On a night when Israel braced for the possibility of a new war, Noa Kirel, Israel’s representative at the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool, delighted her millions of fans around the world with her high-energy singing and dancing in her performance of the song, “Unicorn,” in the semi-finals – and she won a place in the final.
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Wearing a sparkly, white-and-black outfit, her long hair flying, she sang about having “the power of a unicorn” and executed an athletic, Flashdance-style dance routine, gyrating on the floor like a breakdancer, as the crowd cheered her on. It was a sweet moment, especially since it came during the 50th anniversary of Israel’s participation in Eurovision.
This year’s semi-final was notable because only the public voted around the world and there was no panel of judges as in past years.
Kirel ranks high in Eurovision betting tables
Kirel has consistently ranked in the top 10 in the Eurovision betting tables, so her success in the semi-finals was no surprise. A panel of experts from the popular Eurovision blog, Wiwibloggs, led by its founder, William Lee Adams, had predicted that Kirel would make the finals and might even win the entire contest. Following her performance on Tuesday, Adams tweeted, “She won’t look back. She won’t look down. Noa Kirel has the power of a unicorn tonight at #Eurovision.”
50 years of Israel in Eurovision
Last year’s Israeli contestant, Michael Ben David, did not make the finals, but Israel has won Eurovision four times in the past: In 1978 and 1979, with wins for Izhar Cohen and the Alphabeta, with the song “A-Ba-Ni-Bi” and Milk and Honey, with “Hallelujah,” respectively, and then again in 1998 with Dana International’s “Diva.” While for decades the top prize eluded Israel, Israelis continued to be devoted Eurovision fans and to cheer on Israeli contestants. Finally, in 2018, Netta Barzilai became Israel’s fourth Eurovision winner with her rousing rendition of “Toy,” a self-empowerment anthem and the 2019 contest was held in Tel Aviv.
Kirel showed off her star quality after all the acts had performed and before the votes were announced, when she was asked by Alesha Dixon, one of the hosts, ato teach some of the other performers her dance moves.
The second semi-final will be held on Thursday night and final will be on Saturday. If she recreates the magic she showed on Tuesday, Kirel has a real shot at becoming Israel’s fifth Eurovison winner.