The Worst Song Won Eurovision

Screenshot: Netta

This year's Eurovision was one of the best in recent memory, with the worst possible result.

Eurovision is a song contest between countries from the European Broadcasting Union. Each participating country sends one original song to an hours long concert, and then through a combination of a jury of music professionals and a live televote, an overall winner is chosen. It's a yearly celebration of big, stupid pop songs, and I try to never miss it.

I never expect Eurovision to give first place to the song I'm rooting for. Last year, when I was rooting for the Italian Francesco Gabbani, it ended up going to the Portuguese Salvador Sobral, who at least sang a lovely song.

In 2016, Ukranian Jamala's "1944" was a powerful song and deserving winner, but I was secretly stanning Malta's Ira Losco's "Walk On Water." There have been times when the winner has confused me - I will never understand all the fuss over 2010 winner "Satelite" - but I've never caught feelings over a winner.

This year was a little different. I absolutely, 100% hate "Toy," the winning song by Israel's Netta, and I have ever since I first heard it.

I do admire's Netta's confidence, and I think it's pretty cool that a song built around samples and loops ended up winning Eurovision, where those skills are sometimes maligned.

Those are the two obligatory nice things I have to say about this song, which blows.

Where to begin? With the clucking noises? With the Meghan Trainor level commercialised empowerment feminism? With her kimono?

One of the worst aspects of "Toy" is there there are so many incongruous elements that the whole thing is a muddle. Take the lyrics, which songwriter Doron Medalie says are inspired by the #MeToo movement:

Look at me, I'm a beautiful creature

I don't care about your modern-time preachers

Welcome boys, too much noise, I will teach ya

Hey, I think you forgot how to play

My teddy bear's running away

The Barbie got somethin' to say

Hey! My "Simon says" leave me alone

I'm taking my Pikachu home

You're stupid just like your smartphone

Wonder Woman don't you ever forget

You're divine and he's about to regret

He's a baka boy

Which parts of this are about a movement to weed out men in positions of power who repeatedly assault and abuse women? Is it the part where she calls him a "baka boy," a Japanese word for "idiot" that teenage non-Japanese people like to spam on message boards when they first get into anime?

On a songwriting level "Toy" is obnoxious. Songs made out of looping vocal tracks are something I think is pretty cool, but the particular vocal tracks that loop in "Toy" are all noises I actively try to avoid hearing.

Even if Netta is purportedly singing an anthem that is supposed to be feminist in some way, her milquetoast gestures towards feminism make me fear that this is what anti-feminists assume what feminism is: a woman making chicken noises and screaming at you.

Granted, my favourite song of Eurovision 2018 wasn't all that deep. It was Eleni Foureira's "Feugo," which featured the lyric "He's got me pelican, fly fly flying."

It's a sexy, catchy pop song about feeling hot and wanting to bone. She sets a car on fire in the video. If you're going to try to sell me female empowerment I'd prefer it come with glitter and fire.

Although Eurovision attempts to be apolitical to the point of banning song lyrics about current events, it isn't as if politics aren't present. Ukrainian Jamala's "1944" is a song about the ethnic cleansing of Crimean Tartars by the Soviet government, and it would be naive to think it was coincidental that it won in the same year that Russia annexed Crimea.

Israel's presence in Eurovision is already controversial - Tunisia, Morocco and Lebanon don't participate in the contest even though they're eligible because of Israel's presence. Netta's speech post-win about "celebrating diversity" was uncomfortable to hear given the turbulent situation in Israel.

The memory of it felt even more uncomfortable after today's news of dozens of Palestinians being killed in Gaza during the unveiling of the new US Embassy in Jerusalem.

It's socially irresponsible to overlook these troubling politics, but if you have to, at least send a song as good as the all-time Eurovision classic, Dana International's "Diva," an entry from Israel that won in 1998.

