Netta will represent Israel at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon with her song “Toy” — a freestyle, Mediterranean women’s anthem with Oriental / Mizrachi sounds. She’s unleashed a chicken cluck heard round the world — she trended globally on YouTube in Spain, the U.K. and beyond — and is leading the odds to win this year’s contest.
Following Netta’s victory on “The Next Star for Eurovision 2018”, a special committee listened to 140 song submissions and chose “Toy” — by Doron Medalie and Stav Beger, as the Israeli entry.
Her full name is Netta Barzilai, but following the path set by other leading ladies like Beyoncé and Madonna, her stage name is simply Netta.
You know she’s not your toy, silly boy. But here are 10 more facts you may be less familiar with.
1. SHE GREW UP IN NIGERIA
Netta was born in Israel in 1993, but two years later her father moved the family to Nigeria as part of his job. Netta lived in Nigeria for about four years and then she settled back in Israel. Her sound has a global outlook that can be hard to place. And that may stem partly from her exposure to sounds and traditions that would sound novel back home.
2. SHE WAS A PART OF AN ENSEMBLE CALLED “THE EXPERIMENT”
In 2016 Netta co-founded an improvisation singing ensemble called “The Experiment”. The ensemble toured all across Israel for two years with their special freestyle improvisation gigs. Netta was the lead vocalist and the group’s three other members played instruments — from drums to keyboards to guitars.
3. SHE WAS A KINDERGARTEN TEACHER
Making a living as an artist isn’t easy in general or in Israel in particular. So Netta worked all manner of jobs: from waitress to kindergarten teacher to babysitter. Perhaps the last role explains her fondness for taking Pikachu home and letting Bernie talk!
In interviews she frequently discusses how much she loves children and how one of her dreams was to be a kindergarten teacher. She was also an instructor in youth organizations in the north of Israel. She believes the children are the future…and they believe in her.
4. SHE ALMOST DIDN’T MAKE IT TO EUROVISION 2018
Netta was a huge favourite right from the start of The Next Star for Eurovision 2018, but during the grand final she almost got eliminated in the first round after losing her duel. But the judging panel used its powers to save her and sent her through to the final round.
In the final round she came a close second in the public vote but the juries gave her first place — and by some distance. She ended up winning with a small gap of only 5 points ahead of the runner-up Mergui.
5. SHE BUYS MOST OF HER CLOTHES FROM ISRAELI DESIGNERS
Netta says it’s hard for her to find cool clothes in the usual plus size clothing stores, so she buys most of her clothes from Israeli designers. It costs a lot, but she saves up and buys new looks every couple of months.
“In the summer, I love Maxi dresses without sleeves or short dresses, but it will always be in the A cut because it compliments my body shape, there is a pearly body structure that is pretty close to the bottom, but my form is an apple-shaped body type. I don’t like to have only black clothes. All my clothes are colourful: silver, red and loads of yellow — this is my favourite color, I love to celebrate diversity.”
6. SHE BECAME A TREND BEFORE “TOY”
During the last couple of months there’s been quite the interest in Israel surrounding Netta and her unique style, both visually and musically. She was even imitated on “Eretz Nehederet” (A Great Country) — one of Israel’s most popular TV shows.
In addition to that, Israel recently celebrated the Jewish holiday of “Purim”, in which people masquerade in costume. Quite a lot of people, both kids and adults, chose to imitate her unique look and style. Netta is a trend — she started in Israel and now she‘s spreading globally.
7. SHE IS THE FIRST ARTIST EVER TO USE A VOCAL LOOPER ON THE EUROVISION STAGE
From the moment Netta had her first audition in Israel the big question surrounding her performances was whether the Eurovision rules would allow this kind of performance. Netta is using a vocal looper which is a mobile recording device that allows her to record her voice, several times in a loop, until a playback is formed. According to the latest reports the EBU will allow her to use her own special toy on stage, as long as the voices will be recorded to the looper during her live performance.
