Behind any impressive victory there’s a backstory filled with ups and downs. And, according to Yoav Tzafir, the producer behind Israel’s The Next Star for Eurovision, Netta Barzilai’s Eurovision win was no different.

Speaking with Israel’s Y Net last week, the entertainment executive revealed that Netta’s journey to her Eurovision win was far from a straight line. Instead it was filled with twists and turns and emotional upheaval. He made it clear that at times he believed in Netta more than she believed in herself.

Netta did not want to sing “Toy”

After Neta won The Next Star, Tzafir presented her with “Toy” and she was not feeling it.

“Neta said, ‘I do not connect to the song, it’s not me, I do not know how I’ll stand on the stage and carry it off,'” he remembers.

Apparently she wanted to sing a song she penned herself, which featured a chorus with the phrase “Sababa Sababa”, which means “cool” in Hebrew. The committee rejected the idea. Inside the studio there were plenty of tears. But Netta broke the song down into parts and eventually added the chicken sounds and the looper, at which point it all clicked.

Controlling like Madonna

He also said that Netta has a creative vision and knows precisely what she wants. “The girl goes into the room and acts like Madonna,” he said. “We sat on the side and she directed the dancers. She wants to control every single detail in the performance and has an opinion.”

“She thinks outside the box. During the season she often asked to change a song, and geniuses are not easy people and you have to take their capriciousness with them, but on the other hand she knows exactly what she wants.”

She wanted to quit The Next Star

Throughout the series Tzafir had to prop her up, most especially after The Next Star judge Ben-El Tavori tore her apart in one critique.

“When Ben-El Tavori killed her, she had a hard time,” he said. “I told her, ‘But all the judges say you’re good, so why are you listening to someone who tells you that you’re not?’ She came and said, ‘I’m quitting,’ so I had a conversation with her and we took everything apart…She creates in the soul, so it’s hard for her to get negative criticism.”

Changing tide at Eurovision

After riding months of hype, Tzafir says both he and Netta were concerned they wouldn’t live up to expectations. He could sense that the tide among the press and delegations was shifting against them in the weeks before the contest.

“Something strange has happened,” he said. “When we landed in Lisbon, we had the feeling that the entire Eurovision universe did not want us to win — not because they were anti-Semites or BDS, but because they were looking for the Cinderella to overtake us. All the delegations envied us and the feeling was that they were looking for the dark horse to beat us.”

That would be Eleni from Cyprus, who became the bookies’ favourite. On their first time in Lisbon, composer Doron Medalie took Tzafir to meet the “Fuego” singer. “I told her, ‘You’re going to be in Top 10,'” he says. “Who knew she was going to threaten us, and then back to the semifinals, she exploded on the Internet and became the first in the betting.”

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74 Comments on "Israel: Netta felt no connection to “Toy” until she added the chicken sounds, says TV director Yoav Tzafir"

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L'oiseau
Guest

Very interesting. I had the feeling all along that Netta was a great artist but “Toy” was beneath her own league. Anyway, now she won, which is great for her. I just hope for her own sake that in the future she will be able to pursue her artistic vision free of constraints.

Aisling
Guest

I can listen to the song and I like Netta, nothing against her… but chicken sounds don’t make up much of the song… meaning that the rest of the song she doesn’t even like singing? Please people did I read this article wrong

Israeli
Guest

No. You should see her work in Hebrew. She’s very stylish. She likes deeps songs or song that aren’t deep and to give them deep meaning. Toy has shallow lyrics and gimmicks, but that’s the name of the game in the Eurovision. She added more stuff rather then the chicken sounds. Besides, she added b-bopping but they only were made into chicken sounds for the gimmick and the “scared” chicken connotation… She also changed other things. Look for Madelie’s original song on Youtube.

JEFFERSON
Guest

I think that those who do not like Israel have to forget the ‘country’ now and think of Netta, in her person. The win for her was psychologically important. If she has suffered discrimination in the past, as I do, she deserves this victory as a reason for her to live happily. Congratulations Netta, I do not like your music, nor the other results of ESC 2018, but I can not do anything.

Hilariously Brisbane
Guest

Salvador? Is that you? Still hopping everyone will sing just like you?

Kirby
Guest

Actually, there’s a sort of blues version of Toy on YouTube, which proves that her talent is amazing. There’s more to Netta than we meet Toy…

Apple
Guest

How is everyone reading this in such a negative light? What I got from this is that:

– Netta has a very specific vision for her art and wants to be part of every aspect
– Netta originally didn’t like Toy until she put herself into the song and made it her own
– This win meant a lot to her since she struggles to believe in herself sometimes

What part of this is “drama” or “shade”? Y’all need to learn some reading comprehension smdh

Lost in Translation
Guest

Most definitely!

