7 Day YouTube Views: 4,997,180
7 Day YouTube Likes: 137,151
Ree! Ouch! Heh! Hmm! Lah! Within the first 3 seconds, Israel's song Toy has already grabbed your attention - it stands an excellent chance of winning too.
The lyrics, pace and dance routine are unique, inventive and multi-layered - each segment fits and eventually builds to an energetic finale, there's clearly been a considerable sum thrown at this song to bring it together. Netta herself is a force to be reckoned with, an experienced performer and hugely popular in Israel. Much of the song has Netta clucking and dancing like a chicken which has been a point of debate within the Eurovision community - does it add to the song or just look a bit naff? Will viewers get it? I personally think it simply adds another level of uniqueness to an already strong entry.
Toy plays to a few key demographics, beyond the 'noises' Netta makes, the very first lyrics are "Look at me, I'm a beautiful creature", followed later by "Wonder woman don't you ever forget, you're divine and he's about to regret". Repeating to oneself that you're beautiful and perfect - even if the medical and physical evidence suggests otherwise is very much in vogue right now. The song is on board with the female empowerment angle and is also pretty camp with an air of 'I am who I am' which may play well with Eurovision's sizeable gay viewership too (though that rug seems to have been swept out from under Netta's feet by Cyprus).
In terms of negatives, Netta could come across a little aggressive, however this remark has generally come from Eurovision pundits largely made up of men, other demographics may disagree. Netta originally started her song using a looper which Eurovision have now said she can't use, it's been replaced by backing vocalists instead which for me ruin the effect - especially as she now pretends to play a looper even when it's clearly not being used.
Toy has been at the head of the betting markets since it's reveal, currently under 3/1. In a field of 43 with plenty of unknowns, anybody backing Israel at that price needs their head examined - even if they genuinely think it's the best song, it's simply too low and we've seen many short-priced favourites turned over in the final when it didn't come together as well as it should (see Italy 2017). Saying that though, Toy's YouTube stats are ridiculously high, 5 million views and over 100,000 likes in 7 days blows everyone else out of the water. If you'd wanted to back Israel though, the time to do it has passed and you might as well just wait for the grand final and hope that you can get in bigger, if it all. Israel sings in the first half of the second semi-final, it's guaranteed to qualify but the hype right now is on Cyprus - could there be an upset if it wins instead of Israel?
For me, this is a Top 3 finisher but like many of the songs at the top of the market, there are niggling doubts as to whether or not it can win. Much of this year's Eurovision will come down to how the song comes across on-screen particularly in contrast to the slick music videos. Where the markets are now, I'd sooner back other contestants at bigger prices than Israel and hope they come in during the finals.