04 May 2018

Toy / Netta / Israel | Review

Netta Barzilai | Israel | 2018 Eurovision Song Contest
Netta: Toy-ing with the competition?
If ever a Eurovision entry shouted ‘fan favourite’ then this year it’s Israel's Toy performed by reality show champ Netta Barzilai. The production has an overlay of several musical genres and it possesses the mood and mighty chorus that has made it the holy grail of entries among the type of die-hards for whom the Contest is beyond an annual distraction. The fans, however, hardly ever select the winner, which makes one speculate whether Israel might be in for another disappointment.

Flag Israel
Having said that, there has been nothing quite like this at Eurovision before and for many observers the song has come out of left field and punched them between the eyes. While it might be loved by the hardcore fans, it has really become a 'take it or leave it' entry, polarising opinion among those who have had the chance to hear it.

Following the chicken clucks at the intro (yeah, really!), Toy becomes a current, memorable creation. Netta has a potent, offbeat voice while her reality experience should equate to a solid television performance.

What perhaps cannot be underestimated is the lyrical content. It appears to have been picked up by the #MeToo movement which is currently riding the crest of a wave. Add to that Netta's (sometimes outrageous) appearance and anything is possible once a wider voting audience has seen the entire production.

Ultimately, Israel's position seems quite precarious. Netta's vocal looper is gone; the instrument that helped get her to Lisbon has had to be discarded on the orders of the EBU. As a result, backing singers provide that vocalisation, sterilising the overall impact of the song. Rehearsals so far seem pretty underwhelming, so I wouldn't say that Jerusalem 2019 is necessarily a foregone conclusion.

However, as much as I dislike Toy, it's obviously got a lot of support and will definitely be in the mix on May 12.

Artist: Netta
Song: Toy 
Semi-Final 1 | First Half

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