Israel has won the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, with a timely song about female empowerment in the era of #MeToo and #TimesUp – just before Tel Aviv Pride.
Israel’s Netta Barzilai gave a show-stopping performance of “Toy,” complete chicken noises and an electronic looper.
The singer, simply known as Netta, was a hot favourite to win the accolade, with her official video for the song racking up more 25 million views on YouTube before this evening’s event had even started.
The topical track includes lyrics like: “Wonder Woman, don’t you ever forget / You’re divine and he’s about to regret / He’s a bwoka-mhm-bwokbwokbwok-mhm boy,” and: “I’m not your toy / You stupid boy.”
The 25-year old singer has already picked up an OUTtv award after winning a vote among the contest’s LGBT fanbase.
Some, however, were critical of the winner, accusing Netta of cultural appropriation with her hair styling and by wearing Asian-looking clothing. One Twitter user wrote: “So how come no one’s calling Israel out on their cultural appropriation?”
Netta has previously said about her Eurovision song: “I think the song is #MeToo, but it’s an empowerment song for everybody, and everybody can find themselves in it.
“For me, when I sing it, I think about bullying and people who try to bring you down because they’re afraid of you. It’s an empowerment song for everybody.”
Israel claimed the award with 529 points, knocking Cyprus into second place.
Britain’s SuRie – the bookies’ favourite to finish last – did better than expected, finishing 23.
However, her rendition of “Storm” was disrupted when a man managed to get onto the stage and grabbed the microphone from the singer, reportedly shouting “for the Nazis of the UK media, we demand freedom,” which temporarily halted her performance.
SuRie was given the chance to perform again, but turned down the offer.
Last time there was a rage invasion, the act got to perform again at the end of the night. Assume that’ll happen again tonight. Well done to SuRie for holding it together. #Eurovision #GBR pic.twitter.com/BIEaWHvtCk
— Mark Savage (@mrdiscopop) May 12, 2018
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Elsewhere, Ireland’s Ryan O’Shaughnessy performed “Together,” a moving ballad about a failed same-sex relationship.
His performance included two male dancers re-enacting a same-sex love story. Watch the video here.
Chinese broadcaster Mango TV was dropped from the Eurovision Song Contest’s organising body the EBU after censoring parts of O’Shaughnessy’s performance in the semi-final on Tuesday night.
In other highlights, the BBC threw Australia’s Jessica Mauboy some serious shade, likening her to drag star Miss Vanjie.
Meanwhile, bonafide queer icon Saara Aalto represented her home country Finland with the up-tempo song “Monsters.”
The track’s official video is a glorious celebration of identity, featuring genderfluid performers and drag artists – and a very queer reenactment of The Last Supper.
But the on-stage performance appears took a different route, featuring dancers in militaristic uniforms gathered around a giant Illuminati-esque pyramid and Aalto trapped to a rotating wheel.
Aalto previously told PinkNews the song is about “living life as you want, finding your strength, being brave as who you are and not being afraid to show it.”
She added: “I am very proud to be lesbian and I feel very much like I am lesbian, totally.”