Israel won the Eurovision contest on Saturday night (May 12) with the song “Toy” by Netta Barzilai. The annual competition was held in Lisbon, Portugal and featured 43 countries competing for the top prize. Eleni Foureira of Cyprus, an island near Turkey, came in second place.
Barzilai is a 25-year-old singer who won the TV show “Hakokhav Haba,” Israel’s version of “American Idol” format. She was accompanied by a military band during her performance in the grand finale, which followed two semi-final rounds.
The quirky electronic tune, which features English lyrics and a scat-like vocal, has amassed more than 27 million views on YouTube. Barzilai completed her military service in the navy band, called Nahal.
It was Israel’s fourth time winning Eurovision after previous victories in 1978 and 1979, and in 1998 with trans performer Dana International.
Barzilai’s win means the next Eurovision contest will be hosted by Israel. The 2018 edition was held in Lisbon’s Altice Arena which has a seating capacity of more than 20,000.
The song gained popularity in Israel thanks in large part to the dance featured in the video (watch below) as well as its strong message, despite the quirky sounds. In the Chorus, Netta declares, “I’m not your toy / You stupid boy.”