The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — continues to rate and review the 41 songs that had been selected for Eurovision 2020. Next up, we take a look at the winner of Estonia‘s Eesti Laul Uku Suviste and his song “What Love Is”. Did we listen to his lesson in love? Read on to find out!

Uku Suviste – “What Love Is”

“What Love Is” reviews

Bernardo: “What Love is” is one of the cliché Eurovision ballads we are all used to. Uku provides the usual powerhouse vocal — a good one, in this case. But it’s not enough to elevate an average composition with average production. Channelling Omar Naber 2017 realness is not the way to go.

Score: 4

Deban: Uku builds a story on stage, whilst managing to keep the viewer transfixed. This isn’t an easy thing to do. Yes, elements of this are dated, and the song in general is somewhat needlessly theatrical. However, let’s not lose sight of his compelling vocals and the undeniable hook here. “What Love Is” has a charging melody that will leave you yearning for another reprise.

Score: 6.5

Pablo: Getting this out of the way, “What Love Is” was the weakest song of this year’s edition. It’s not that “What Love Is” has overused tropes, it’s how it does them all wrong. It’s not only sonically dated and lyrically cliché, it just feels… ill-conceived. The lyrics are very crammed, and it turn, Uku’s delivery becomes really sloppy and pretty much makes everything lacking. Live, lyrics, music — all of it comes short. Estonia may have previously been criticised for becoming overtly safe and sterilized, but it had yet to hit a low point. We’ve found it.

Score: 1

Renske: The chorus of “What Is Love” is so powerful, because Uku sings it with a lot of passion. Perhaps this song is a bit too much of Eurovision 2013 throwback or a Kirkorov concert hit for most Eurovision fans, but there is always a need for a great variety of songs, including simple and less bombastic ones. Although I love artsy entries, I think Eurovision would be boring without songs like “What Is Love”.

Score: 7

Sebastian: The glaring light in “What Love Is” is strong production over what is a bland song with clunky  lyrics that simply do not roll off the tongue. Uku, who has stage presence as a performer, is swallowed by a poor song that does not display his talents. Thankfully Uku can come back next year with a stronger song that showcases what we love about him. “What Love Is”, however, is not what love should be.

Score: 2

Uku Suviste – “What Love Is” rankings

In the Wiwi Jury we have 22 jurors but only have room for six reviews. The remaining scores are below:

Angus: 3.5

Antranig: 4.5

Åri: 3

Barnabas: 5

Calvin: 5

Esma: 6

Florian: 4.5

Jonathan: 5.5

Lucy: 2

Luis: 3

Natalie: 2

Oliver: 1

Robyn: 2

Ron: 5.5

Tobias: 4.5

Tom: 6.5

William: 6

We have removed the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. This is to remove outliers and potential bias. We have removed a low of 1 and a high of 7.

Wiwi Jury verdict: 4.1/10

What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!

See all our Eurovision 2020 reviews and rankings

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Doug
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Doug

THE best song of Eurovision 2020, in my opinion. All the rest were NOT good.

Josh Sterling
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Josh Sterling

I will give a 0.5/10 for this. This is the worst song in Eurovision I have ever hated, it’s my opinion

ESCFan2009
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ESCFan2009

Estonia – 6/10 (30th/41)

eurovisionaire
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eurovisionaire

The highest score was 7… i would´ve give this 9 or 10 😀

Polegend Godgarina
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abhorrent production, trite lyrics, nasal voice… the last thing i was expecting from estonia, a country that likes promoting itself as projected into the future. they dodged a bullet here.

Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

I feel bad for Uku that he tried three times to do Eurovision via Eesti Laul only for the pandemic to crush his dreams. However, his song this year probably wouldn’t have qualified for the ESC final. My honest advice would be to come back next year with a better/more modern song, then Uku’s dreams of doing well at ESC might actually happen. One more step, Uku.

Briekimchi
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Briekimchi

To be fair, I just watched this on the Eurovision home concerts and the version he delivered was SO much better. The instrumental wasn’t as dated and tired as the original. Maybe it had more chance of qualifying than I initially thought.

