netta barzilai toy eurovision 2018 first rehearsal
Netta smashing it in Lisbon earlier this year

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

Read all of our Eurovision rehearsal reviews

Read all of our Israel Eurovision news here

Photo & Footage: Courtesy of EBU & RTP

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Maria
Guest
Maria

It is already perfect. I hope nothing will be changed.

poe-tay-toe chips
Guest
poe-tay-toe chips

..Idk why she decided to go asian when there’s a BETTER and more OBVIOUS theme she could’ve gone with. TOYS! She could’ve used TOYS as her theme. Like, having her dances dress like dolls and come out of barbie boxes.

Literally the idea was RIGHT THERE and I have no idea why she or her team didn’t realize that.

Nantia
Guest
Nantia

So overestimated….maybe for top 10.

wolfgang myers
Guest
wolfgang myers

she might be holding back -for an ambulance to take her away hopefully
to spare my ears…

wolfgang myers
Guest
wolfgang myers

the sooner the embassy is moved to jerusalem the better and her with it.
absolute drivel

David
Guest
David

HAHAHAHA is there any sane person that believes that this can win ???
This looks terrible, sounds terrible and IS terrible.
This will flop dramatically and we will never here of that man-hating japanese chickensong again. BYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE !

Mamndara
Guest
Mamndara

It was obvious that she is not good in LIVE perfomance. If it go to the Final my prediction 12-18 place. If Belarus go to the Final as well it is not good for Israel because Belarus has joke act as well 🙂

nils1973nl
Guest
nils1973nl

OMG!
Just saw her rehearsal.. O men..
I didn’t like the song anyway (because there is no melody) so I couldn’t care less if she failed, but even I are rooting for Netta to improve on this (nobody deserves to be part of such a ..modest.. act). Come on Netta, you can do better! Cryin’ out loud.. ANY change would be an improvement.

CyxCy
Guest
CyxCy

The semi-final will be decisive. As much the clip is effective, so much the live one can be a disappointment. I am mixed because I like Netta, she has a fabulous personality and a lot of charisma, but I don’t like her song, which for me is in a delirium post Gangnam Style. it can be a dazzling victory like a painful fall.

AngieP
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AngieP

I think people had high expectations from this rehearsals. Seems like they go for sth similar to the music video. It looks good but there is room for improvement. It didn’t impress me.

Jamala
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Jamala

And so what? France every year is exactly overrated.

Escphbelgium
Guest
Escphbelgium

People! Does it ever cross your mind that maybe Netta and her team are holding back a little and are saving the real surprises for later. I mean there’s a lot of note-taking and polishing to do in these rehearsals, and I think they’re not giving it energy intentionally because they’re saving it for the actual show.
Either way, I wouldn’t count Israel out if I were you. Just need to keep and open eye and watch them.

Lou
Guest
Lou

I just don’t feel comfortable with the fact that so many haters are rush on her because they want her to lose and not because they want someone else to win. Isn’t it something weird to bash someone that you don’t like instead of supporting the one that you love ?

nils1973nl
Guest
nils1973nl

I guess people don’t like her to win because of her lyrics (taking men down instead of actually lifting women up).
People like solutions instead of fighting.

Fabio
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Fabio

Hmm..I dont think thats the main reason some people dont want her to win..

People are hating on her mostly because its being overhyped..so its easy to get an opposite feeling towards it after a while because you feel “tired” of it being so hyped and “loved” by so many…so you start to wish it bad things instead.

If did that made sense to anyone?

María J.
Guest
María J.

It’s always so tough to deal with huge favoritism…It’s been like this every year with the exception of Euphoria (one of the best ESC songs ever)

Whatever happens, I hope she brings a great performance worth of a good position at least.

EmmelieDarlineFrancescoFan
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EmmelieDarlineFrancescoFan

Don’t forget Only Teardrops! 🙂

Jericho
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Jericho

Prophecy was given to fools!!!
Wait for sf1 and then the final and get all the answers without looking like fools….

