Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Channel One Cries Foul Over Tatu Loss

State-controlled Channel One television said Wednesday that Tatu was cheated out of winning the Eurovision competition last weekend and that it will lodge a protest.

Viewers, meanwhile, said the girl pop duo came in only third Saturday because they can't sing. Or dance.

Channel One said in a statement that it suspected something was fishy about the voting results because Tatu got low scores from a number of countries including Britain -- where the girls had a No. 1 hit earlier this year. The channel also hinted about suspicious goings-on in Ireland, where traditional voting by telephone was replaced at the last moment by a jury vote. Tatu received no votes from the Irish jury.

"It is very difficult to explain why a very popular group got no points," Channel One spokesman Igor Burenkov said on Ekho Moskvy radio.

Burenkov said Tatu's loss appeared to be politically motivated.

"Eurovision is all about politics," he said. "All those who have won in recent years are countries entering the European Union: Estonia, Latvia and, this time, Turkey."

Estonia and Latvia are to enter the EU next year. Turkey's bid remains at the negotiating table.

Channel One said it planned to sent a protest to the Eurovision organizer, the European Broadcasting Union.

Contest organizers denied Wednesday that the outcome had been manipulated. "All the rules were followed," said European Broadcasting Union spokeswoman Aline Ingwersen.

Although the vote by telephone went ahead without a hitch in Ireland, the votes could not be counted and verified in time to be announced on the live show, said Peter Feeney, a spokesman for RTE, Ireland's national channel. Ireland was third in the list of countries giving their results. Feeney said the phoned-in votes were being tallied.

An RTE spokeswoman said later Wednesday that the results of the tally would not be disclosed, stressing that the jury vote was the only one that counted.

The Eurovision Song Contest has long been known for votes that seem to follow their own, often political logic. Cyprus is in a flap this week about who on the divided island voted for Turkey in the competition, Reuters reported. In Britain, some blamed the Iraq war -- rather than a dismal performance -- for British entry Jemini's failure to win a single point at the show.

Few Russians, though, are blaming politics for Tatu's loss. "It would have been better if they had kissed," read a headline in Moskovsky Komsomolets on Wednesday.

"This has never been so embarrassing," Vyacheslav Petkun, the lead singer of pop group Tantsy Minus, told the newspaper. "That red-haired girl -- I don't know her name, Lena, isn't it? -- can't sing at all. And you could tell that from the very first second."

"Even if they say 100 times that they were cheated, it's still obvious that they just couldn't sing," rock singer Zemfira was quoted by MK as saying.

"It was a shameful vulgarity," a caller to Ekho Moskvy said. "Their screeching, girls who couldn't dance. Is this all that our country has?"