8. HER MUSIC VIDEO HAS MORE LIKES THAN ANY OTHER VIDEO ON THE OFFICIAL EUROVISION SONG CONTEST CHANNEL
In just three weeks, the music video of “Toy” racked up over 9 million views on the official Eurovision Song Contest YouTube channel (and another 9 million views on KAN’s channel). It continues to break records as this post is being written.
Other than being the most viewed video from this year’s contest with a lead of a few millions views, Netta’s video is also the one with the most likes on the Eurovision Song Contest official YouTube channel ever.
For example, The winner of Eurovision 2017, Salvador Sobral’s “Amar Pelos Dois”, has 125,000 likes while Netta’s “Toy” has about 231,000 likes. That’s quite an amazing achievement and we’re still a month away from the contest itself, so those numbers will only rise.
9. “TOY” IS NOT THE FIRST EUROVISION SONG SHE HAS SUNG
In her second, more intimate audition in The Next Star for Eurovision 2018 Netta chose to bring a one-string guitar for her special version of the Eurovision 1978 winning song, “A-Ba-Ni-Bi”.
Izhar Cohen, the original performer of the tune, watched her cover and said she’d be fab for Eurovision — it looks like he knew what he was talking about.
You can watch more of Netta’s perfomances on these links: “Hey Mama” | Mashup | “What Is Love” | “Barbie Girl” | “Wannabe” | “Kzat Meshugaat” | “Tik Tok”/”Gangnam Style” | “Rude Boy”
10. THE CHICKEN SOUNDS IN HER SONG HAVE A DEEP MEANING
In our recent interview with Netta she told us all about the chicken sounds in her song: “It’s so funny how people are caught up with that. It has a double meaning. The noises are supposed to imitate the voices of a coward — a ‘chicken’. Someone who doesn’t act the way he/she feels and treats you like a toy. Baka is also ‘stupid’ in Japanese… The song has an important message – the awakening of female power and social justice, wrapped in a colorful, happy vibe.”
What do you think of Netta’s entry, “Toy”? Do you think she will qualify from the first semi-final? Can she win Eurovision 2018? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
Netta is great
What is “Israel”?
I just don’t see her as a frontrunner. Every year, this contest gets hijacked by politics or social justice, and doesn’t prioritise the SONGS that make it the Eurovision Song Contest. Is Netta’s personality stellar? I’m sure it is. Is she pretty shit hot with a looper? No doubt! Is this song deliberately riding the wave of the #MeToo movement? You bet your ass it is. And therein lies the rub, for me: This turns the contest once again into a litmus test, a measure of the flavour of the times rather than the merit of the song. It turns… Read more »
Just for the records – 2th of April 10,1 Million views on both youtube channels.
She is the best for sure ???
Thank you for mentioning A-Ba-Ni-Bi.
Anyone who will watch it will realize Netta is a true artist.
Good luck to Netta, and to Eye Cue of Macedonia (my new favorite) and every one else!
And why she is doing so stranges faces in this video ? It is not good at all. I think in LIVE perfomance this song is big big mess and it will be miracle if she reach the final after that.
@a. U wish…Netta is amazing in live showes … so keep dreaming.. jerusalem 2019
beleive me next song contest will be far away from jerusalem :):
A. Will see.. Jerusalem 2019 easy for Netta.
She is circuit drag.
I love her
Every year we have almost “winner” song which even not reach to the final. And this year I think it can be Israel because guite ordinary song is so overhyped by somebody. Poor Netta !
israel has always been off and on with their entries for me, in 2013 and 2014 israel was my winner (both got robbed in the semi i), i don’t like 2015, 2016 is forgettable, 2017 – no.. and 2018 is just in the middle or just not at the top of the bar, but on the top side. i guess i like it because its my 7th but i dont LOVELOVELOVELOVELOVE it like many do. its called overhyping and everyone did it with mercy up until toy was released. netta will definitely qualify but will never win, i don’t think… Read more »
There is just one thing that I don’t understand, @William Lee Adams why do you go on and on posting about NettaTToy. You know what happens in the comment section when you do so. I would recommend that you give Netta and the song some pause. Actually I think silence about it would do the song some good.
