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Who won Eurovision 2018? Meet Toy singer Netta Barzilai

The chicken squawking performer came top in last year's grand final

Published: Saturday, 18th May 2019 at 8:00 pm

Just like previous Eurovision Song Contests, the 2019 competition will see last year’s champion return for a special performance.


This year, that means 2018 winner Netta Barzilai will treat viewers to an encore of superhit Toy.

But who exactly is she? And what has she been up to since winning Eurovision? Here’s everything you need to know…

Who is Eurovision 2018 winner Netta Barzilai?

Now 26 years old, Netta was born in Hod HaSharon, Israel, in 1993. That means she was aged five when fellow Israel representative Dana International won Eurovision in 1998.

After living in Nigeria for four years during her youth, Netta returned to Israel where she completed her military service, performing in the Israeli Navy Band.

In 2017, Netta set her sights on Eurovision. She entered talent contest HaKokhav HaBa (meaning ‘Rising Star’), where the winner gets to compete in Eurovision.

Netta came top in the contest. And that’s quite an achievement: rather than competing over one night like the UK’s Eurovision: You Decide, Rising Star lasts five months.

Netta didn’t sing Toy in that contest, instead opting for covers of Spice Girls hit Wannabe and Psy’s Gangnam Style.

Was Netta favourite at Eurovision 2018?

Oh yes. Favourite from the very beginning, Netta topped the table with 529 points. Runner-up was Cyprus (436 points) and Austria (342 points).

Netta came top of the viewer’s votes, but only came third with the international juries.

Her win was Israel’s fourth after 1978 (Izhar Cohen and Alphabeta), 1979 (Gali Atari and Milk & Honey) and 1998 (Dana International).

What was Israel's Eurovision 2018 song called?

Netta won with Toy, a playful tune with a powerful message of female empowerment.

If you don’t remember the message, you’ll almost certainly recall the chicken noises: making use of a looping system, Netta starts the song by laying down a squawking beat.

Interestingly, since Eurovision 2018, Jack White of the White Stripes has earned a writing credit for the song. Following a complaint from Universal Music Group that the track was similar to White’s Seven Nation Army, the Toy songwriters added him as a composer.

What has Netta been up to since Eurovision 2018?

Following the success of Toy, Netta released two singles – Bassa Sabab and Nana Banana ­– both of which reached number one in Israel.

She’ll perform Toy and Nana Banana at the Eurovision grand final 2019.

Who is performing for Israel at Eurovision 2019?

Singer Kobi Marimi will perform Home on the Eurovision stage. But don't expect Israel to win again: most bookmakers are predicting the entry will finish bottom in the grand final.


The Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final takes place in Tel Aviv, Israel, on May 18th 2019

Meet the acts competing in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019


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