Fan From Texas
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Fan From Texas

I actually had this in my personal top ten before I saw the ESC Home Concert he performed of this song. It was wonderfully produced and he sings great live. Too bad more people haven’t embraced this song. It’s better than Tom Leeb’s song which with their revamp still haven’t landed at a palatable version. The only decent one is the liver version at the Tour Eiffel.

The Roop is On Fire
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The Roop is On Fire

He reminds me of Freddie and his song for some reason. Although this song kinda needs more power in my opinion.

Roelof Meesters
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Roelof Meesters

I love how this is the exact opposite of Switzerland when it comes to male ballads, Switzerland is pure emotion sung by a singer who experienced the pain in his song- whilst this one is formulaic, cheesy and very VERY generic. This is such a dissapointment from Estonia as they were one of the most interesting countries in the contest, but their last two entries were so generic. I want the quality that was 2009 back soooo bad right now. But, Estonia reached the top 10 in 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2018, so they must finish in the top 10… Read more »

Sirius
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Sirius

Dear Robyn, thank you for your article. Dear Renske, the concert you are referring to is a jubilee event of a Russian songwriter Dimitri Malikov. The song Kirkorov performed is actually a cover. While Phillipp has a lot of ballads, his songs are typically schlager/estrada pieces (a genre of music that was created in then-Soviet Russia in 1980’s as a fusion of Swedish and Italian pop). In Russia, he is often called the King of estrada which has become a euphemism as that genre is no more considered high-quality music. Here’s a more typical Kirkorov concert; you’ll see what I… Read more »

Colin
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Colin

ESTONIA – This is perhaps the most puzzling NF winner of this season. Surprisingly, this cheesy song won over a few very strong ones. Despite quite elaborated declarations of love, it feels as made of wax as the candles it uses as props. Uku is a very good singer, but I think that the focus here is on expression, not emotion. The chorus has a catchy ring to it, but one has to go through long and boring verses to get there. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad song, but it’s too formulaic and dated to be noted. That… Read more »

PP77
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PP77

Estonia,Moldova would be surprise qualifiers from 2nd semi 100% in final , in first maybe Slovenia with 50% chance

PP77
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PP77

Like Estonia 2013

Kristina1
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Kristina1

What does “dated” mean? A powerful ballad is a powerful ballad.
It is obvious that he was targeting older people and Eastern Europe audience.
For my mother that is Ukrainian this was by far her favorite song.
I think it’s time for fans to pay some respect to different musical taste and stop using stupid terms that don’t exist in music.

Mr X
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Mr X

Estonia 2/10

Héctor
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Héctor

Dreadful, bland, cheesy, basic, boring, dated… I could go on but by this point you’ve got it, right? At least he can sing and is a “serious” entry. Anyway, Kirkorov made it again. Hope someday he takes his hands out of Eurovision. 2. Australia – Montaigne – Don’t break me (8) 4. Romania – Roxen – Alcohol You (8) 5. Spain – Blas Cantó – Universo (8) 7. Bulgaria – Victoria – Tears Getting Sober (7.5) 11. Italy – Diodato – Fai rumore (6.75) 13. Slovenia – Ana Soklic – Voda (6.75) 14. Cyprus – Sandro – Running (6.75) 15.… Read more »

Richard
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Richard

Eyes 10 points, song 1 point

PP77
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PP77

Thanks to eyes, looking in final.

Briekimchi
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Briekimchi

It’s not good. I mean, I’m a little older so maybe it’s not as bad for me as some of you but still, I can’t believe that this is an actual entry from Estonia in ESC 2020. It’s something you might expect from Belarus or Moldova but Estonia really does have a better music scene than this. Unfortunately, Eesti Laul didn’t really show that this year. Every song that was half-decent, wasn’t performed very well and every entry that was performed well, didn’t have a particularly strong song alongside it. That opened the door for Uku and this. It’s tired,… Read more »

Colin
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Colin

Well, since Play was my favorite 2016 song, I’d definitely think this is much, much worse than that. 🙂 Also, I’d say there were plenty of great EL songs this year as well. If I were to retroactively rate them, I’m sure that Uku would be around the middle at best.
Thinking of it, Estonia has a pretty good track record on my annual lists. I believe this is the first Estonian entry of the decade not to be awarded at least a 6/10 mark, so that by default makes it the weakest one.