Omg I love your comment!! For once something positive here…
Sydney Girl, i like your positive attitude! i wish all people were like you…
Netta is a Toy in the hands of male producers and spin doctors desperately trying to win and it is a shame that the sweet and artistic girl she is is caught in this web.
I Do hope Israel will not win this year!
And it’s my opinion!
I do hope Israel will win this year..and this is my opinion!
It could be because Estonia is a dated, clichéd pile of pap, who knows? Go FYRM!
Netta – you slay! She is not that “ironed” flat kind of artist – that’s why I love her: original, creative, enthusiastic, skilled musician and singer, charismatic and true to herself… And I don’t think this is seeming – it is real.
At first, it was Saara. now it is Netta.
It’s the weirdness of Wiwibloggs and why its reputation shrinks rapidly.
That’s why you are here and not in the comment section of Eurovision Today or something?
Love the song “ Toy” I would definitely give her first place .!
Yes, that hype is just…too weird. I can’t see anything THAT special in that song. Sure- hype makes views. Anyway- often firsts in bets might go down in flames. We’ll see! I hope for other country to win.
But thank you for your support for Estonia. Best wishes from Estonia 😉
Calm down Eugene, it’s obvious which one has more class. For sure there will be 10 facts of about Elina too like they have covered with other artists so far, just be patient. Believe me, the less the hype the better. Anyways yea thanks for supporting us 🙂
Anybody who has an opera education and with a decent voice can sing Estonias song – to perform Israels song – you need a Netta… with personality etc.
Do you realize that Elina’s voice is rare? Not every soprano can sing that high, let alone an average person. She’s a coloratura soprano to be exact, having an opera education doesn’t guarantee to be able to sing that way. I could easily say the same thing about Israel’s song, just learn how to play the looper.
But this is Eurovision – not an coloratura contest 🙁 It’s just that it kind of ruins Eurovision for me only to think this would win. It’s so great in a classical-crossover contest with her, Jackie Evancho, etc… – but this is Eurovision. Escpecially this year with so many good songs… Coloratura – please come next year to win – not this year— please. That’s how I feel. Which song comes second with you, I hope it’s one that I appreciate so we can agree on it as a winner 2018. 🙂 let’s have fun fighting about the songs. Eurovision… Read more »
Yes, Eurovision, which is a SONG contest. My objection was about your argument which was “anybody who has an opera education and with a decent voice can sing Estonia’s song”. In my case, her voice is not the first thing that I notice. I see the whole package, not only the voice. Literally everything- the melody, the visuals, the atmosphere and finally the voice. Isn’t the whole package that matters in having a bigger chance to win? There are other songs that have chance to win too, not only Estonia. It is really an open race this year, no clear… Read more »
Yes – because if it was all about the voice – you would need to vote for this – high coloratur 😉 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDRByA_vEVw
Mall is great, yet not my favourite. Nevertheless I think he’s the best male voice of this year tho 🙂
This year I can’t decide for one I have some favourites – one of them is Mall. But I have decided which song my guilty pleasure is: Cyprus.
I dont undrestand so big euphoria about this singer- who knows this Netta ? Anybody I tink- exept some fans from Israel who think that this is new Celin Dion of the word :):):):)
Calm down and dont take this eurovision so seruiously and Netta is one othe thousand-thousand fat girls who actually is singing at the stage. In USA every second fat teenager can sing same way like Netta.
So people calm down and relax 🙂
Hahahah… Love the response.
“In USA every second fat teenager can sing same way like Netta.”
According to what survey?
Are there also medium sized girls in america who can sing like Netta? Maybe skinny girls who can do that too? how about female redheads? maybe blondes? What does Netta size have to do with her voice?
No wonder you hate this song, it goes against everything you believe in.
She’s not you toy!
You’re disgusting, Netta rules.
Why mention someone’s size in an ESC blog? You are a horrible, ignorant person.
Fat does not mean BAD ! But fat singers have some kind of voice- usually same (not original). and we have plenty of big girls with this voice. So no original voice by Netta you Israel fans are sreaming here and everythere.
