Lisbon 2018

Netta interviewed: “There were so many setbacks, I was ready for defeat…I even collapsed”

It’s been just weeks since Israel’s Netta captured the hearts of viewers across Europe with her song, Toy. Now, she has sat down for an interview with Israeli newspaper, Israel Hayom, and discussed the intensive two weeks in Lisbon, her worries in the run-up to the contest, and the crazy days following her win.

The interview comes the day after the composer of Toy, Doron Medalie, claimed to be the real winner, rather than Netta. Furthermore, just days ago, the Toy music video became the most viewed video ever on the official Eurovision YouTube channel!

“I was ready for Eleni, the standard thing, to win”

Despite winning by a sizeable margin, Netta says that in her heart she was prepared to lose:

I never had that feeling – the victory was not in my pocket at any stage. Even in Hakokhav Haba, and at every other point in my life, I always had to fight for my place, even with myself. To be honest, I fight not because of what other people think of me, but because of what I think of me.

In the weeks before the final, Cyprus generated a massive amount of hype, even beating Israel to become the favourite to win in the betting odds at one point! Netta revealed how this made her feel as the grand final drew nearer:

I was ready for Eleni to win. It wouldn’t have crushed me, because all my life has been like that – I’ve never known anything else, my whole life I’ve always been defeated by the standard thing. Always.

Netta angered by journalists’ rude questions

In an interview with Israeli newswoman, Ilana Dayan, the interviewer said to Netta that she’s worried that someone would try to make her lose weight to have a better career. Netta was shocked by the question and at the time quickly retorted:

I’m not going to pay attention to what other people think. If I diet, then it’ll happen and I’ll change.

Another interviewer, Geula Even, implied to Netta that she cannot return to Israel without winning.

In Israel Halom‘s interview, Netta revealed how this “lack of tact” annoyed her. About Ilana, Netta says:

Who asks questions like that? I feel very good with my answer – I told her that I love myself in every way, if I want then I can diet and then if I want then I’ll get fat again, and it’s nobody else’s business but mine.

Then about Geula, Netta gives further criticism:

Nobody had said things to me like that in an interview before, that I can’t return to Israel without a win. Who says such a thing to a person before a competition?

“We had to make a lot of changes to the performance”

The journey to Lisbon was fraught with difficulties, including the EBU telling Netta that she couldn’t use her looper. Netta’s team were also given inaccurate information about the size of the stage, so they had to make significant changes to their original performance whilst in Lisbon.

We realised after our first rehearsal that the stage wasn’t as previously described and we had to make significant changes: there was not enough lighting, the hall was dark…we had to think about everything all over again.

I had to remind myself that everything would be fine. It was the first time that I felt myself really connect with the girls who danced with me, and it made me realise that our show was actually really good. I think that had a real impact on the performance.

“I collapsed when they told me I couldn’t use the looper”

Netta tells the story of when she was told that the EBU would not let her use the looper on stage. She was invited to see Tamira Yardeni, the owner of Teddy and the producer of Hakokhav Haba, with Yoav Tzafir…

We sat down on the couch and I knew they were about to tell me some big, bad news. They poured wine and I thought it was going to be a toast. I looked at Yoav and said “You’re going to make me world-famous now, right?” But instead, he told me that it was impossible for me to perform with the looper. I downed the glass of wine in one and asked them to pour me another. It was very difficult, I didn’t know how to digest it, I even collapsed…I’m a looper artist. That’s how we built the song. Without the looper, we were giving up on our professional integrity.

We’re glad that Netta was able to pull together an amazing performance despite all of these difficulties, and we’re so proud of her for managing to win the contest!

What are your thoughts on this? Were Netta’s thoughts on Cyprus justified? Should the journalists have been more sensitive with the way they spoke to Netta? Was it fair of the EBU to forbid Netta from using her looper?

Let us know in the comments below and on social media @ESCXTRA

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