Jamala
Guest
Jamala

Netta, Netta, Netta…you beautiful creature. Your song isn’t good live.

nils1973nl
Guest
nils1973nl

With your mentioning of “the weight of her expedition” there was also no pun intended I suppose 😉

Zafir
Guest
Zafir

After I rehearsal I don t see Israel, Czech Republic or Bulgaria have chance to win the contest. Maybe small chance have only Estonia after I rehearsal.

Jamala
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Jamala

I don’t think so. Estonia impressed with the dress only. 😀

Zafir
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Zafir

They will sing about refugess in expensive costume created by famous french designer.

Rimig
Guest
Rimig

As I feared, it doesn’t seem that they will be able to successfully adapt the strong visuals of the clip to the stage. When I saw the video and heard the song for the first time I thought “I LOVE this. This will slay”. But some days later I was listening to the song without watching the video and I realized that I still liked it, but did not really love it, and how much the song relies on the video. They do know that their success depends on a visually strong and dynamic performance and I’m afraid they won’t… Read more »

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

I feel the same. The video captures Netta’s essence and the song vibe so well, that it became very difficult to match its energy with a live performance. I guess it would be easier with leds, but since they aren’t an option, they’ll have to do lot of close up angles so Netta and her dancers can sell it.

Rimig
Guest
Rimig

As (almost) always, you hit the spot, Sabrina. The only way they could solve this somehow without LED screens is using only close up angles. But for those watching her live in the Altice Arena it will be a huge flop (and I’m not happy about that. It’s not my favourite entry, but it’s still in my top 5).

Nono123
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Nono123

GO NETTA!!
You are the besttt!!

Marcelo
Guest
Marcelo

She still has a lot of following and it’s between her and Bulgaria to be the televote winner.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

Bulgaria ain’t a candidate as a televote winner, lmao.

Marcelo
Guest
Marcelo

I don’t like Bulgaria either, but given the amount of positive feedback they have received, they could end up winning the televote unless they screw it in the live performance, but I don’t see that happening.

jj smith
Guest
jj smith

why, please do tell me, whats wrong with bulgaria? why r u lyao? i don‘t get it, please!

please
Guest
please

. I don’t get the asian theme there. I mean you have this middle eastern vibe in the song and thats what u wear. Its all a mess. If she wants to shup up the haters she need to bring it hard. This is a tough semi and to just rely on your song is just not the way to go.

nils1973nl
Guest
nils1973nl

Totally feel ya.
Like Jamie-Lie’s Ghost in 2016. Not because of the Japanese theme, but for the resemblance of being themed without any logic to it. Like they picked a random theme from a grab bag.

poe-tay-toe-chips
Guest
poe-tay-toe-chips

Honestly, I’m asian and I’m starting to get a little annoyed by all these Eurovision contestants lately just adding random “asian” things onto the stage or in their costumes without rhyme or reason

Germany back in 2016 (clearly didn’t work out)
Latvia last year (clearly didn’t work out)
Israel this year (probably gonna hurt her chances)

Like…wish they’d put more thought into it. Or better yet, not do that at all.

John
Guest
John

1) there’s no reason to believe this is the final outfit. She stated in interview she is bringing multiple looks. 2) The video clearly pointed to a Japanese influence. Two of the 5 outfits were clearly kimonos. The song lyrics also include Pikachu (of Japanese Pokemon fame) and “baka” which is Japanese for fool or idiot. So what’s the mystery?