Anni.you should be ashamed mentioning a size of a person.Yes,judge the song and the performance,but please not the size of the individual.
In this day and age music is a release from everyday things that go on and not to vent your anger on a talented woman.
It’s great for someone to have the confidence to perform.it’s people like yourself and many others make people unsecure.please think before you post nasty blogs
Her promotion going well, very funny song made me laugh a lot which is good, thank you netta and the team and israel. Even though I see its going to fail to win esc their promotion is rather successful which is what they want ofcourse
Stop making predictions based on NOTHING.
A song/performance that stands out wins the televote almost every year – see Conchita, Il Volo, Salvador – so it’s reasonable to think Israel is the frontrunner.
Ahh we love an upcoming LEGEND. Interesting facts there! I love how colorful she is.
Netta’s “Toy” is no less than revolutiony. and Im sorry but if you can’t see it, the problem is in you.
yes… this song is divising… neither you like it or hate it…
it will be very interesting to see how it will do in the night itself… can be a winner, can be a flop…
i hope she won’t have the same destiny as Imri last year…at least, they have one thing in common: they live in the same town in Israel
This song is 10/10 without thinking twice.
I give it a 10 as it is.but thanks
we don’t care if Israel wins or not… we just want a decent voting purely for the song and not a voting with hate..
Israel has already won with this song and Netta will build a nice carriere,,, that’s the most important thing!
why you all enjoy so much telling all the time that israel won’t win.. it gives you so much pleasure… and what happens if Israel wins.. will we hear you again the day after with all your bla bla bla comments???
Stop thd hate..Just ignor then..they not worth your efforts dear.its only a small blogg ..go see how many adore Netta in others media.
I just want people to talk about Netta and Toy
I got so many comments about Israeli politics and I’m not into that… Especially in Eurovision
I loved Netta and voted for her to win in Israel
Toy is great and I wish for the best 🙂
Let’s just have fun!
Alferd 5 there is a room for female power every year so stop with your nonsense please.
It is really sad that eurovision fans are being attacked with the worst words when they just mention their opinion about Israeli song. And the obvious thing is that all these attacks are coming from those who are national fans and that is more disappointing. People have no respect.
Last year, italy was laaaarge fan favourite and we all know how it finished. So nobody can claim that Netta will win based on youtube views.
And now, a short list of songs more overrated than Toy: – Believe – Running Scared – Don’t Come Easy – Si la vie est cadeau – Puppet on a String – Shake It Up Sekerim – Go – Diva – Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley I wouldn’t even call most of them bad songs (some of them are, though), but I find a lot less social and musical (yes, musical) value in them than Toy. Diva comes close for social importance, but the song itself never did it for me. Dana International and her message were more important than her song. Here,… Read more »
Yeah, dear heck with Running Scared … when a song that isn’t even in the Top Five Songs Ever Sent By Azerbaijan takes home a win, almost nothing else this decade looks like undeserved hype by comparison.
I could make another list of songs that year more deserving of a win than Running Scared (I’d have been happy with Slovenia or Italy myself. Hell, the entire big five sent better songs than Azerbaijan)
and the 12th fact is that Netta causing people to cluck like chickens with their criticism…. bla bla bla…bla bla bla… why can’t you all face the fact that Israel is leading in every possible poll?? millions of people can’t lie… but all we hear is those fans that always use this platform to bash Israel and spread their hate all over…i am sure that after criticizing the song they go to a closed room and listen to the song quietly… it’s a fact that Israel has to win this year but, “thanks” to people like you we will loose… Read more »
And the propaganda continues..
Wiwi needs the clicks, honey (and comments, both happy and exasperated). Your contributions to both the click and the comment are, undoubtedly, appreciated by them ; )
They’ve already done this with other countries too so what’s yout problem?
Also, Happy Passover for those celebrating! Let’s see if it really will be “next year in Jerusalem!”
Joe Hapoy Passover come visit Israel 🙂
Aw, what cute Purim costumes! Love how she’s inspiring a lot of women all over the world. Looking better for Israel this year than it has for a long time, better even than “Golden Boy.”