Rasmus
Guest

More drama from Israel. Color me surprised.
Going to be a long year…

Roy Moreno
Guest

It’s not drama this time, it’s actually a positive article about her and about her journey to the victory
Only says how great of an artist she is 🙂

Gili
Guest

Netta was the x factor not the song…she made the song llistenabl cause she is so talented…medalie is far from beg one of the best musicians in israel, i dont find him talented. Any song Netta can make a hit with her crecreativityu suggest to wait for her album, i anyone complain on toy then medalie is the addrress not Netta…she couldnt choose her song, it wasnt up to her. But still i have ni doubt that the most talented artist won

Lost in Translation
Guest

William, I urge you to correct a translation mistake from Hebrew to English, a mistake that provoked uncalled for comments! He did not say “All the delegations ENVIED us” but “All the delegations ALIENATED us” (a feeling that Sipped through various videos from the press room in Lisbon).

florin
Guest

are you freaking kidding me.. if you say you dont like toy israeli call on you antisemite.. always play the victim card.. get a grip your song is crap

florin
Guest

i dont have nothing with israel i was in vacantion there 4 times.. i just dont like that song and for that you call me antisemite

DyGh
Guest

“I don’t have nothing”
So you do have something cuz that’s a double negative

NoGeoblocks
Guest

LLila, don’t feed the troll. Ignore him.

Sara
Guest

You haven’t been paying attention, Lilla IS the troll.

Nitzili
Guest

Florin, I don’t know which comments you’re referring to but not liking a song doesn’t make you anti-Semitic. I think that word is being used too easily many times

JEFFERSON
Guest

At least Sweden did not win, nor did Austria. In this case I preferred Israel itself, I can not stand these first two. For Israel I give a 5/10 and a 24th place.

JEFFERSON
Guest

Sweden and Austria in my botton 5.

fugu
Guest

Actually, my bottom 3 Israel (26), Cyprus (25) and Slovenia (24). Only Slovenia had the good grace to finish where it should have.

Benjamin Ingrosso is a decent performer but that song stunk. Straight out of the 1970s disco era but without the fun.

JEFFERSON
Guest

SWEDEN AND AUSTRIA IN MY BOTTOM 5. SWEDEN (40), CZECH REPUBLIC (42) AND AUSTRIA (43).

Rafael
Guest

Ouch! That is some seriously sad reading
“Girl acts like Madonna.” Wow ? throwing shade on one of their own that is just painful to read and shows their true awful nature

Passarinho
Guest

There was no throwing shade, he only said that she wanted control o the staging, not unlike Mikolas or Saara Aalto, that had a vision for the stage and made it happen

esc1234
Guest

Thats some good management going on, take notes bbc….

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

She’s NOT a label puppet. Bulgarian participants are shook.

Lian
Guest
I’m gonna express an entirely personal opinion so please, don’t get mean :p When Netta arrived in Lisbon, she was sure she was gonna win. Arrogant or not, her team and herself must have felt threatened when the whole “Foureira tide” came out of nowhere. She even got the 1st place in the semi’s televote. So they tried really hard to change that. I feel like they played dirty cause they really wanted to win. And honestly, the way they treated their victory is even worse than the song itself. Mocking the other artists, treating them like peasants, turning the… Read more »
florin
Guest

totally agree.. thei knew netta will win.. big pocket money and stuff

Not Your Toy
Guest

“Big pocket money” WOW such a typical antisemite comment… It’s exactly the opposite- Israel doesn’t invest a lot of money in the Eurovision (not like Sweden and other crazy shows on Eurovision that pay a lot of money to maximize their shows-LED/FIREWORKS/GRAPHIC), Israel trusts their singers and the song to win. Israel wins= “plays dirty”? Shame on you!!!!!!!!!! 50 Milion views on YouTube!

Lian
Guest

Not everyone who has a different opinion is antisemitic or sth. I never mentioned anything about Israel as a country, I only spoke about the delegation and what I feel like without any facts to concrete my opinion, just unimportant thoughts I’d like to share, as you share your own kind of extreme opinion. Cheers!

Rashi
Guest

It’s funny how hate can make people say such lies…As someone who was constantly backstage they were the nicest delegation and everyone loved them. Eleni is Doron’s friend (The guy that wrote TOY). He is the one that gave her to sing her own version of “Golden Boy” which he also wrote. It’s her biggest hit to date. Stop spreading lies just because you hate Israel/antisemite

Lian
Guest

As I said earlier, I never mentioned anything about Israel as a country. But I do hate war.

Dony
Guest

“composer Doron Medalie took Tzafir to meet the “Fuego” singer.”

She has 3 or 4 songs on her last album written by him… but he is only discovering her NOW?

Juan Cena
Guest

I think they meant that Netta hadn’t met Eleni until Lisbon.

Micaela
Guest

Hahaha
Thanks for the laughs guys. I just snorted my coffee reading this lol
“All delegations were envious of us” hahaha so good… are these guys 5 year old?

jon
Guest

That’s the wrong translation though, Read the ‘lost in translation’ comment above. So many translation errors here recently, all of them trying to stir things up and evoke controversy. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence, isn’t it now wiwibloggs?

Juan Cena
Guest

I still believe the chicken sounds were Netta’s way of getting away with calling the guy a c*ck.

Anyhow, “Toy” is topping both the Spotify Global and American viral charts (With “Fuego” in the top ten), so Netta seems to be clucking all the way to the bank.