Despite how mad I am about the results, the overall quality of songs this year was amazing. Up until the final minutes of the show, I was having a blast. We got this incredible Hungarian screamo band:

I loved this extremely talented and really hot Austrian, who quite rightly got the highest score from the Eurovision jury:

Ukraine sent the vampire Lestat:

These Bulgarian goths blew my mind:

I slowly fell in love with this former Prada model from the Czech Republic over the course of the competition:

If this Finnish song is not a Lip Sync For Your Life on Drag Race soon, I'll be super mad:

Estonia sent this mesmerising Fifth Element nonsense:

It truly was one of the best years of Eurovision I've ever watched. I'm just mad that the winning song sounds like warmed over arse.


Comments

    Gotta admit I watched a little bit, it was interesting but that winning song was... horrendous.

    Couldn't figure out if she was doing a parody with those cats or a weird chicken dance thing.

    The lyrics are ridiculously terribad and to be honest, I know she's trying to say it's a big tribute to feminism, but it comes across way more misandrist than anything by referring to males as 'idiots'. Honestly, they chose the wrong song to win.

      So calling some males "idiots" is "misandrist"?
      But hey all the songs that make it into the top 10 that go on about "b*tches" and hating women are perfectly ok with everyone.
      Sounds about right.

        But hey all the songs that make it into the top 10 that go on about "b*tches" and hating women are perfectly ok with everyone.

        Please, point out wherever I said that 'going on about 'bitches' and 'hating women' was perfectly ok with everyone'. Of course it's not. It's sexist and shithouse. Calm your farm dude.

          She never said males were idiots though,

          I'm not your toy (Not your toy)
          You stupid boy (Stupid boy)

          Boy is not a plural. Song is pointed towards an individual.

          In other news, she was told off for cultural appropriation because she wore a kimono, how dumb is that!

            Well she is Israeli. Taking other people's things is a way of life.

              HA! I just choked on a biscuit, I wasn't expecting that.

          I still totally fail to see how anything in "Toy" is "misandrist".
          If that is the case you could argue any song that is seen as "empowering women" is "misandrist".
          Heck half of pink's songs could be seen that way (as an example).
          And every time I have seen anyone use that word to describe something it has been totally incorrect and the people using it no better than your standard alt-right / incel types.
          Not saying that describes you at all.
          That word has just been picked up by some very screwed up parts of the internet.

        Holy shit, dude. You sure as shit don't deserve that kind of vote down. I used to think the commenters here were better than on FB.

          Thanks mate!
          I should know better than to read the comments. :P
          I was a bit miffed when Gizmodo stopped comments.
          Now I'm wondering if they had the right idea.
          There has been a strong alt-right / gamergate presence happening for a while.
          Be warned you may be downvoted a bunch yourself for just showing support. :)

            Hey I'm gonna be honest and say it surprised me too.

            But seriously there's a bit of a division on these boards. There's a huge alt-left and alt-right presence with very few people willing to try to balance it in the middle. It kinda goes with the territory on these boards it seems. That being said, it confounds me Giz took the comments off, I find that disappointing of them, as they seem to really want to be an echochamber these days instead of being a platform for discussion. I don't personally subscribe to either side, trying to find myself in the middle area.

      I am not above admitting that my thumb hovered over the downvote key for a really long time as I considered the disappointment that I feel knowing you actually watched it. Just know that my loathing for the downvote button won out.

        Just checked out a few clips on youtube, nothing more lol

        But believe you me... I swear it's never happening again...

        Just prepare to downvote me freely into oblivion next year when I break this promise lol

    The quirky and wierd has always done great at Eurovision. It's what gets votes.

      I don’t think this is particularly quirky or weird, so much as it is complete rubbish trying to tack itself onto a hot topic.

    Gotta disagree.
    Loved the song. Thought it was very Eurovision.
    Never understood the hype over Eleni Foureira's "Feugo" and still don't.
    Let along how Cesár Sampson's "Nobody But You" got so high in the voting.
    Neither of them interested me at all I thought both were very "meh".
    Sure they might win something like "Whatever country Idol" but not Eurovision.
    Actually I blame the whole "Idol" phenomena for really beginning to dilute Eurovision.
    So much is same-same.

