants a winner it can simply hum along to later? However, Jamala's 1944 somehow kicks that theory into the long grass!

It's tough to predict this one though, but right now Elina's effort feels as if it could power its way into the Top 5.

Artist: Elina Nechayeva
Song: La forza 
Semi-Final 1 | First Half

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