Four-time winners Israel failed to qualify for the final last year, for the first time since 2014, and seem to be keen to bounce back straight away. Noa Kirel was the first artist to be announced for Eurovision 2023, all the way back in summer last year. She’s a successful and well-known figure in Israel, being a singer, dancer, actress and TV host. Will that pedigree propel Israel back to the final and even be a contender to win?
Noa, despite being just 21, has one of the most extensive CVs of any of the Eurovision artists this year. She’s had 9 singles reach the top 10 in the Israeli charts since 2017 and has appeared on many TV talent shows as a judge or guest. Her dance pop entry “Unicorn” is one of those songs that could in fact be several songs, and includes a very Chanel-like dance break in the latter third of the track. She is one of four co-writers of the song, along with one of the co-writers of “Toy”, Israel’s contest winning song in 2018.
It’s fair to say that this relatively low placing will be one of my more controversial choices in my top 37 as this does seem to be a widely popular entry. I don’t like the disjointed nature of the song – going through seemingly several different songs within one (something of a recent trend) and it’s clear that this is a song designed to be performed at the contest. While that is perfectly legitimate, I think it just feels too contrived and too obviously (in my mind) created to tick boxes that will appeal to set demographics. I’m also sceptical about the dance breakdown at the end – too soon after Chanel?
I’m probably going against the tide of wider fan opinion though as this performs well on the Eurovision scoreboard app (though as a female dance bop, that’s not that surprising). Noa hasn’t been at the pre-parties and to be honest probably hasn’t needed to be – given this song is designed for the Eurovision stage. It will be interesting to see what that looks like and while this is in the super tough first semi-final, I expect her to qualify. The grand final result I think is going to depend on what other songs qualify and how stand out the contest performance is.
Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest
First entered: 1973
Appearances (excluding this year): 44
Best result: Winner 1978, 1979, 1998, 2018
Last year’s result: 13th in semi-final (did not qualify)