      I don't think 'idol' is a phenomena when it's lasted 18 years now, it's an ingrained part of culture at this point honestly.

        I see it as phenomena that changed the industry.
        And not for the better.
        Sure it's not the only thing but it is part of the mix. Auto-tune has a lot to answer for as well.
        And I see "idol" infecting Eurovision as more and more countries picked up on it and now it's the winners of those contests that end up in Eurovision.
        It just seems that we are seeing this levelling where everything just sounds similar.
        Bring back the days of Lordi winning Eurovision I say!
        But hey maybe I'm just getting old and these kids need to get off my lawn.

          I legitimately thought you had to be an Idol winner to be able to be on Eurovision for ages.

          That's more than a fair point. I do agree it changed the industry and not for the better too. One need only look at how groups are formed, contracted and constructed these days alone. The less said about auto-tune the better...

          Oh man Lordi, freakin' Lordi, goddamn loved their win. Those kids can **** off from my lawn too. God I miss the 90's and the variety of new music back then... *gets all crotchety and Clint Eastwoody*

      I agree on Fuego. But Toy sure as shit shouldn't have won.

        What was your favourite?
        And yeah I'm not sure if it should have won either it's just that out of that top 3 it would have been my pick.
        If I'm honest nothing really grabbed me this year.

          I really enjoyed Hungary's metalcore. I'm actually planning to buy their album I enjoyed it that much.
          And Ukraine's performance was great. Theatric as fuck.
          Honestly, nothing else really remains in my memory, unlike former years where I got some legitimate fav songs still in my iTunes rotation.

    I thought I would hate it. All I could think of was how much better it was than Kendrick's HUMBLE (Which was #1 on TripleJ's Hottest 100) and yet people are acting like it's the worse song ever.

    I would rather listen to this song 10 times in a row than listen to HUMBLE once. Then again I would rather listen to white noise or even a deafening BEEEEEEEEP.

    My biggest gripe with Israel winning was the free pass it got.

    The Netherlands got in turmoil over perceived racial profile, a white man in a leopard print coat, with black animalistic dancers.. yet Israel had no backlash about appropriating Japanese and Chinese stereotypes that had nothing to do with her song. Germany got that backlash in 2016 when it sent a young German woman in full kimono... but nothing was said about Israel.

    it is a crying shame that Jessica Mauboy got the LOWEST televote... i mean WTF? how did Spain/Portugal get higher? Why was Austria jury favourite???

    I follow Eurovision quite intensely... watching every country's National Selection shows... (The Swedish 6 week long Melodiestivalen is definitely the best) and even i couldn't predict the winner.

      You should know by now Israel sees itself as immune to any and all criticism because any time you do the words "Anti-Semetic" gets thrown around like liberals yelling "RACIST!"

    I felt it was obnoxious as well, but the really interesting thing was how different the Judge's votes were to the public. I agreed with the rankings much more before the judges got their vote in.

    There's an oft-neglected lesson for you.
    Something can have good morals and backstory and still be awful.

    I legitimately thought the "baka" was meant to be the sound of a chicken.
    But holy fuck was I pissed to see her handler pushing away Cesar as he tried to congratulate her and hear her spout off that it will be in Jerusalem.
    I'm glad I don't put any money towards the comp. because the last 10 minutes soured it for me.

    My personal favourites were Latvia and the Netherlands. But folks with real talent rarely win Eurovision. Latvia's song is fantastic but the low bass beat was lost on the EV stage. Just didn't work. Watching the official music clip, it sounds soooo much better. Netherlands was just cool and so different from what one would expect.

    But yeah... shit choice for winner. It sucks. Nothing about feminism, it's just a shitty noise.

    Overall, this year's comp was boring. Too many people with talent and not enough quirky acts or wind machine!

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