Konichiwa! Israel’s Netta Barzilai loves Japanese culture and that really showed during her first rehearsal today in Lisbon. She started her performance a capella, performing her signature sounds while wearing a bold kimono. Behind her? Two walls filled with dozens of maneki-neko — a common Japanese figurine believed to bring good luck to the owner (thank you, Wikipedia).
The positive: The performance captured a lot of the best bits of the music video, including those funky dancers wearing purple body suits. They popped and locked with extra power, bringing the girl power that this performance is built around. The close-ups of Netta at the beginning are amazing and she’s able to show her signature sass with a few head bobs. The a capella opening is also amazing. It helps give the song more shape and shows off the power of her voice.
For me, the far away shots kill the buzz and energy we get from the close-ups. Netta is the star of the show…but when the camera pans out the energy seems to fizzle. This may improve when the arena is filled with a braying mob of fans waving flags (and, in all fairness, it did improve in subsequent run-throughs with the introduction of smoke). But for now I was slightly disappointed with that aspect of the performance.
At one point composer Doran Medalie escorted Netta across the stage in a shirt that said “Stupid Boy”. We’re assuming a male dancer or escort is coming later.
This is still a contender to win, but there’s definitely room for improvement.
Netta — “Toy”: Reviews and Reactions
Israel: First rehearsal at Eurovision 2018
Keep checking back for more reviews of Israel’s first rehearsal
Israel: First press conference 2018
Photo & Footage: Courtesy of EBU & RTP