Israeli singer Netta Barzilai gives a cluck about empowering women.
Barzilai is favored to win the Eurovision Song Contest, a massive phenomenon overseas, with a #MeToo anthem of sorts that incorporates chicken sounds.
“People are really connecting with the clucking,” Barzilai told TheWrap. “It’s uplifting.”
Hundreds of millions of viewers around the world follow the Eurovision contest. Barzilai qualified for it by winning “HaKokhav HaBa L’Eurovision” (The Next Star for Eurovision), an Israeli reality singing competition. When it came time to record her entry, “Toy,” Barzilai decided to wing it (sorry) with the chicken sounds.
The song includes lyrics like: “I’m not your toy, you stupid boy,” and “Barbie got something to say.”
“We knew we were creating something special,” Barzilai said. “But we never thought it would be this crazy.”
“We’ve been getting fan mail from the U.S. and even Arab countries, places that have nothing to do with Europe,” the song’s co-writer, Doron Medalie, told TheWrap. “The Eurovision usually has the same cliche-ridden themes about peace and love. There aren’t a lot of songs using toys as metaphors for men.”
The winner of the Eurovision contest will be named May 12.
Betting sites have Barzilai as the odds-on favorite to win, with “Toy” taking up the No. 1 spot with bookmakers according to ESC Daily, a site dedicated to covering the Eurovision contest “as the Olympic Games of music.”
“She’s light years ahead of of anyone else,” said Gal Uchovsky, who served as a judge on the show “Kokhav Nolad” (A Star Is Born) for five seasons. “It’s a great song and it’s very current.”
According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, it came in 17th on the list of the most listened-to songs on iTunes in Spain, 36th place in Poland, and 46th in the Netherlands.
Started in 1956, the Eurovision Song Contest is the longest-running international singing competition, with more than 200 million viewers, according to organizers. It’s largely considered the precursor for singing contests like “American Idol” and “The Voice.”
The event, held in Lisbon, Portugal, also airs in the U.S. For the third consecutive year, the show will be broadcast on Logo. The Viacom network will carry the live finale on May 12.
The internet has made Eurovision popular well outside Europe. Last month, a Ugandan dance group, Spoon Youth, choreographed dance to “Toy.” It has more than a quarter of a million views.
It also got a super-Jewish Yiddish spoof by a singer calling herself “The Kosher Diva.”
The winning Eurovision country also gets to host the following year’s competition. The honor doesn’t come cheap — Ukraine forked over about $24 million for last year’s event, according to the Kyiv Post.
But hosting the live event can boost a county’s image and tourism. Stockholm, which hosted the Eurovision in 2016, saw a boom in international visitors and generated about $30.5 million in revenue, according to the city, which it said was the equivalent to 175 full-time jobs.
Israel has won three times — in 1978, 1979 and 1998. But there are no guarantees the 2019 Eurovision contest will be held in Jerusalem. Last year, the Italian song was favored to win, but ended up sixth after the final tally came in.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 5/5/18
Ukraine attracts more than 20 million foreign citizens every year (23.1 million in 2007). Visitors primarily come from Eastern Europe, but also from Western Europe (6.3 million) and USA and also Canada. The country is the 8th most popular tourism destination in Europe. Ukraine is a destination on the crossroads between central and eastern Europe, between north and south. It borders Russia and is not far from Turkey. It has mountain ranges - the Carpathian Mountains suitable for skiing, hiking, fishing and hunting. The coastline on the Black Sea is a popular summer destination for vacationers. Ukraine has vineyards where they produce native wines, ruins of ancient castles, historical parks, Orthodox and Catholic churches as well as a few mosques and synagogues. Kiev, the country's capital city has many unique structures such as Saint Sophia Cathedral and broad boulevards. There are other cities well-known to tourists such as the harbour town Odessa and the old city of Lviv in the west. Most of Eastern Ukraine, which used to be within the borders of the Republic of Poland before World War II, is a popular destination for Poles. The Crimea, a little "continent" of its own, is a popular vacation destination for tourists for swimming or suntaning on the Black Sea with its warm climate, rugged mountains, plateaus and ancient ruins. Cities there include: Sevastopol and Yalta - location of the peace conference at the end of World War II. Visitors can also take cruise tours by ship on Dnieper River from Kiev to the Black Sea coastline. Ukrainian cuisine has a long history and offers a wide variety of original dishes. Since 2005 citizens of European Union, USA, Canada and Switzerland no longer require a visa to visit Ukraine for tourism purposes. Also, no visa has been required for citizens of Russia, and other CIS countries.