The British public’s top choice in the Eurovision Song Contest was Poland’s controversial act Donatan and Cleo – not the eventual winner Conchita Wurst – a breakdown of votes has revealed.

Competition organisers released details of every nation’s voting, which is split 50/50 between a five-member jury panel and that country’s voting public, with the data showing the Polish entry was the British people’s – if not the critics’ – choice for the crown on the night.

The UK’s expert jury actually placed Malta’s entry Firelight in first place on average, slotting the eventual overall winner, Austria’s drag artist Conchita Wurst, in third. However, the combined ranking, which also includes the telephone votes of the public, meant the ‘bearded lady’ – whose real name is Tom Neuwirth – ended up being allotted the UK’s top marks of 12 points.

The analysis also apparently revealed a huge gulf between British voters’ perceptions and that of the jury, with panel members ranking Poland at the bottom of the table at 25th.

Poland’s eye-opening performance left host Graham Norton, who was commentating for the UK audience tuning into BBC One’s coverage, speechless. Their entry featured scantily-clad young female performers suggestively dancing to lyrics which included the line ‘shake what your mama gave you’.

The Poles ended up on 62 points and finished 14th, which was three places above Britain’s Molly Smitten-Downes with her song, Children Of The Universe.

Meanwhile, Eurovision drew its biggest audience for three years. BBC One’s coverage of the show drew an average audience of 8.8 million and at its peak had 10.5 million – more than half of all viewers – as the show neared its climax, according to overnight figures.

It marked the second highest Eurovision performance in a decade, beaten only by 2011’s competition which drew around 9.5 million on average and whose entries included boy band Blue for the UK and Jedward representing Ireland.

The audience was up more than a million compared with the average of 7.7 million for 2013, which was itself marginally up on the 7.5 million in 2012.

The Eurovision Song Contest also generated 5,384,678 tweets on social media after Conchita was crowned the winner.

Peak Twitter activity was reached after the cross-dressing singer’s win was announced, spiking at 47,136 tweets per minute (TPM). The next highest level of activity came with the performance of her song Rise Like A Phoenix, generating 42,660 TPM.

Somewhat surprisingly, the third most tweeted-about moment came when France’s Twin Twin sang their colourfully camp hit Moustache – the Gallic entry eventually flopped to last place though, polling just two votes.

Watch the Polish entry in Eurovision final:

Press Association