Yaa
Guest
Yaa

But the little cats behind her are Chinese, it’s confusing

Kyna
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Kyna

My mother, who is fluent in Japanese, didn’t even catch the word “baka”. She thought that it was saying the curse word instead (dancing with my dolls on the motha-effing beat). So I don’t think that a regular European even knows the meaning of the word. The only one that they will get is the Pikachu one.

please
Guest
please

mentioning 1 japanese word and a cartoons name doesn’t give you the automatic japanese influence in your song. the sounds that are more pronounced in this song are middle eastern, which also represents her country. I wished she had played more with that aspect in her staging and less with this artificial asian theme. But hey thats just my opinion…

Ghhfy
Guest
Ghhfy

I guess they used an asian theme to stand out, and because a lot of young people find it cool?Maybe they want to connect with younger audience? But yeah, it doesn’t make much sense when you think about it..anyway Netta looks very good in that kimono dress (such an improvement from those ugly pre party dresses) and I love the colours.

nils1973nl
Guest
nils1973nl

“No yóu are stupid!”

Kiddin’, Netta is no way stupid, nobody is.
But maybe better if she doesn’t call people (or a specific sex) stupid also.
Yeah you don’t mean that.
Well maybe don’t say it than.

PS loved your 2003 and 2011 entries Israel!

Frisian esc
Guest
Frisian esc

Come on nils she says “stupid boy” not “every single boy on the planet is stupid and i hate you”. The song is like many other love songs about a specific person and never was it said that it was meant for boys in general.

nils1973nl
Guest
nils1973nl

Yeah I know, you are right… ?
Still don’t like her tone, don’t like the negativity, the polarisation, the namecalling, the “you are stupid and yóu are a loser, and yóu are a chicken”. Maybe some ís and deserves it. But still..
You see those people a lot on Twitter for instance, it is so little constructive, so little working to a solution. Is thís really empowering someone?

But my remark wasn’t the right way to express that feeling.. ?

Let’s formulate it like “let’s get the monsters under our beds!” ?,
the positive way!

Edgar
Guest
Edgar

Meanwhile France is the second in the odds. Does the continuing improvement of France’s position in odds predict a win for them?

nils1973nl
Guest
nils1973nl

I think France will suffer too much of ‘big-5-disadvantage’. La st year ended bottom-half with a top-5-song!

Marcelo
Guest
Marcelo

Alma ended in 12th place which isn’t a bad placement at all beating fan-favorites like Israel, Poland and Azerbaijan. Don’t forget France has been in the Top 10 of televoting for two years in a row, so France could get plenty of televotes.

nils1973nl
Guest
nils1973nl

I didn’t do my homework, I agree.
Last years was more about the performance, this year more the song itself (and maybe also the performance, we will see). It would be a great winner.
Don’t know about the theme though. Earlier entries about refugees and that kind of stuff never did so well. Maybe people like the ESC to escape from all of that for a week. To get psyched about some dress, just to get a break from all that kind of stuff.

Marcelo
Guest
Marcelo

I don’t know, I mean the last two winners have received polarizing opinions from the fandom in general: some will love it, others will hate it. So maybe that’s an omen for Israel or France who are really well liked but also have a huge amount of detractors. Who knows, honestly?! xD

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

The video is so good that it was clear that Israel would struggle to meet many people’s expectations about it. I didn’t like the props (and yeah, they seem quite random), but I’m glad they kept the dancers (I hope they’re the same from the video, because they were very charismatic). But here’s the thing: they still have Netta, she’s the show here. The camera angles can make it feel more like it should. Based on wiwi’s team’s feelings, I guess they haven’t achieved it on the first rehearsal.

jim
Guest
jim

yall if you let her flop like you did to gabbani, i’ll lose my faith in humanity, it’s the best song and the only deserved winner this year

EmmelieDarlineFrancescoFan
Guest
EmmelieDarlineFrancescoFan

I loved Occidentali’s Karma and think that deserved to win. It suffered from peaking too soon and in a way being so good that it was old news by the time Eurovision rolled around.

I’ve never been a fan of Toy. It’s still a contender to win, but it’s no way near as clear cut as the bookies seem to think it is.

Miguel
Guest
Miguel

The performance is contemporary, fresh and dynamic. I like the song, the staging is good, but not great. It’s lacking something. Maybe with the right camera angles it will improve.
Netta is awesome and her vocals are spot on. She is certainly a contender and will qualify easily.

