The Ukraine national final has been hit with drama. This week broadcaster STB discovered that hackers had boosted votes for a number of songs in the online wildcard. Tech experts have removed the suspicious votes, giving the wildcard vote a new leader.
While the broadcaster will internally select most of the competing entries for Ukraine’s national final, one act will go straight to the final thanks to the online wildcard.
From 1 September, the public has been able to listen to and vote for their favourite songs on the broadcaster’s website. But a recent investigation revealed that computer bots had been artificially boosting the voting numbers of some entries.
On Tuesday, tech administrators of the Ukraine Eurovision website discovered a suspiciously large number of votes had been made on the platform. It became clear that hackers had used bots to boost the voting numbers for some entries. The dirty deeds were obvious: the visitors making the rogue votes had spent less than one second on the page – impossible for a human to do.
Voting was suspended while the hack was investigated. The broadcaster’s security team cancelled the suspicious votes, meaning that the two leading entries —Kuznetsov’s “Deep Shivers” and Aghiazma’s “Zombie Dogs” — had their totals reset to zero. The voting process has also been tightened to ensure a similar hack can not be carried out in future.
It’s not clear whether the hacked votes were directly organised by the competing artists, whether it was done by misguided fans, or whether it was the work of a rival artist attempting to discredit their competition.
The adjusted Ukraine wildcard votes now put Denis Povaliy in the lead with his love song “Written On Your Heart”. The wildcard vote runs until 10 January, and winner will join the successful acts from three previous heats at the grand final on 28 February.
Ukraine wildcard new top five (12 November)
- Denis Povaliy – “Written On Your Heart” 10,202 votes
- One Light inside – “Stay” 1754 votes
- Legenda Folium – “My Space” 1638 votes
- Alex Angel & Lady Gala – “Running For Love” 1145 votes
- Nataliya Pylyponyuk and Joan Cerezo – “Ukraine Serenade” 1110 votes