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Eurovision final 2018: Israel's Netta Barzilai wins, after stage-invader interrupts UK song

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 13/05/2018 By Tristram Fane Saunders and Zoah Hedges-Stocks and Chris Lochery and Charlotte Runcie

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Video provided by Sky News

For a moment, it looked as though it was going to be a rather politically calm Eurovision for once.

There had been a slight ripple of controversy which occurred after the first semi-final on Tuesday, when a Chinese broadcaster took objection to Ireland’s same-sex dancers and refused to air it, but everything seemed to have been settled by curtain-up on Saturday.

Israel's singer Netta Barzilai aka Netta celebrates with the trophy after winning the final of the Eurovision Song Contest CREDIT: AFP © Provided by The Telegraph Israel's singer Netta Barzilai aka Netta celebrates with the trophy after winning the final of the Eurovision Song Contest CREDIT: AFP Then the UK took to the stage.

The contest’s major incident occurred during the show’s ninth song ( Storm by UK entrant, SuRie ) when an invader managed to rush the stage, running up to the singer and wresting the mic from her hand. 

a person standing on a stage: Singer SuRie (Susanna Marie Cork) representing Britain CREDIT: GETTY © Provided by The Telegraph Singer SuRie (Susanna Marie Cork) representing Britain CREDIT: GETTY The man, who is thought to be the serial stage-crasher who goes by the name ‘Dr Activist’, shouted what sounded to be “For the Nazis of the UK media, we demand freedom!” into the live mic before he was grabbed by security and taken off-stage.

Remarkably, SuRie managed to pick the song back up and finish it as intended (high notes and all) to a rapturous ovation. And very few votes.

a person standing on a stage: A man takes the microphone from Britain's singer Susanna Marie Cork aka SuRie as she performs "Storm"  CREDIT: AFP © Provided by The Telegraph A man takes the microphone from Britain's singer Susanna Marie Cork aka SuRie as she performs "Storm"  CREDIT: AFP The commotion didn’t throw the contest off its stride for long however. After a bit of impromptu host-and-crowd patter – which is almost uniformly awkward and uncomfortable to watch, even when things are running smoothly – things were quickly back to normal.

The competition was filled with plenty of the usual primetime fare we’ve come to expect from these Saturday night shows. A solid base of standard dance-pop songs, a smattering of dreamy/dreary ballads, then seasoned with a couple of truly stand-out stage-shows.

a person with collar shirt © Provided by The Telegraph The show kicked off with a huge blast of fire as Ukrainian goth-vampire, Melovin, emerged from his piano crypt, whipping the crowd up with a high-octane singalong chorus.

Host nation Portugal suffered from the infamous winners’ curse, entering a rather forgettable bit of blissed-out balladry that sank right to the bottom of the scoreboard (a similar fate to that of Austria in 2014, and Ukraine in 2017).

a man talking on a cell phone: Austria's Cesar Sampson  © Provided by The Telegraph Austria's Cesar Sampson  Moldova snatched the crown for the night’s most ambitious staging, acting out an entire end-of-the-pier farce in their three minutes, with body doubles, costume changes and a bit of Paul Daniels magic thrown in for good measure.

The juries fell hard for Austria’s impressive vocals, as Cesar blasted out his Sam Smith-sounding entry Nobody But You; as well as Benjamin Ingrosso’s Bieber-lite pop jam, Dance You Off, which was exactly the sort of masterclass in music production Sweden is known for. 

As is often the case though, the juries’ favourites sat somewhat at odds with the audience at home. 

Millions of viewers across Europe and beyond (hello, Australia!) voted in their droves for Italy’s plucky little banjo song about the recent spate of terror attacks in Europe – which ended up finishing fifth. 

a person holding a microphone: Israel's Netta performing her encore CREDIT: BBC © Provided by The Telegraph Israel's Netta performing her encore CREDIT: BBC Cyprus’s Beyoncé-esque dance number, Fuego, took the silver medal – but the evening’s runaway winner, with 529 points, was Israel’s Netta.

Dressed like a butterfly in a black and pink kimono-style dress, against a back wall of Japanese maneki-neko “beckoning cat” ornaments, her song Toy was nothing if not arresting. 

Starting out with the looped sound of her making noises like she had just sniffed pepper, Netta sang a quick chorus about her Barbies and Pikachus before breaking into a very peculiar chicken clucking bridge, and bringing in a huge, arena-filling chorus.

Netta had been the bookmakers’ favourites for months prior to Saturday night, but in a field of 46 songs there is always some last minute crisis of confidence. 

a group of people looking at a cell phone © Provided by The Telegraph Israel's fears can’t have been allayed by the relatively new scoring system that Eurovision uses, where the hosts slowly read out the juries’ scores first. Austria and Sweden looked all but unshakable in their eyes, so it wasn’t until we got the results from the viewers at home when Israel barrelled to victory.

Triumphant, Netta took the hallowed trophy and thanked Europe for embracing diversity and taking a chance on someone like her.

Sadly, the stage invasion didn’t appear to engender a huge sympathy vote for the UK, but we did at least manage to avoid the dreaded nul points. SuRie’s song got a final score of 48, placing 24th overall – just ahead of Finland and Portugal.

a screen shot of a computer © Provided by The Telegraph As the winning nation, Israel is now invited to host the show in 2019. Although Netta probably wasn’t authorised to make the decision officially, she suggested in her victory speech that Jerusalem may be the city that welcomes the song contest next year.

How that show will look remains to be seen – but it doesn’t look as though the competition’s politics are going to dampen down any time soon.

Related: Eurovision: the best of the last 20 years (Provided by Star Insider)

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