Israeli singer wins Eurovision

Netta Barzilai
Netta Barzilai

LISBON • The lyrics "I am not your toy, you stupid boy" have drawn a chorus of approval from those who support the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment.

Yesterday, voters also gave the thumbs-up to the uptempo song Toy - where the lyrics come from - paving the way for Israeli singer Netta Barzilai to win the Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon in Portugal after she beat 25 other contestants.

The 25-year-old former singer in the Israeli Navy band accompanied her winning performance with trills, clucking sounds and chicken-like dance moves in an eye-catching performance that is often typical of the Eurovision contest.

Cyprus finished second and Austria, third.

The annual extravaganza has long been known for high-tech stage effects. But the cash-strapped Portuguese state broadcaster stripped the stage of the walls of LED screens that have formed a backdrop to performances in recent years.

Nonetheless, many finalists found other gimmicks to fish for votes.

Norway's Alexander Rybak played an imaginary guitar, violin, piano and drum as graphics of those instruments were overlaid onto the feed of his performance on viewers' TV screens at home.

Italy used the same trick, but with brightly designed subtitles spelling out the lyrics of a song about terrorist attacks in Europe.

Estonian soprano Elina Nechayeva wore a giant, interactive dress which flowed down from her waist, beyond her feet and out across the sprawling stage. The dress, which weighed about 8kg, came to life with colourful animations while she sang.

But British singer SuRie had unintended help when her performance was interrupted by a man who jumped on stage and snatched her microphone.

Eurovision, which was first held in 1956, has an estimated global audience of about 200 million people and has been a launching pad for the likes of Abba and Celine Dion.

Dion, who is Canadian, represented Switzerland in 1988, with the rules allowing anyone to sing for a particular country.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2018, with the headline 'Israeli singer wins Eurovision'. Print Edition | Subscribe