ISRAEL – Netta Barzilai has revealed she ‘never’ wants to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest again. The Israeli singer-songwriter has told Gay Star News she will ‘never, ever, ever, ever’ return to the competition.
Many contestants, including winners (like Norway’s 2009 winning act Alexander Rybak), have returned to perform at Eurovision. But for this year’s winning act, who has racked over 100 million views on YouTube with her song Toy, has said the contest is too ‘stressful’.
‘It’s the most stressful two weeks I’ve had in my entire life,’ she said, in an exclusive interview with Gay Star News.
‘They say never say never, but never!’ she added, when asked if she would ever return to compete.
‘It only needs to happen once in your life. It shouldn’t repeat.
‘Eurovision was a magical, terrifying, amazingly weird, campy and wonderful loving experience.
‘I would never do it one more time. If I was to go back and do it for the first time, I would choose to do it. But I’m now thinking about other mountains to conquer.’
Netta said she felt like the ‘real competition’ at Eurovision was the one she had with herself.
‘You’re measured by how much intimacy you managed to create between you and the 200 million people watching,’ she said.
‘[You have to imagine it’s like] a local bar. That’s what Eurovision is, basically. It shows who you really are and how strong you are.’
Like any popular act, Netta faced a lot of criticism going into the contest.
She faced accusations of cultural appropriation for her use of Japanese imagery in her performance.
‘Kimonos are the hot item of 2018!’ she said. ‘I loved that outfit. I grew up on Pokémon and Digimon and a lot of those series.
‘It’s actually a big part of me. We went with it.’
Netta said she felt like she was told to go along with what people expect to see in a Eurovision performance.
‘I was told I should wear black and I should sing like Adele or Aretha Franklin,’ she said.
‘People questioned why I was using the looping machine. People think they know best about who you should be and who you are.’
Netta added: ‘I’ve been oppressed for so many years. The little girl inside me wants her freedom, and I let her. If I wanna wear buns, I wear buns.
‘If I want to wear 120 million colors in my hair I’ll do it. Until I was 18 or 19, I was wearing only black.
‘I covered myself. I hated me. That’s the most miserable feeling ever. A lot of us feel that way.’
In her final speech at Eurovision, Netta accidentally announced the 2019 contest would be happening in Jerusalem. After a lot of discussion behind the scenes, the 2019 contest will actually be happening in the (far more) gay-friendly city of Tel Aviv.
‘Since I was a little girl, I’ve been taught Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. I thought Eurovision happened in the capital!’ Netta said.
‘So I said Jerusalem. I made the mess myself. I didn’t know it would create a noisy conversation, but I don’t think it should be.
‘Eurovision is going to happen in Israel – that’s what counts. [The cities are] 45 minutes apart by car.’
Netta will be performing in London at the Heaven club on 21 November. Tickets are still available at LiveNation.
And she can’t wait to perform to an LGBTI audience.
‘I’m always saying I’m this straight girl in this gay story,’ she said.
‘You can’t tell me how to be happy as the answer is within me. Only I decide who I’m going to be, who I’m going to love.
She added: ‘I think that we shouldn’t give a fuck about anyone. We should do what we really really wanna do and that’s the answer. Tell your story. Find your own voice. Find your own thing. You don’t have to act like the standard.’