Eurovision 2018: Netta wins for Israel with Toy


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Israel’s Netta has won the Eurovision Song Contest for her quirky dance song Toy – complete with its trademark chicken dance.

She had been an early favourite, but the vote went down to the wire with Cyprus finishing in second place.

Netta thanked juries and the public for “choosing different” as she lifted the glass microphone trophy.

UK entrant SuRie, whose performance was interrupted by a stage invader, finished 24th out of the 26 countries.

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AFP/Getty

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SuRie came 24th out of 26 countries

She was part-way through singing Storm when a man, with a rucksack on his back, ran on and grabbed the microphone from her hands. She was given the chance to perform again but declined.

SuRie later tweeted that she knew “anything could happen” on stage.

Netta – full name Netta Barzilai – picked up a total of 529 points to take the title, while bookies’ favourite Eleni Foureira from Cyprus got 436 points, with Fuego.

Austria had topped the leaderboard of the 63rd annual contest after the juries’ votes had been given, with Cesar Sampson’s Nobody But You the surprise frontrunner.

But it became clear it was between Netta and Eleni when the viewers’ votes started coming in.

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AFP/Getty

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Eleni Foureira singing Feugo

The Israeli singer said of her win: “Thank you so much for choosing different. Thank you so much for accepting differences between us.

“Thank you for celebrating diversity. I love my country!”

Netta has said the song was written about the #MeToo movement, adding: “It’s an amazing time when women are finding their voices.”

‘Amazing time’

Speaking at the winner’s press conference afterwards, Netta said she was finding it hard to take in the news of her win.

Asked about the close race with Cyprus, she said: “I always said that comparing between musical genres is funny – and comparing between musicians is a little bit peculiar… I was competing with myself.”

She said everything about the moment of winning was “a black blur”, and that she thought “what is happening?” – partly because she couldn’t see the points on the board without her glasses.

Netta said she never felt she had to deliver a message, adding: ” I just had to be me, no matter what my size is.”

This year’s final was held in Lisbon, Portugal, with the 2019 contest now set to take place in Israel. The last time Israel won Eurovision was 20 years ago, when Dana International was victorious with Diva.

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