Israel’s problem is all the expectations created around the song and the performance. It will be difficult to surprise us when you are the clear favourite to win.

Marcelo
Guest
Marcelo

It wasn’t bad as many people claimed, the vocals were actually very good but in the end, the staging is a bit of a let down, but it seems that’s the rule, at least from what has been seen in rehearsals. Since there aren’t any LEDs, staging and props seem more rudimentary and empty but I’m not mad about it, Portugal wanted to make something different and original, so I’d say let them.

Axel
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Axel

As I thought before- this is only radiofrendly song and not winner 100% My prediction 5-10 place There are much more better singers (unfortunately for Netta)

ted
Guest
ted

From the 30 second rehearsal clip… I love it. Love the colours, love the vibe. This is going to look epic in HD when we get to see this with all the camera angles and smoke and pyros .
From listening in to the live stream and hearing a faint audio (EBU rules bla bla) there were a few off putting notes mainly from the backing vocalists which threw some shade towards the song. But if they can get this right, I am very excited about this song. Come on Netta!!

Frisian esc
Guest
Frisian esc

I love how some eurovision fans are literally so mad at you for liking this song that they felt the need to leave a dislike xD the shade

Davve
Guest
Davve

Her first rehearsal was disappoiting. Will struggle to win if she does not improve

Rodrigo Geuso
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Rodrigo Geuso

Look at the amount of likes and dislikes on the rehearsal video. I know it’s negative but the likes are still higher than the all the other rehearsals today. Dislikes (not liking) do not get off points at Eurovision. Though likes (votes) do. Israel still has a chance in my opinion.

alessio
Guest
alessio

she dont win this esc ….. my favorite is albania real dark horse

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

Stop saying these things, they make people unfairly hate my boy Eugent.

M_K
Guest
M_K

In the short video, the stage looks quite. I’m not so sure if the camera work can fix this since the producers usually LOVE wide angles.

Anita
Guest
Anita

I don’t like the colours of her dress, and with the backgroud colours there is no contrasts… At the moment with these first glimpses I am not convinced by the staging.

esc1234
Guest
esc1234

Dont you feel pathetic when you say something will fail and you have seen ONLY SOME SECONDS?

M_K
Guest
M_K

Making a “mark my words” kind of prediction is always ridiculous, no matter what it’s based upon.

Anya
Guest
Anya

Netta was really good at first rehearsal, I am sure she will even improve. Don’t get those hate comments.
Looking forward to Bulgaria.

Weißbrot
Guest
Weißbrot

Oh, so People who don’t think Israel will win or don’t love the song are now haters? That’s good to know I guess.

Radakiel
Guest
Radakiel

If you don’t like it, then it’s ok, some poeple just have other tastes
If you’re dissappointed by the staging, it’s ok as well, she was believed to win, so she needs a perfect staging
But if you expect fireworks from a video, that has barely more than 1000 pixels in total, then it’s isn’t ok

pooky1001
Guest
pooky1001

I know right, i dont like this song and made some comment on a you tube video about how it wasnt my favourite and people started saying i must be a person who hates Israel if i dont like this song!!! Go figure.

Elin
Guest
Elin

Well, I’m from Sweden so I know all about hate. I agree, if you don’t like a song that must be ok. That has nothing to do whith hate. But if someone hade a song because it’s from a sertan country, well that’s an other thing.

Anya
Guest
Anya

Most of the commentors(I didn’t say that about every single negative comment, don’t get me wrong) are actually the haters of the fact that Israel can win.

Alon I srael
Guest
Alon I srael

what do you expect from a so short snippet?? you hear an echo, you see the cameraman, you see all from far…
you will be really disappointed when you see that it will look much better on the night…it seems that everyone is enjoying the fact that it may fail…you are waiting for it so much that you let this video fool you…

Alex
Guest
Alex

Bad Vocals, bad outfit, seriously overrated thanks to the media.

