What can stop Israel from winning Eurovision 2018?

Netta Barzilai Israel Eurovision 2018

No matter how good Rybak’s rehearsal is, or no matter how much praise Estonia and France get. Israel is still top favorite in all the betting markets. Brandon McCann asks the question on everyone’s mind right now: What can still stop Netta from winning Eurovision 2018?

“I am not sure anything can stop Netta. Upon initial listening, I was instantly hooked. Many entries could be sung by any singer. However, Israel’s is different, it is a song that only Netta could sell. It truly embodies who she is as a performer and what she represents.

But let’s give it a try and play devil’s advocate. Here are a few arguments against “Toy” winning Eurovision.

Repeating Italy 2017

This year after seeing the first two rehearsals of Israel I’m getting deja-vu of last year’s Italian entry “Occidentali’s Karma” by Francesco Gabbani. The big favourite by a strong majority, however it dipped after its second rehearsal when it was clear that the performance distracted from the incredible entry. Camera angles, use of colours and lack of close-ups on Francesco made the performance not fit like it did back in San Remo.

What both performances have in common is the staging and use of props both distract and detract from the message and emotional power the song could achieve. Francesco’s use of a Gorilla eventually became too much to be taken seriously as lyrically it’s one of the deepest Eurovision entries we had ever been graced with.

Netta follows a similar theme, impressive lyrics of woman empowerment and self-acceptance. Therefore why the need for lucky cats on-stage? Sometimes less is more in both cases.

Netta needs to bring the energy

The song’s main selling point is Netta’s ability to own her words and the energetic arrangement. From what we’ve seen she remains quite static and doesn’t express herself physically as best as she could. Perhaps it is nerves but despite being a newcomer she is a professional and we know she can deliver. If you’ve watched her ‘Rising Star’ performances, then you know she is the full package.

The chicken dance when Netta does it alone, looks good as she is singing the notes also. When multiple dancers also do it, I worry it reaches cliche territory.

Will the jury support Israel?

My last main concern is whether the jury will back this performance. I can see it still doing very well in the televote because the song itself is incredible. However, considering the bloodbath that is semi-final one, I worry that entries that have impressed overall such as Croatia, Austria and Cyprus may take their attention away from this potential winner. They have done more, by focusing on one key element. Croatia is vocals, Austria is visuals, Cyprus is choreography. Will the jury be able to understand the deeper meaning behind this song?

I would book tickets for Jerusalem or Tel Aviv in a heartbeat if Israel wins Eurovision 2018. I just don’t know if the song is salvageable as a potential winner anymore. Regardless of what happens in Lisbon, Israel deserve the highest respect for what an incredible national selection and song creation.”

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