Briekimchi
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Briekimchi

I’m sorry to hear that you enjoyed “Play” so much! I think you didn’t mind Victor Crone that much either so maybe you just like those songs I don’t. 😉 I mostly like Estonia but they are also capable of putting forward songs I really don’t like, too. 2010, 2011, 2016, 2019 and 2020 were all pretty bad in my opinion but the rest I really like . I guess that means I like them about half the time. This year, if I was rating Eesti Laul for song/performance together, I’d rate Stefan highly but everybody else would be 4/10-7/10… Read more »

Colin
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Colin

It’s okay, but we disagree here. I enjoy them A LOT! 😉 As you can see by my 4.5/10 rating, I don’t find Uku’s winning song that bad either, and It’s certainly my least favorite Estonian entry of the decade. La Forza, Play, Storm, Goodbye to Yesterday and Rockefeller Street are all parts of my top tens of the given year, while the rest aren’t that low either. Of course, the 2011 quality isn’t on the same level as all the consecutive years, so RS would’ve been in my teens / early twenties if picked later on. PS. In most… Read more »

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

you’re shady af hahaha! “play” was my last place in 2016, he had that graveside singer’s voice and look, i don’t get why people had it at a surefire qualifier. oh well, numbers don’t lie!

Colin
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Colin

If you believe result = quality in all cases, it’s your right, but then don’t make excuses when your favorites don’t make it. And *everyone’s favorites* sometimes don’t make it.

Tibor
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Tibor

I don’t think age has anything to do with the fact if you like this kind of music or not. I once worked in a retirement home, where a colleague of mine used to put on the most insufferable schlager music if she got hold of the stereo. She always claimed that as soon as I got to her age, I would learn to appreciate it, too. I’m not quite there, yet (inevitably getting closer, though), but I doubt that all of a sudden my musical taste will turn upside down, that just doesn’t happen. Some people just like this… Read more »

Briekimchi
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Briekimchi

I don’t think I mean that our tastes are going to change that much as we get older but rather, that the stuff we remember when we were younger (that the younger generation never experienced) maybe gets a bit more love from us than those who never lived through it in the first place. Uku’s song is kinda in that late 80s, early 90s, male, cheesy power ballad (Foreigner, Bryan Adams…that sort of thing) and even though I know this should be bad, I do have a bit of a soft spot for it.

Tibor
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Tibor

Sorry, Briekimchi, I really have to disagree with you on this. When you say “remember”, you probably mean “like”. I remember pretty unlistenable stuff from when I was younger, that I couldn’t stand then and still cannot stand now. Time has done absolutely nothing to cushion the blow of its sheer awfulness.
I guess, you had this soft spot for Lou Gramm or Bryan Adams already when you were younger, didn’t you? 😉

Colin
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Colin

I think that both of you have a fair point. 😉 It’s very individual and moreover, depending on whether it’s something you loved as a kid, but you now think it’s “objectively” not good, or something that you disliked even then. I see that schlager really isn’t your style of music, Tibor. I can relate just by saying that Balkan turbo folk isn’t mine and it pearces my ears every time I hear one on some NF. 🙂

Tibor
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Tibor

Always perfectly salomonic … 😉 But that’s exactly what I said: If you liked something, when you were younger, then you have a higher threshold of tolerance towards it. If you didn’t like it as a child, then this threshold might even be lower, hence my assumption that Briekimchi meant “like” when he said “remember”.
And you didn’t learn about my hate of anything schlager just now, did you, Colin? 😉 I never kept it a secret.

