Yulia Karra
May 14, 2023, Updated May 17, 2023

Despite putting on a lively performance, Israeli pop star Noa Kirel had her hopes of winning this year’s Eurovision final dashed after finishing third in the song contest in Liverpool.

The 22-year-old songstress finished the contest with 362 points, of which 177 came from the juries and 185 from the public via televote. It was Israel’s best Eurovision showing since Netta Barzilai won the competition in 2018 with “Toy.”

Swedish singer and bookmakers’ darling Loreen from Sweden won the competition with a hefty point lead. In second place was Finland’s Käärijä, who received the most votes from the public, which chanted his song entry “Cha Cha” throughout the telecast. The live results materialized exactly as predicted by bookmakers at the start of the final.

Israel’s Noa Kirel wins third-place in Eurovision
Screenshot of Noa Kirel’s social media.

Kirel — who was 23rd out of 26 acts to perform — took the stage just hours after a ceasefire was announced between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, ending five days of cross-border hostilities.

The singer ended her spirited performance by bursting into tears, while the crowd chanted “U-NI-CORN!”

The Israeli singer later took to Instagram to thank her fans. “I have no words. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I love you my unicorns.”

Kirel said her social media following grew dramatically following her performance in the semifinal on May 9, from which she qualified with flying colors. Her team later launched a social media push to get Eurovision fans overseas to vote for her in the final. Many Israeli stars joined in to help, urging their followers  to vote for Kirel, including former NBA star Omri Casspi and soccer player Eran Zahavi.

It was the first Eurovision final to allow viewers from anywhere in the world to cast their votes, breaking years-long tradition of only permitting voting from participating nations.

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Jason Harris

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