ESC 2023 Song Review: “Unicorn” by Noa Kirel (Israel)

1) The Result

Michael Ben David’s impressive stage presence at X Factor Israel didn’t translate on to the Eurovision stage; he came 13th in the second semi, the first time since 2014 that Israel didn’t qualify for the grand final.

2) The Process

The Israeli broadcaster burst out of the blocks very early, announcing Noa Kirel as their internal selection before the artist herself seemed to be prepared for it. On 10 August her acceptance was confirmed, weeks before the unofficial start of the season on 1 September 2022.

3) The Artist

Noa Kirel is arguably one of the biggest names in the Israeli entertainment industry, if not Israel itself. In addition to acting, modelling and presenting on television, she has released an album and almost 30 singles since 2015.

4) The Song

This feels like a few songs mashed into one. It start with some dramatic orchestral chords, moves into fairly straightforward synthpop, then an attempt at dubstep leading into the final run-up. It’s messy, and Noa Kirel’s main task is make sure it doesn’t feel too jolting as the song jumps about beneath her.

5) The Verdict

You’ll notice a theme with the songs ranked in my bottom five, and here it is again: the lyrics. The first verse or two are fine; I actually enjoy the track up until the chorus. What is “the power of a unicorn”, and how did Kirel “get” it? Surely the line should be “I have the power of a unicorn”? Don’t get me started on inventing the word “femininal” or the dance breakdown which is obviously courting those who voted for Spain last year. There’s too much here that feels contrived, like a jigsaw where the pieces have been forced to fit. English proficiency in Israel is excellent, so I can’t put it down to no one on the writing team understanding the language well enough. However, Kirel clearly has the talent required to make this song work, so I expect this will be a triumphant return to the final for Israel.

My ranking: 33rd