Eurovision: Israel prepares for first semi-final as hot favourite

Eurovision: Israel prepares for first semi-final as hot favourite

Netta Barzilai will perform her song Toy as bookmakers tip her to win this year's competition for Israel

Israel is among the hot favourites to reach the grand final of Eurovision 2018 tonight in the first semi-final in Lisbon.

Netta Barzilai, who will perform her song Toy, is the favourite with bookmakers to win this year’s competition, being held in Portugal.

The song, almost entirely in English apart from the phrase, “I am not a doll” sung in Hebrew, was written by Doron Medley and Stav Beger, and has already been hailed by critics for its quirkiness.

Riding the wave of #MeToo, the global campaign against sexual harassment, the track includes references to Wonder Woman, played by Israeli star actress Gal Gadot. The chorus states: ‘Wonder woman don’t you ever forget, you’re divine and he’s about to regret. I’m not your toy, you stupid boy”.

The song is “current, catchy and powerful” according to Metro, which adds that “Netta can own a stage. Expect this one to go big in the Eurovision arena.”

With comparisons to the smash-hit song Gangnam Style, viewers can also expect to see something very different thanks to the inclusion of chicken noises and a chicken dance.

Israel has previously won Eurovision three times. Barzilai is set to perform at the semi-finals in Lisbon on May 8 and if successful, will appear in the live final on May 12.

A total of 19 acts will perform in the first semi-final, with only the top 10 – as decided by both a jury of experts and the public – qualifying for Saturday’s final line-up of 26 countries.

Scores will be weighted 50-50 between the marks from each competing nation’s professional jury and the results of the televote.

Viewers in the UK will be able to vote for their favourite song in the first semi-final after the final act has finished performing.

Other acts in the first semi-final expected to do well include Estonia’s Elina Nechayeva and Eleni Foureira from Cyprus. Former Britain’s Got Talent finalist Ryan O’Shaughnessy will represent Ireland with the song Together.

The event will be screened live on BBC Four, where Radio DJ Scott Mills and This Morning presenter Rylan Clark-Neal will interview contestants and explore host city Lisbon.

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