2018 Eurovision Reviews – Israel

Throughout Eurovision history, we’ve seen Israel on a big rollercoaster, with some years up, and others down, but one cannot underestimate their strength at the contest. In more recent years. We’ve seen not only strong qualifiers, but strong finishes from Israel, and this year with Netta Barzilai, we suspect that we’ll be seeing yet another strong finish.

It was a lengthy process to get here with Israel, after a mammoth national final, but in the end, it was Netta Barzilai who captured the voters. Soon after, her song titled Toy was released for Eurovision fans and critics alike, and it caused such a big stir that it shook the betting odds to the core. She shot to number one to win the contest, and hasn’t yet moved from first place, but does her song deserve to win?

Hands down, this is the oddest song of the year, and with that comes the fact that this song has the immense ability to divide viewers. It’s got the marmite effect, where some love it and some hate it, but there’s not too many inbetween. Yes, we’re writing this after we’ve seen the rehearsal, but we’ll try to keep that separate from our thoughts of the song to give this song the same review as the other songs of the competition. We just needed some extra time to collect our thoughts on this entry, and there’s a lot to think about.

Upon first listen, I couldn’t grasp the song. It’s something about those chicken noises that completely put me off the song, and to an extent, that’s still the case. It’s such a unique choice to feature in a song, but it’s an easy way to ensure that your song is memorable. Unfortunately for me it was memorable not in a positive way, and I completely avoided the song as well as the hype that followed it.

It’s been a while since it’s been released, and coming closer to the contest, I’m forced to listen to this song again and give it another chance. Have I changed my mind about the song? Well, somewhat, but I’m still not on team Netta just yet. I definitely think that there are some elements of this song that I really enjoy, while there’s some that I haven’t yet got on board with. What I do enjoy is the intro of the song, which is incredibly unique, and definitely displays her talents on the looper, as well as providing a totally attention catching introduction to what will be considered one of the most unique songs in recent Eurovision history. We see some intense vocal talent at the beginning of the second verse as well, and this can also be said for the notorious chicken noises (which is what I don’t think I can get on board with). What is impressive is that she can back up these noises with some seriously big notes throughout the song. She definitely has a diverse range, and that can only be applauded.

I also really enjoy the ethnic feel to this song, which comes into play a few times during the song where we get that traditional Middle Eastern sound to the song, which always captures me no matter the song. Other than the chickens, what probably puts me off the most about the song is that it truly does slaughter the senses, and for some people (well, a lot of people) this is the big positive of the song, but for me I almost want to feel a sense of comfort listening to a song, but this is just so extra.

Having seen the rehearsal, I don’t want to comment on the visuals as that’s become clear, but what I will say is that hearing this live and seeing its staging has definitely opened my eyes a bit more to this song, and I can finally say that I don’t dislike it.

All aboard… the motherclucking train!

This is bound for success, but perhaps not a win. Songs like these always seem to come close but can never really clench the win, but I suspect a Top 5 finish for Israel this year. It’s a big song with a big personality, and for first time listeners it will either be an instant love, or instant alienation, and that’s what will decide where it places on the night.

Our rating:  7/10

If you support Israel at Eurovision, make sure to vote for Netta in our poll! Watch her official video below, and follow our Eurovision 2018 playlist on Spotify.