By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Israel has won the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, beating out second-place Cyprus and third-place Austria at the annual pop-song festival seen by tens of millions of viewers around the world.
Based on online and phone voting during the event on May 12, Israel’s Netta Barzilai captured the top prize with her song Toy.
This year’s event was held in Lisbon aftert the Portuguese contestant, Salvador Sobral, won last year’s event in Kyiv. With its victory, Israel will host the 2019 contest.
“Next time in Jerusalem!” Netta shouted after her victory.
“I’m so happy. Thank you so much for choosing difference, thank you so much for accepting differences between us, thank you for celebrating diversity.”
Moldova placed 10th, Albania 11th, Ukraine 17th, and Serbia was 19th out of the 26 contestants.
Barzilai was tipped as a top contender to win the title ahead of the contest. Her song entry had been clicked more than 23 million times on YouTube.
This year saw the return to the competition of Russia, a traditional favorite, after missing last year’s event amid a diplomatic spat with host Ukraine.
But it was a short return: Russia’s contestant Yulia Samoilova went out in the semifinals, while Ukraine singer Melovin advanced to the Grand Final.
Eurovision was first held in 1956 with the aim of uniting Europe after World War II.