It was supposed to be a night of celebration. But instead, Uku Suviste‘s victory at Eesti Laul 2020 has been marred with controversy. That’s because many fans have questioned his margin of his victory in the superfinal. The “What Love Is” singer received over 33,500 televotes. That put him well ahead of the other superfinalists — Jaagup Tuisk (7,944 votes) and Anett x Fredi (7,690 votes).
Suviste also led televoting in the first round by a similarly large margin. In that round, he received over 16,000 televotes, versus 5,259 for fellow superfinalist Jaagup Tuisk.
Eesti Laul 2020: Full results (Jury and Televote)
Speculation over the validity of these results came thick and fast.
One fan tweeted: “Sorry, but IMO very fishy that Uku got 33k votes. You really want to say there were that many votes for Uku for a call at €1.60. Not butthurt, just very confused.”
Sorri, aga imo VÄGA fishy, et Uku 33k häält sai. Te tahate päriselt öelda, et nii mitu korda hääletati Uku poolt kui ühe kõne hind on 1,60e ??¿?
Not butthurt, lslt väga confused
— Sidni ? (@sidniihh) March 1, 2020
The issue of mass SIM card voting has also been raised. In our coverage of Eesti Laul results, one wiwibloggs reader wrote, “You can buy votes, use SIM cards, etc and keep it realistic.”
However, there is not actually any evidence to prove that this took place.
As we’ve seen in other national selections — such as Germany’s 2019 show — the fan favourite isn’t always the televote winner. The taste of Eurofans can frequently diverge from that of the audience who watches and votes in a show, especially when the demographics of a particular channel diverge from that of the typical Eurovision fan.
There are other potential explanations for Uku’s win. Some speculate that Russian-speaking voters may have turned out to support Suviste. He took part in The Voice of Russia 2018, where he was mentored by Eurovision 2008 act Ani Lorak. And, of course, voters simply could have liked his song the most.
Eesti Laul boss responds to voting allegations
Now Eesti Laul’s boss Tomi Rahula has been forced to respond. Speaking to Estonian outlet, Elu24, Rahula denies any anomalies in the televote. He said: “If there were 500,000 voters, there would have been doubts.”
Rahula adds that, “voting was only possible from Estonian numbers and as much as the voter’s wallet allows.”
An unprecedented margin of victory?
Uku garnered 68% of all votes cast in the superfinal. But large margins of victory are not unusual at Eesti Laul.
Last year’s winner Victor Crone won the superfinal with 46% of the vote. And Elina Nechayeva – who won the competition in 2018 – won by an even wider margin than Uku. Her operatic entry “La forza” notched up 70% the vote. In total, she received over 43,000 votes. That haul was four times her nearest competition Stig Rästa. In 2017, Koit Toome & Laura won with 44,000 votes.
Looking at other domestic indicators, it would seem that Uku’s song has struck a chord with Estonians. It is currently #1 on Spotify’s Viral Chart and #4 on the overall chart. The performance clip is also the #1 trending video on YouTube in Estonia.
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Estonia’s #eestilaul winner @ukusuviste is trending! ?? His song “What Is Love” currently tops the Spotify Viral Chart in Estonia and is #4 on the Top 50 list. His performance video is also the #1 trending video on YouTube in his country. ? ? It’s great to see #Eurovision songs having an impact ? #ukusuviste
What do you make of the voting? Let us know in the comments below!