Mark
Guest

Yeah like netta is seeing any money. Hope she milks it good and moves to a country that respects her

Hilariously Brisbane
Guest

I’m amazed that people don’t get it… the chicken noises are not a random thing! She’s saying that the stupid boy is a chicken – a coward – Buck-Buck-Bucka!

Matt C
Guest

When I said Israelis are arrogant, people on here downvoted me. Here you have it folks, proof of that.

Nitzili
Guest

The right phrase would be “some Israelis are arrogant” because not all of us are the same you know. And also, I think that they were really confident in the song and with netta’s skills and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Eurofan
Guest

Eurofans: Can’t get more arrogant then Salvador
Israel: Hold my beer

Pavel
Guest

Dima Bilan and t.A.T.u. levels of arrogance are still off the charts.

Lilo
Guest

What an obsession! Can you not think of something else? God…

Christopher
Guest

I’ve always thought that the best part of the package was Netta and the weakest was the song. Together they are still good and a deserving winner but Toy is not going to be a eurovision classic but then neither are alot of the winners from the past 10 years.

Nitzili
Guest

Maybe but in my opinion, toy is on it’s way to become iconic. It’s one of those songs that are just so different then others, that when you listen to it it’s like “what just happened?” And I love that. For me it’s one of the best songs I’ve heard in a long time, it just works on so many levels and I’m not just saying that because I’m from Israel

crazycs
Guest

Only Eurovision classic from the past 10 years would be Fairytale and Euphoria

fugu
Guest

Possibly Heroes and Amor Pelos Dois.

But Toy will definitely be added to the ‘Wacky Eurovision Songs’ lists.

Christopher
Guest

Ew- Fairytale makes my ears bleed- he is just screaming the chorus.

Helene
Guest
I think Euphoria is a real Classic. I do however not agree with those who say that the quality of songs and performance this year was very high. The were several middle good songs and some good performances. No one was a clear winner. Several had something really good but all missed something. I think Netta was close and hence she won. I do despite this think Netta’s stage performance lacked something that is found in the video. The camera work wasn’t that good and the energy seemed less vibrant on stage. They could have made a much better stage… Read more »
Hilariously Brisbane
Guest

I couldn’t said it better! You are spot on! I am very happy that Netta won, but I think her win would have been a bigger one if the staging was more “Toy” related and colorfull then the Japanese influences they went with, and I am an individual whom loves so many aspect of the Japanese culture!
I kinda envisioned Netta and her insane (in the most positive way) dancers in a cute and colorfull doll like dress, big eyelashes, a mix of pastels and neon colors… and lots off Bubbles 😉

namel
Guest

” All the delegations envied us ” Ya think?

sevzch
Guest

Because you were there to know?

tim
Guest

lmao delusional israelis

Pabloñita Bogusevi?
Guest

I knew it! She never looked like she hates men and the only good part was the chicken.

florin
Guest

All the delegations envied us and the feeling was that they were looking for the dark horse to beat us.”.. oh my.. they really think the universe sttart and stop with them.. what arrogant people.. just like previous winner

LLila
Guest

They are not arrogant!
Netta shares on her instegram lots of songs from other countries like Finland, Austria, Estonia..Australia..how is that arrogant? Maybe the other delegations did not like Israel..

Escphbelgium
Guest

That’s my Netta.
She gave her all and goddamn she did, and she won the whole thing! We need more artist like her, someone with a vision and someone who knows how to own it and make it theirs. I’m so proud of Netta.

NoGeoblocks
Guest

Love Netta.
When Toy was leaked I heard it and didn’t like it. The intro with Netta’s looper made a world of difference. It sounded way more like her.
Watch any of Netta’s performances from The Next Star to see that she’s mot just a performer, but an amazing musician, a true artist.

please
Guest

So they just used her for her image. I could feel in the interviews she gave that she wasn’t all that connected to the song. Its so obvious that they just wanted to win.

LLila
Guest

Whats wrong with wanting to win?
And she did connected to the song after a few changes made by her.

LLila
Guest

Netta is an amazing artist and person.love her 🙂

Sharon
Guest

Netta is incredible. I’m so happy to hear she’s such a pro that took TOY and made it her own. We love you Netta! Can’t wait for Jerusalem 2019!!

Denmark
Guest

Netta lacks profesionalism. can’t take one critique and bursts into tears after her song is rejected, not to mention is rude to everyone who works with her. if she really want everyone to accept her she should start respecting everyone else.

Nitzili
Guest

Oh, because you know her so well, don’t you?

Jonas
Guest

She was not a professional at that stage, she was an amateur appearing in a TV talents show, so yeah…she lacked “professionalism” because she was not yet a professional. TV reality shows can be brutal & exploitative anyway, so her reaction was perfectly understandable.

James
Guest

If you believe in the song, then there’s no reason to doubt its chances of success.

NoGeoblocks
Guest

Step 1) Believe in it and sing it all day long!

Darth Thulhu
Guest

Step 2) Add Loop to it, and now you’ve revamped your song