Colin
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Colin

It was never a secret, nor it should be. This is an open thoughts forum. 🙂 It kinda gradually came to me, as every ESC / NF song which was in that genre didn’t get rave reviews from you. For me, it’s more of a ”hit or miss”. I loved Keiino last year. Still, since we are on Estonian page, as I said to Briekimchi up there how much I love Play, Storm, La Forza and Goodbye to Yesterday, I also have to mention Estonian winning schlager – Verona. I think it’s solid, but was it overhyped or what? 😉

Tibor
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Tibor

I don’t know, Colin, the ability (or the willingness) to tolerate other people’s thought processes (and opinions formed based on these thought processes) on this site – like in real life – seems to be rather unevenly distributed, if you ask me.
And “Verona” was always overhyped. I remember when I first heard it, I couldn’t believe what Estonia was doing – it wasn’t quite a Sieneke moment, but in that ballpark. Then I came to this website and was like: What the hell is going on? That’s perhaps why I started writing comments only a year later. 😉

Colin
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Colin

Nice to know your origin of being here, Tibor and I am glad you are. 🙂 I like exchanging opinions, even if they differ. Of course, if someone calls my favorite song really bad, I won’t necessarily like the comment, but I won’t dislike it either. It’s everyone’s right to be sincere. There are some fan-favorites I find kinda bland. I found Verona to be fine, but I believe it was either my borderline qualifier or barely missed it. I was puzzled by all the accolades it got by the fandom. I think that Rasmus Randvee should have won that… Read more »

Tibor
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Tibor

I would rather upvote a well reasoned opinion I don’t agree with than blind adoration of an entry I love. My upvotes are not rewards for people that share my taste in music but for people who show the respect to explain why they don’t or do like something. I’m aware that this is not always possible, even I have songs I find so uninteresting, that I have nothing to say about them but: they’re dull. But usually I will at least try to give some sort of reasoning or explain my thought process.

Colin
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Colin

I also tend to like well elaborated reviews, even if I’m not in the full agreement of what they are saying. I get that some might see the ”like/dislike” buttons as ”do you agree”, but for me, it’s more like ”was this comment useful to you”. Of course that I sometimes also like short comments saying nice stuff, but I mostly concentrate on the more well delivered ones. I am, however, most fascinated in reading the comments when I myself aren’t sure whether I like the song or not. For instance, no amount of analysis will probably get me to… Read more »

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

For me, an analysis isn’t there to swing your opinion on an entry, I think that is ultimately impossible, reaction to music is too spontaneous to be changed by reason. For me it’s that I’m interested in learning what exactly makes people like or dislike a song, and I really love it and am deeply grateful when someone makes an effort to do that rather than dismisses or ignores my questions (I know I ask a lot of them).

Colin
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Colin

Well, I tend to love a good conversation. 😉 Sometimes, one just verbalizes better how I feel and explains it on a technical level. Sometimes, I feel the opposite, but it helps me understand the general appeal / unpopularity of a song and sometimes it’s just ok to hear a minority’s voice. In some rare cases (when I am confused or neutral, mostly), a well made analysis can make me alter my opinion. Although it’s not, and shouldn’t be, the main goal of this exchange.

Colin
Guest
Colin

I answered, but was filtered. In short, I love a good conversation. 🙂

Wiwiclown
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Wiwiclown

France and Estonia have the worst entries of this year imo!

Eurovision, is it love or hatred?
Guest
Eurovision, is it love or hatred?

Your surname is so appropriated.

Skiwalko
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Skiwalko

Why would I even waste time writing this review, when the songwriters didn’t put any effort into writing this entry? “What Love Is” is the epitome of laziness – banal, hollow, unimaginitive, tame… I just don’t get the point of making these songs. The melody is completely unoriginal, the lyrics are about nothing, this entry doesn’t make you feel anything – it has absolutely no value. Uku is a competent performer, but he’s gotta start writing better songs. 3/10

Kristina
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Kristina

This is the favourite song of my mother. She is LOVES it.
Powerful ballads always target older people and I think it would have done very well.

Odysseas
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Odysseas

Too cheesy, but somehow i can handle hearing it. Still better than beautiful lie whoops
Overall:3.5/10 (30th)

Ashton
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Ashton

This is my last. I visibly cringe when I hear this, and it is my only 1/10 of the season. Deban truly is a sucker for old-fashioned and tired ballads, isn’t he?

Emily
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Emily

This one happens to be my guilty pleasure of the year. Sure, it’s a bit on the musical theatre side and the lyrics are somewhat cringy, but the chorus has gotten in my head so many times more than other Eurovision songs this year (and I think we’re more than aware by now that I have questionable tastes XD). I don’t have it as a qualifier, but there are entries that are far worse.

