Noa Kirel, Israel’s Eurovision representative, took third place in the Eurovision grand finale in Liverpool on Saturday night, one place better than the betting tables predicted, with her song, “Unicorn.”
Sweden’s Loreen won Eurovision this year, as was widely predicted, with her song, “Tattoo." This was Loreen's second win, and it will bring Eurovision back to Sweden next year for the 50th anniversary of the supergroup ABBA's first Eurovision competition. But Kirel’s performance and the fresh-faced enthusiasm and professionalism she projected during her time in Liverpool during the contest was a personal triumph for the 22-year-old singer from Ra’anana and solidified her status as one of the most successful Israeli entertainers of all time.
The semi-final winners were chosen by audience votes, but the final winner was chosen by a combination of audience votes – including, for the first time, the votes of fans in countries that do not participate in the contest – and the choices of panels of judges from each country. Audiences cannot vote for their home country’s representative. Kirel received the Italian, Azerbaijan, Armenian, French and Polish judging panels' 12 points.
Kirel was very much aware of the pressure on her as she represented Israel abroad during a conflict at home and she said earlier in the week that her heart was with Israel as missiles rained down on the country.
Israel's Noa Kirel won TikTok fan favorite award
Kirel’s face betrayed gratified relief and the pride she mentioned when she finished her performance, which elicited cheers and enthusiasm from the crowd. KAN reported that throughout the competition, Kirel’s videos of her “Unicorn” semi-final performance and her rehearsals have been getting the most views on social media of any of the competitors. She won the TikTok fan favorite award.
This year marks Israel’s 50th anniversary in the competition and has won Eurovision four times in the past: : In 1978, Izhar Cohen and the Alphabeta, won with the song “A-Ba-Ni-Bi”; in 1979 Milk and Honey with “Hallelujah”; in 1998 with Dana International’s “Diva,” and most recently, in 2018, Netta Barzilai with her “Toy.” The 2019 contest was held in Tel Aviv.
Barzilai was one of a select group of former winners, described as “Eurovison’s all stars,” invited to perform Saturday night in a medley of hits by artists from Britain. She descended from the ceiling on a float wearing a costume that looked like a silver spider, singing, “You Spin Me Round,” originally by Dead or Alive.