Yesterday, I mentioned that I had a surprise for today. Well today, I’m handing over preview duty to my good friend and fellow Eurovision fan, Luke Nolan, for one day only. For his sake, and everyone else’s, I’ve limited the amount of times he can say “Dip me”. (You can thank me later.) I want to thank Luke for writing this and I hope all of you enjoy it as well. Take it away hun!
We’ve finally arrived at the last of the second semi-final entries, the ‘Land of Milk and Honey’ – Israel. My name is Luke and I was given the offer to guest-write this piece, due to my semi (if not complete) obsession with the absolute Adonis that is Imri Ziv, their entry this year. Unfortunately, I’ve been limited to the exact amount of times I can express this, so here goes nothing…
Israel made their début in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1973 and have competed 39 times since, every year except 1980, 1984, 1994 and 1997. Of these, they have reached the final 33 times. They have one the contest 3 times. Firstly in 1978 with Izhar Cohen and The Alphabeta with the song “A-Ba-Ni-Bi.” The next time was the following year (1979), with Gali Atari and Milk and Honey with their song “Hallelujah”. It’s important to note at this point that Israel is a country that for many years sang in only Hebrew. Their first song completely in English was “Golden Boy” by Nadav Guedj in 2015!
We can’t go much further into an Israel at Eurovision article without referencing the queen herself, winner of Eurovision 1998, Dana International. Her song “Diva” was commercially successful in many European countries, even reaching the Number One position in the Spanish charts. Her amazing career, as well as her openness about her life, has made her an icon for the LGBTQ+ community in both Israel and further afield. Unfortunately, Israel had a bit of a dodgy run following this win, failing to qualify from 2011 to 2014. Fortunately, recently, they have been having more luck, placing 9th and 14th in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
The Israeli broadcaster this year has been changed to KAN, replacing the IBA. The selection of the entrant is done through the reality TV show “HaKokhav HaBa” (The Next Star), in which people at home vote on an app in real-time to see if he will go through to the next round. 14 singers then move on to a section where the judges and the audience at home vote. This selection method was off to a rocky start in 2013 and 14, with their failure to generate a qualifying act. However, in recent years, it has proven to be a valuable method for choosing a successful entry.
Oh where to begin…
Imri Ziv was born on September 21st 1991 in Hod HaSharon, Israel. He’s the descendant of both Romanian-Jewish and Ukrainian-Jewish parents. He was in the musical band of the IDF during his compulsory military service. In 2012, he auditioned for The Voice Israel, which launched his career. In 2015 and 2016, he was a backing singer for Nadav Guedj and Hovi Star. I mean, I’m not exactly saying the success is linked to him being there, but…
He also did voice over for the 2016 film Trolls in Hebrew. Proving versatility if I do say so myself… In 2017, he auditioned for HaKokhav HaBa, reaching an approval rating of 73% in the final. This win is the reason he is representing Israel this year. I also highly recommend you have a flick through his Instagram, @imriziv. ‘Tis quite the view. Dip me.
Alright, let’s get technical.
The song as far as it goes is pretty generic. The music itself is typical of Eurovision, the same four chords with some ethnic-sounding instrumentation during the chorus, just so you don’t forget where it’s from. He however has a nice voice and it seems that his performance is improving every time. The progress he has made from Israel Calling to this point is commendable and that is hopefully a good sign of things to come.
Will this qualify? I’d say yes. Israel has won the Eurovision lottery in many ways. To begin, they have been placed in the second semi-final, which does contain some of the weaker songs in the contest. *cough*Lithuania*cough*. Also, they have been placed in the final spot, which generally proves to be a successful position. Their song is also a very upbeat, lively song in a contest with a lot of ballads and slower songs. I’m hoping that they can be like Laura Tesoro from Belgium last year in the semi-final and knock it out of the ball-park in their semi-final. If they can do this, they should qualify.
What Could Have Been
Regarding Israel, it’s very difficult to tell what celebrities would be interested in competing, because well… they all do compete. The Eurovision holds very high status in Israel so many celebrities compete to take part.
One person who definitely could have been the winner was second-place in HaKokhav HaBa, the winner of Kokhav Nolad 8, Diana Golbi. Her rich deep voice would have lended itself wonderfully to the contest. It’s an original voice that I can really only compare to Blanche, at a stretch. However, in a contest filled with slow songs, I don’t think it would have fared as well as it could in other years and therefore, I still feel that Imri was the best choice that they could have made this year.
Will Imri still feel alive after the second semi? Leave your comments below. Stay tuned tomorrow for more Eurovision previews!
(Sources: eurovision.tv, KAN, Wikipedia, Youtube)