Last night saw the 63rd Eurovision Song Contest take place in Lisbon, Portugal and it once again proved to be the event that can only be described as Eurovision. It had drama, controversy, a stage invasion and much more.
Controversy was caused by the Irish entry not being shown in China as it depicted gay lovers. In the original showing of the song advertisements were strategically placed so that the Chinese viewers didn’t see the Irish entry. The Eurovision production company then banned the Chinese for not taking the whole show and prevented them from watching the actual finals. The stage invasion took place during the UK’s entry and a protestor managed to get up on the stage and take the microphone form the British competitor SuRie. He was dragged off and later arrested and heroically SuRie managed to carry on. Despite her stoic efforts the UK entry finished third bottom!
The scoring system for the Eurovision has changed over the years as the entrant numbers have increased. The first half of the votes were awarded by a professional jury from each country. This meant that at the half way point when all the panel scores were given it was Austria that were winning. However that was all to change with the public vote. Votes were added up and then delivered in reverse order leaving a nail biting result literally until the last two scores were awarded leaving it as an exciting battle between Cyprus and Israel.
It was to be Israels’ evening and Netta Barzilai was crowned Eurovision Champion in a colourful scene of fun, humour and a hidden meaning. Netta, as she is known, is a 24 year old singer who won the Isralei equivalent of the X Factor. Her song “Toy” was written by Dorn Medal and Star Beger who, in fact had also written the previous two Israeli entries to the competition. The Israeli competitor nearly didn’t get the chance to take part as the television company showing Eurovision pulled out leaving a smaller company to take up the reigns. The Song “Toy” is about the awakening of social justice and empowerment of all people and supposedly inspired by the #MeToo Movement but, as Netta says herself, all wrapped up in a colourful, happy vibe.
Prior to the competition there had been a lot of interviews and publicity about Netta who speaks about her size and freely admits she is fat. She says “I was fat, I am fat but I am the same person. I now just love me for who I am”. She mentions that pop singers are usually thin, beautiful and light and it takes big girl singers like Adele and Aretha Franklin to be a big mama and they need to be able to move people with the way they sing. She was told as she was big she had to dress big and that she wasn’t beautiful. Netta made a huge point of saying that she wanted to break these stereotypes as so many people suffer with the great evil of them. As she was awarded her trophy she yelled to the audience “Thank you for celebrating diversity. See you all in Jerusalem”
The song “Toy” has lyrics that mention Pokemon and has random chicken noises that when you hear the song for the first time feel completely gimmicky but then what would you expect from Eurovision? The chicken noises are in fact supposed to represent bullies who are always cowards or chickens. With this new understanding and seeing all the colourful fun and diversity that was shown in Eurovision this is a worthy winner. If it helps people feel good about themselves and encourages people to love others for who they are in reality rather than judging them, this can only be a good thing. There are always stories about bullies and perhaps the clucking chickens of Netta and her Eurovision winning entry song will bring a renewed strength to some.
Thank you Eurovision for the entertainment!!