Ulises
Guest
Ulises

Ok experts, Netta is the worst performer, she sucks and will end at the bottom of the list with 0 points. Happy now? Good.

Héctor
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Héctor

The staging is supposedly very well thought, but for now I just only see a lot of extravaganza nonsense.

Daan
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Daan

She was offkey many times in the beginning. This won’t win thankfully. But.. Like Lain said.. Cultural appropiation much?

Iain
Guest
Iain

I mean…cultural appropriation?

fugu
Guest
fugu

And it worked so well for that German singer a few years ago, too. . . .

Paul
Guest
Paul

Cultural appropriation isn’t a thing

fugu
Guest
fugu

Oh, it absolute is and Eurovision has certainly had its share, though by now, it really shouldn’t be since everyone has the internet and can easily research their ideas.

poe-tay-toe-chips
Guest
poe-tay-toe-chips

Joan Franka, Netherlands 2012. She’s not a Native American, …but she still dressed up as one and wore a feather war bonnet on her head. War bonnets are only supposed to be worn by those of great spiritual or political importance. In Native American tribes, wearing them is reserved for people who deserve the highest level of respect. They’re a special ceremonial headgear. And in the US, non-native people wearing them always causes a lot of controversy. Joan Franka just turned a cultural she doesn’t belong to nor is respecting into some cute “theme” for her entry. If she performed… Read more »

Esgalnor
Guest
Esgalnor

Eh, the song is fine but the staging is dull.

Marty Mc
Guest
Marty Mc

Interesting how the whole staging, changes the whole concept of a song. From the small snippet shown, yes Netta is still in the race in my opinion. It’s her style, give her credit for this fan favourite, a catchy one. I like it. Will it win? We will have to see in a couple of weeks. These past years something different wins the whole thing and this together with a few others tick that box. What crosses my mind is the back drop, as it is almost the same for every song, all be it different camera shot angles and… Read more »

Radakiel
Guest
Radakiel

“In a couple of weeks”
Like… two weeks ?

fugu
Guest
fugu

So even more gimmickry over substance.

Malin
Guest
Malin

Think we won’t be dissapointed. Wheather you love or hate it. She gives the show so much strong spicy flavors. Not my winner, but it’s a good special song.
Good luck from Sweden

Denis
Guest
Denis

I knew from the first time this isn’t a winner. It is a really good song, even better than Francesco last year, but it does not have that winner feeling. Some songs are obvious winners from the first time and this wasn’t one of those. It will reach top 10 but a win? it needs a more powerful performance to fit the song and Netta. She could still do it but this looks more and more like ESC 2011 where a surprise winner wins.?

Darren
Guest
Darren

As long as the surprise winner has a good song (unlike the winner of ESC 2011) I would totally be okay with that.
It’s soooooo going to be Bulgaria though.

Roy Moreno
Guest
Roy Moreno

I wouldn’t be upset with Bulgaria
I think it will (and should) be either Israel, or Bulgaria, or Estonia, maybe even Hungary
(From Israel)

Marcelo
Guest
Marcelo

I’d say France.

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

Open road for France.

Denis
Guest
Denis

Well France or Bulgaria and Estonia wouldn’t exaclty be a surprise winner. It is one of the favourites.. A surprise winner would be a song no one expected as a winner to win. Like Running Scared in 2011.
Spain, Greece, Denmark, that kind of surprise..

EmmelieDarlineFrancescoFan
Guest
EmmelieDarlineFrancescoFan

I agree that it probably won’t win, but come on, this is no way near as good as Occidentali’s Karma! 🙂

Darren
Guest
Darren

Ah no!! Kind of disappointed to see this staging :/ it makes the whole thing look kitschy. I like the song and want it to do well but I fear it might not be taken seriously with that staging.
Also, if the impending male dancer or escort is in any way objectified, just to further the feminist stance of the song, I will also lose respect for it. Really hoping I’m wrong though. So far, I think there is a lot of room to improve on this.