Thanos
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Thanos

In my book this is not that bad as everyone claims. It is perhaps kinda outdated but still enjoyable My top so far: 1. — 2. Italy 3. Romania 4. Bulgaria 5. Croatia 6. United Kingdom 7. Norway 8. — 9. -–10. Denmark 11. Russia 12. Australia 13. Albania 14. Finland 15. Israel 16. Ireland 17. Moldova 18. Estonia 19. — 20. –21. Belgium 22. — 23. Poland 24. Georgia 25. Czech Republic 26. — 27. Slovenia 28. France 29. Portugal 30. Armenia 31. Spain 32. Austria 33. North Macedonia 34. Cyprus 35. Belarus 36. –37. –38. Serbia 39. Greece… Read more »

Mia
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Mia

“I never imagined the power, I never imagined the need…” Lol this entry is just hilarious in bad way.
Bad cliche lyrics, boring melody, wannabe emotional performance, I’m not so impressed with his voice too. I didn’t follow Estonian selection, but omg, is it possible they didn’t have better options..
3,5/10

Kosey
Guest
Kosey

Trust me, they had so many better options, which makes the pain even greater.

Colin
Guest
Colin

Gems in Eesti Laul 2020:

Jaagup Tuisk: Beautiful Lie
Rasmus Randvee: Young
Shira: Out In Space
Stefan: By My Side
Synne Valtri & Valiharf: Majakad
Uudo Sepp: I’m Sorry, I Messed Up
Renate: Videomang
Annet & Fredi: Write About Me

Mia
Guest
Mia

So this choice could be named “I’m sorry, I messed up” 😛

Colin
Guest
Colin

Oh, yeah! 😛 Even if I was okay with this song when I first rated it in December, I was so disappointed when it won. It’s my biggest decliner on the list. 🙁
Several of the songs mentioned up there are still on my playlist of favorite NF songs. 🙂

Kosey
Guest
Kosey

I would add Egert Milder onto that list. Georgia is still on my mind!

Colin
Guest
Colin

That’s, on the other hand, a song which came off as odd to me at first. In a way that it felt strikingly out of place in Eesti Laul, as opposed to, say Georgian national final. However, retroactively speaking, Egert is such a natural charisma and he was excellent on stage. Moreover, the song offers musical diversity and feels very authentic to him. (Heck, even Leelo would feel more authentic, thinking of it). Yeah, Georgia is a song which could’ve been a huge grower.

Kosey
Guest
Kosey

39. Estonia – 3/10 – this is cliche-heaven, almost as if the composers have swallowed an encyclopedia of uninspired metaphors about love. There is a “heard it all before” piano melody and a predictable build to a chorus that fails to ignite. There is nothing different or unusual or striking in this entry, from the subject matter, to the artist, to the presentation. The melody is simple and repetitive, it all feels very laboured. I struggle to get through the full 3 minutes every time it comes on. It leaves me frozen to the core rather than being warmed by… Read more »

Idksmth
Guest
Idksmth

I don’t even know how to rate this. The only quality that I see is his voice and his confidence on the stage. The song is boring and the chorus stucks in your head but when I remember it I cringe because of the lyrics and how monotonous it is. His 2019 entry was MUCH, MUCH better and I hope his song next year will be as good as that. The year when The Baltic States got their s**t together, Lithuania having a good chance to win it all and Latvia having a good place in the grand final worthy… Read more »

Liisa
Guest
Liisa

What have Latvia and Lithuania to do with it? Why do some eurofans always need to emphasize the Baltic thing? We Estonians don’t identify ourselves as Baltic, the Baltics is just a geopolitical term. We are FINNIC.

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

This song completes my bottom 10 and my bottom 5, the only thing that keeps me transfixed, when this is on, are Uku’s piercing blue eyes. Eurovision wouldn’t be boring without songs like this – it’s getting boring because of them and of course all the internal selections. I’m a little worried that this not having the opportunity to crash and burn in the semis will deprive Estonia of the much needed learning experience that this is not the way to go if you want your second Eurovision victory anytime soon.

Markus
Guest
Markus

This is even worse than France. So boring and outdated.