Last May a Lithuanian newspaper stirred controversy when it alleged that fraud had been conducted on behalf of Azerbaijan ahead of Eurovision. Well now it looks like the paper’s journalists can look closer to home for wrongdoing, as fraud allegations have been leveled against Eurovizijoscotnestant Martynas Kavaliauskas. As a result broadcaster LRT has disqualified Martynas and Lithuania will have one less choice in the upcoming elimination round on 15 February.
Here’s what went down. Last Saturday, the five remaining artists brought two songs each and were judged in a combination of jury votes and public televoting. The broadcaster noticed that most of Martynas’ votes came from the same provider—and that they came from the same phone numbers repeatedly. The broadcaster contacted the provider, which confirmed LRT’s suspicions that the votes were automatically generated. As a result more than half of the votes were declared invalid shortly after the show.
LRT stated that they will monitor and analyse the televoting more closely in the upcoming weeks to prevent possible fraud from happening again.
Martynas strongly denies the allegations: “These accusations against me are not true, I am in no way involved in controlling or manipulating the votes. I just want to thank the people for voting for me and I will try to defend my honour, in these show and elsewhere”.
And so the show goes on with four remaining artists:
Results from this show were:
1 Vilija Mataciunaite
(jury 21/televotes 1,355)
3 Monika Linkyte
4 Vaidas Baumila
5 Martynas Kavaliauska
(jury 15/televotes 655)
Daphne Dee contributed this report from Belgium. Follow her on Twitter @JacinthaD1. You can also keep up-to-date with the latest Eurovision news and gossip by following the team on Twitter @wiwibloggs and by liking our Facebook page