It’s the start of Eurovision season, and Israel’s latest entry by 21-year-old pop star Noa Kirel, who will be representing the country at this year’s competition in Liverpool, was officially released yesterday.
Called “Unicorn”, the song is a mix of mostly English and a little Hebrew and was co-written by Kirel, Yinon Yahel, May Sfadia, and Doron Medalie – one of the names behind Netta Barzilai’s Eurovision winning song, “Toy”, in 2018, which is now considered one of the top 10 most popular Eurovision songs ever.
Kirel, who released her first single at the age of just 14, is already one of Israel’s most popular singers, and in the last couple of years has released a steadily increasing number of English-language singles, including “Please Don’t Suck” and “Thought About That”.
In past competitions, Israel’s Eurovision entrant was chosen mostly from unknowns via a reality TV competition, but this year Kiren was selected by an internal committee at the Kan public broadcaster.
At an event in Eilat to unveil the song, Kirel said it is about a strong, independent character who can handle whatever life throws at them.
“I feel that in the recent period in Israel and in the world — particularly since the end of COVID — the world is moving at speed and everything is fast and you have to deal with changes really quickly,” Kirel explained.
“We chose a character that is also mythological but is very strong and stands with its horn outward to anyone coming — and I see our country as such a strong country,” she added.
“There’s something so innocent and pure about a unicorn, that in this period, we had to choose something that exists only in fairytales, in fantasies.”
From another point of view, it’s also a fitting subject considering Israel has more unicorns per capita than any other country in the world.
Kirel, who completed her service in the Israel Defense Forces last year despite having only one kidney, said she hopes that Israelis will unite behind the song. “It’s a song that represents all of us, the whole country,” she said.
She will perform the song at the first Eurovision semi-final on May 9, and if she wins enough votes will advance to the grand final on May 13.
Israel has won the Eurovision song contest four times since it began participating in 1973. In 1978, Izar Cohen won with “A-ba-ni-bi”. The following year, Milk and Honey won with “Halleluyah”. Dana International stormed in with “Diva” in 1998, and Netta Barzilai won with “Toy” in 2018.
To find out more about Noa Kirel, check out our article: 11 things you don’t know about Israeli pop star Noa Kirel