Mon, May 14, 2018 - Page 5 News List

Israel’s #MeToo-inspired song wins Eurovision

AFP, LISBON

Israel’s Netta Barzilai performs her song Toy at the Eurovision Song Contest at the Altice Arena in Lisbon on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

Israel early yesterday won the Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon after singer Netta Barzilai beat 25 other contestants with her uptempo song Toy, whose lyrics were inspired by the #MeToo movement.

The winning track, which contained refrains such as “I am not your toy, you stupid boy,” summed up the concerns of many women who have adopted the growing global movement against sexual harassment.

The 25-year-old, who wore a multicolored kimono, accompanied her winning performance with trills, clucking sounds and chicken-like dance moves in an eye-catching and bizarre performance that is often typical of the Eurovision contest.

“I am so happy. Thank you so much. Thank you for supporting diversity,” Barzilai said as she took the stage to perform her song again after her win was announced. “People chose different, people chose refreshing.”

Barzilai secured 529 points, beating stiff competition from Cyprus’ Eleni Foureira and her fiery song Fuego, which got 436 points.

She received the Eurovision trophy from last year’s winner, Portugal’s Salvador Sobral, who had called her song “horrible” in an interview published in Portuguese daily Publico on Wednesday.

“I felt he respected me and I send only love to him,” Barzilai said when asked at a news conference what it was like to receive the award from Sobral.

Shortly after her victory Barzilai managed to break the glass trophy she had been awarded, but organizers gave her a replacement at the post-concert news conference.

The annual musical extravaganza has long been known for its ludicrous costumes, glitz and high-tech stage effects.

Highlights from this year’s contest, which was hosted by Portugal for the first time, included a staircase that was set ablaze and a giant projection dress that came to life with colorful animations.

British singer SuRie’s performance was interrupted by a man who jumped on stage and snatched her microphone as she performed her entry, Storm.

She calmly turned to one side and clapped while the man was escorted away before quickly resuming singing after being handed another microphone.

The man is in police custody, the European Broadcast Union, which stages Eurovision, said in a statement.

SuRie and her team were offered the chance to sing again, but opted not to because they were “extremely proud” of her performance, it added.

She finished in 24th place.

Ariel Lopstein, a Jewish Puerto Rican who lives in Madrid who was at the final, said Barzila’s victory was a way of celebrating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel.

“I am really excited, really happy,” the 43-year-old, who wore a blue and white Israeli flag around his back, told reporters.

Barzilai’s victory sparked celebration in Israel, which has won the contest three other times, in 1978, 1979 and 1998.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Barzilai by telephone, telling her she was “the best ambassador of Israel. We love you.”

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