Lithuania: Did error in Italian televoting cost Jurij Veklenko a Grand Final placement?

by Roy Knoops 3,772 views

The aftermath of Eurovision 2019 has been somewhat rocky: first, there was a fault with the Belarussian jury votes and now it is possible that an error concerning the Italian televotes might have cost Jurij Veklenko, a.k.a. Jurijus, a spot in the Grand Final.

No edition of Eurovision is without its subsequent drama, but this year the turmoil keeps simmering, especially concerning the votes. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) recently admitted that a mistake was made with the aggregated jury votes from Belarus, leading to the Grand Final scoreboard to be adjusted. Yet now other incongruities might come to light. The latest complaint comes from Lithuania, as a discrepancy has been discovered in the Italian televotes during the second semi-final – a discrepancy that could have major implications for Lithuania’s representative Jurij Veklenko or Jurijus.

RAI televote

Italian broadcaster RAI has released the official televotes of semi-final 2 (in which “Big 5” country Italy voted) and the Grand Final. While the Grand Final results match up with the results listed by the EBU, the semi-final results show significant differences. If these differences are taken into account, the results of the second semi-final might have to be adjusted, leading to different scores for several countries.

However, the biggest difference would be that Lithuania would have been tied with Denmark for the 10th and last spot in the final – a tie that would have been beneficial for Lithuania, which would have qualified due to the average highest ranking in the televote.

As the EBU recently stated, the margins between the numbers 10 and 11 in both semi-finals, and thus the chance of qualification, where especially narrow: only 2 points separated the number 10 and 11 spot in the first semi-final 1, while the second semi-final was even more exciting with just 1 point difference between spots 10 and 11 (Denmark and Lithuania)!

LRT reacts

Lithuanian broadcaster LRT has issued the EBU to investigate and clarify the possible error in the Italian televotes. Mr. Audrius Giržadas, the Lithuanian Head of Delegation, has stated:

The situation is really interesting. We, as a broadcaster, have suffered a moral and ranking misconduct, and we may have enough information to acknowledge the error.

However, the songwriter and performer could claim substantial financial compensation – when the song is performed to such a large audience, the author’s reward for playing the song twice is significantly higher than when it is performed only once.

Jurij Veklenko keeps calm

Meanwhile, Jurij Veklenko himself gave a dignified reaction:

I did everything I could, but what happened has happened. Those who were in the finals were worthy of their place and I see no point in unnecessarily depriving them of their place at the table.

Concerning LRT’s complaints and whether his management will take action, he added:

I think they will decide whether to take action, my job is to make music.


Jurij Veklenko at Eurovision 2019

Jurij Veklenko (Klaipėda, 1990), also known as Jurijus, represented Lithuania at Eurovision 2019 in Tel Aviv with the song Run with the lions. The artist, unfortunately, did not go through to the Grand Final, placing 11th with 93 points in semi-final 2.

Enjoy Jurij Veklenko’s performance of Run with the lions: