Spoon Youth perform a dance to "Toy" .
(photo credit: screenshot)
There are less than two months until the 2018 Eurovision singing competition kicks off in Lisbon. But Israel’s entry to the contest, “Toy,” sung by Netta Barzilai, is already making waves around the globe.
Since the song was released last week, Israel has remained in the top spot in all the Eurovision betting charts, predicting a win for the first time in 20 years. And accolades for the poppy, quirky tune have poured in from all parts of the world.
Earlier this week, the members of the Ugandan group Spoon Youth filmed themselves doing a choreographed dance to “Toy.” The video was quickly shared across the Eurovision fan universe. “For us the song already won!” the group wrote on its video.
Barzilai’s song has reached more than nine million views on YouTube and spawned dozens of “reaction videos” of fans viewing the clip for the first time, which have themselves been seen hundreds of thousands of times.
The song was also released on a wide range of digital music platforms, including iTunes, Spotify and Apple Music. It’s no surprise that the song raced to the top of the Israeli charts, both on iTunes and on the radio.
But it has also been getting play around Europe: “Toy” peaked at No. 5 on iTunes charts in Spain and at No. 24 in Greece, also hitting the top 100 in Norway and several other countries.
While nobody can deny the song is catchy and unique, there has been a fairly mixed reaction among critics and fans.
Matt Friedrichs of ESCunited called it “the comic relief of 2018” and said it would surely be very “polarizing.”
“I think I hate it but I’m pretty sure I love it,” he said in a video review. “I am very confused about this song – like I’m going back and forth, this is garbage, this is the best thing ever.”
Others liked the song’s message of female empowerment.
“This must be the most creative Eurovision entry in a couple of years,” said a You- Tube music reviewer named Ivo. “The song has meaning, it’s a self-empowerment song, she has a voice. It’s just funky and fresh and if she can deliver that to the stage in Lisbon in May then she’s got the top 10 locked.”
Others thought the song was just a little too over the top.
“It’s like someone asked Bjork to do a KFC commercial,” wrote Jewish Chronicle
reporter Daniel Sugarman on Twitter.