Dana International, the most famous transgender pop star in the world, has won another ticket to Eurovision. And this time she’s packing her “Ding Dong.”
Kdam 2011—the Israeli national selection—concluded just moments ago, and the winner was determined using three separate channels. The professional jury vote accounted for 40% of the result, while a pool of Eurovision fans counted for 12% and televoters the remaining 48%. Singing “Ding Dong,” Dana won both the jury and the fan pools, and she placed second to Idit Halevi (singing “It’s My Time”) among televoters.
As you may remember, Orthodox Jews were aghast when Dana (born Yaron Cohen) won the right to compete for Israel in 1998. Her single “Diva” conveyed the hope that the transgender community could find strength through struggle: “She is all you’ll ever dream to find/ On her stage she sings her story/ Pain and hurt will set her heart alight/ Like a queen in all her glory.” Europe was moved at the final and crowned her the winner. “My victory proves God is on my side,” she said afterward. “I want to send my critics a message of forgiveness … I am part of the Jewish nation.” “Diva” went on to sell more than 400,000 copies worldwide and made the Top 10 in five European countries.
At Eurovision, Dana courted controversy not for her gender reassignment, but for showing up to the awards presentation late during the live broadcast. She was delayed, she said, because she had to change into an elaborate costume—replete with neon orange wings—designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier.