We were just thinking that we needed another love ballad song by a handsome fellow with scruffy facial hair.
Uku Suviste is a singer and songwriter who won the 2008 Uno Naissoo composing competition. He finished second at Eesti Laul 2019 with “Pretty Little Liar.” He has worked with Birgit Õigemeel on the album Ilus Aeg and with the Estonian Ministry of Defence on the song “Võitmatu,” which had a cameo by Justin Gatlin.
Also, he is the Snow Miser to Freddie’s Heat Miser.
Uku co-wrote his song with Sharon Vaughn, who was an established songwriter in American country music before jumping into the world of Eurovision with such songs as Jedward’s “Waterline,” Sergey Lazarev’s “Scream,” and this year’s Greek entry, Stefania Liberakakis’ “SUPERG!RL.”
We are underwhelmed by “What Love Is.” It is very pretty, and the staging is very pretty. Uku is also very pretty. The whole package just rests on pretty, which doesn’t make it compelling.
Our main complaint is that the chorus is really lumpy. It’s so crammed full of notes and lyrics that it sounds more desperate than romantic. The “one-two-three-one-two-three-one-twoooo” pattern builds up lots of tension, but the release isn’t cathartic. We’re just relieved that Uku has moved onto other melodies.
Uku is a good singer and a compelling television presence. When he looks right into the camera as he sings “Til I looked into your eyes,” it’s effective rather than cheesy. There’s no doubt he will be able to do the hard sell with this package. But we’re still not buying it.