The Eurovision song contest has concluded for 2018, with the top prize going to Israel’s Netta Barzilai and her quirky girl-power song Toy.
The Eurovision contest is an international tradition pitting performers from 43 nations against each other and decided by viewers all over the world. Along with European nations, Australia and Israel are allowed to compete.
Barzilai’s song, a fast-paced pop number, featured throaty singing and unconventional mouth noises, including squeaks, pops and clucks, as she protested to her listeners that she would not be used as a plaything. Meanwhile, her backup singers cavorted and preened in a manner that was, at times, reminiscent of chickens strutting and flapping their wings.
Some viewers responded negatively online to the performer’s antics, but in the end, her unorthodox performance and #MeToo-friendly message won the day.
The show, staged in Lisbon, Portugal, was not without other controversies: British singer SuRie was interrupted onstage when a protester grabbed her microphone. The protester was quickly subdued and SuRie finished her performance, with viewers online lauding her for her calm response and strong finish.
An Australian broadcaster narrating the event, however, accidentally uttered an expletive on the air, prompting a storm of chatter on Twitter.
A Chinese video service, Mango TV, was barred by the European Broadcast Union from airing the event, after it edited out of Tuesday’s semifinal a performance featuring a romantic dance sequence by two men. It also reportedly blurred out images of rainbow flags in the audience.
Some 200 million viewers were expected to view Saturday’s performances.