Eurovision Winner’s ‘Inappropriate’ Dress Sparks Huge Debate

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Netta of Israel celebrates after winning the 2018 Eurovision Song ContestGetty

Last night (May 12) saw the Eurovision Song Contest take place in Portugal, and for a while, it looked as though the competition was going to be rather tame, in terms of politics! 

Earlier in the week, following the first semi-final on Tuesday May 8, there’d been some controversy when a Chinese broadcaster took objection to Ireland’s same-sex dancers and refused to air it.

However, by Saturday night, everything seemed to have calmed down and nations were looking forward to an entertaining evening…

Then we had Israel’s entry!

Netta of Israel celebrates after winning the 2018 Eurovision Song ContestGetty

It was the evening’s runaway winner, receiving 529 points, with singer, Netta.

She was dressed like a butterfly in a black and pink kimono-style dress, and performed against a back wall of Japanese Maneki-neko ‘beckoning cat’ ornaments, singing her song Toy.

At the start of the song, we heard a looped noise of Neta making sounds similar to someone who’d just had a whiff of something unpleasant.

This was followed with a quick chorus about her Barbie dolls and Pikachu figures before bursting into a bizarre chicken-esque clucking sound.

Prior to Saturday night’s competition, Netta had been the bookies’ favourite for quite a few months, however, being among 46 songs, it’s fair to say it doesn’t always go to plan – especially if previous years are anything to go by.

Following her victory, a jubilant Netta thanked Europe and the voters, while holding on to her beloved trophy.

Yet the singer has come in for some criticism. Many viewers feel her kimono-style dress and seemingly ‘yellow-face’ were racist.

Angered viewers took to Twitter to voice their concerns:

Unfortunately, for the UK’s entry, it was at the centre for the contest’s biggest incident.

UK entrant, SuRie, who was singing ninth on the night with her song Storm, had to deal with a stage invader in the middle of her performance.

According to The Telegraph, the man, who’s thought to be a serial stage-crasher – who goes by the name of ‘Dr Activist’ – rushed the stage, before running up to the singer where he wrestled the mic from her hand.

He shouted what sounded like, ‘For the Nazis of the UK media, we demand freedom’, into the live mic, before he was grabbed by security and removed from the stage.

All credit to SuRie as amazingly, following the commotion, she managed to pick the song back up and finish, receiving a standing ovation upon ending.

The competition was filled with the usual type of performances we’ve come to expect from Eurovision.

Basically, a solid group of standard dance-pop songs, a sprinkling of ballads, and then your typical, out-there, mind-boggling, out of the ordinary performances, whether it’s a band, bizarre costumes, or a new dance.

For an example of what I mean, the show kicked off with the Ukrainian entry – a goth-vampire, by the name of Melovin, who emerged from his piano crypt.

Portugal – the host nation – seemingly suffered from the infamous winners’ curse – they finished rock bottom of the scoreboard with their rather bland ballad. Austria, back in 2014, and Ukraine in 2017 suffered the same fate.

Fans were excited most by Moldova’s entry, who were declared by some as the night’s most visually entertaining – acting out an entire end-of-the-pier farce in their three minutes, with body doubles, costume changes and some good old fashioned magic.

Sweden’s entry proved popular among viewers, with Benjamin Ingrosso’s pop-fused song, Dance You Off, a style Sweden has become known for over the years.

Sadly, for the UK, the stage invasion didn’t win us any sympathy votes! However, the one saving grace was the fact we managed to avoid the embarrassing, ‘nul’ points.

SuRie’s song received a final score of 48, which placed us 24th overall, sitting in the table just above Finland and Portugal.

As the winning nation, Israel is now invited to host the show for 2019 – Netta had made a suggestion in her winner’s speech the city of Jerusalem could be the host city – although I doubt very much she’ll have any say on the official decision!

At the time of writing, Netta herself is yet to respond to the remarks over her dress and make up she adorned on the evening, but she did take to Twitter to say a simple: ‘Thank you’.

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Anne-Marie Bojan

Anne-Marie Bojan

A sports enthusiast with a BA (Hons) in Sports Journalism, who can be found predominantly at Villa Park. Having completed a Masters in Broadcast Journalism, she then went on to work at Sky Sports, the BBC, and the Mirror. When not engrossed in sport, it's animals, guitars, and Liam Gallagher which take main focus.