In defense of Uku Suviste (and, by extension, Tom Leeb)

Over the weekend, in what was apparently a highly controversial decision, Uku Suviste won Eesti Laul. Suviste is bringing the flex-your-muscles power ballad What Love Is, which will involve a metric fuckton of candles to stage in Rotterdam:

Now, I’m not going to rehash the issues with Eesti Laul, and how it’s gone from Eurovision’s weirdest entry to one of the safest.

This year, the weirdest entry was a schlager sea shanty – it bopped, but it was still schlager. (And it also went nowhere).

So given that we’re working with such a fallow field, am I disappointed that Uku Suviste won? No. Not at all. In fact, I’m kind of delighted.

Let’s take a look at what reached the superfinal. Annett x Fredi had an absolutely beautiful jazz ballad that would struggle to make it out of the semifinal in Rotterdam. And then we had Jaagup Tuisk with Beautiful Lie which was – once again – a ballad about a man who has been wronged in love.

Contrast that with Uku Suviste, who has come with a song about a man who is so deeply in love that he can’t stop lighting candles with the sheer force of his emotion. It’s the aural equivalent of Cameron on Love is Blind, tearing up every five minutes. And most importantly, it’s a happy, life affirming song.

Look, 2020 is shit. Brexit has happened. The American presidential election seems to be going nowhere fast. Mainstream British feminism has somehow decided trans women don’t count. People are panicking over COVID-19. And Crossrail is still not open. (That last one may only be shit for me.)

We need something positive. We need something life affirming. We need something that’s going to soar and uplift us and make us feel like, someday, a person is going to look at us the way Uku Suviste looks at a Yankee Candle Company outlet store.

Uku is pure cheese, but I don’t care. Sometimes we need to sit on the couch and curl up with a blanket with a reality show (oh, maybe LOVE IS BLIND?) and Doritos and engage in some self-fucking-care. And you know what? That’s okay.

Sometimes we can like songs simply because they project the future that we want, whether that’s Uku accidentally burning down our house with unattended candles, or Tom Leeb staring into his eyes and declaring that we make him a better man (before falling off the Eiffel Tower.)


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