Eurovision 2018 Review: Israel – Netta – Toy

Israel bookmakers favourite to win with Netta’s ‘Toy’
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Israel’s most recent Eurovision victory with Dana International’s ‘Diva’. What a year to be the bookmakers favourite to win again! The country selected Netta as its representative through a talent competition. She stood out with her unique style and use of a vocal loop and now she premiered her very own Eurovision song ‘Toy’. This will stand out for sure as it is bonkers, but does Netta really stand a chance to take the victory back to Israel?

‘Toy’ is a high paced pop tune with some Middle Eastern influences in the instrumentation. It is very Eurovision and not at all Eurovision at the same time. I never realized so much could happen in just 3 minutes! The main hook is instant and settles in your mind easily, but at the same time the pace changes, the vocal effects and the chicken noises might be a lot to take in on first listen for the average listener. For people just to to see this as a circus act would be a waste though, as Netta is a talented vocalist and a creative artist with a message. The lyrics to ‘Toy’ are all about girl power and were inspired by the #MeToo movement. Way to go girl!

So far we have only seen the music video of the tune (Netta sure got some star quality going on there), but a live version is yet to be performed. And that is what is going to make or break this entry obviously. Netta makes use of a lot of vocal effects and looping, which might break the Eurovision rule that all vocals need to be performed live on stage. I will reserve judgement on its winning chances until I hear Netta sing ‘Toy’ live, but I have some doubts about juries being fully on board with this and televoters getting this absolutely bonkers, hyperactive tune on first listen. At least the track is receiving strongly polarizing reactions from Eurovision fans. At least nobody will feel indifferent after hearing ‘Toy’. I hope Netta will at least bring Israel their best result in years as her talent, the out of the box creativity and the sentiment deserve to be rewarded!

Review of Semi Final Performance:
From the moment Israel presented their song for Eurovision 2018, they became the big favourite with the bookmakers. Netta is a charismatic performer with an eye catching persona. The vocal looper is her trademark and that is how she kicked off her show. The two and a half minutes that follow are a whirlwind of chicken dances, Princess Leia realness and a damn catchy hook. Netta knows exactly how to play with the camera and the faces she makes are priceless. This is not a circus act for which Eurovision has been criticized in the past. This is a great, contemporary tune with a powerful message. If you ask me, she is still very much a contender for the win on Saturday night.

Review of Final Performance:
Israel’s Netta was the bookmakers’ favourite for weeks before the rehearsals in Lisbon started and in the end she actually took the victory home to Israel. Her song ‘Toy’ was promoted as a message in the #MeToo discussion. Netta tells all the ‘stupid boys’ that she is not their toy in a playful and insanely catchy manner. She opens her performance with her looping style and her already infamous chicken sounds will be the topic of discussion for days to come. Whether you like ‘Toy’ or not, I think it is not right to just dismiss her performance as ‘another Eurovision circus act’. ‘Toy’ actually is a catchy and unique pop composition with some powerful lyrics and Netta is a memorable performer with a strong voice, who knows how the play the camera with her over the top facial expressions. Although she might not be your or my personal number 1, I think she absolutely deserved her victory!


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