Our next preview takes us to the Holy Land of startups, figs and extremely sensitive politics. It’s Israel!!!
Israel made their début in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1973 and have competed 40 times since. They have won 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”. Israel’s third victory came in 1998, when Dana International won with “Diva”, being the first trans performer to enter the contest. After failing to qualify for the final between 2011 and 2014, Israel have qualified for the final every year since 2015. Last year, Imri Ziv came 23rd with “I’m Alive”.
The Israeli broadcaster, Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation used the singing competition “HaKokhav HaBa L’Eurovizion” (הכוכב הבא לאירוויזיון – The Next Star for Eurovision) for the fourth year to select the Israeli representative for Eurovision. The studio audience and a panel of judges voted on an app in real-time to see if the act will go through to the next round. 14 singers then move on to a section where the judges and the audience at home vote. In the final, the final four were paired off in two duels. The winners of the duels, along one of the losers of the duels, advanced to the second round. In the second round, the regular judging panel, four additional judging panels and public voting decided the winner. After receiving the highest points, Netta Barzilai was awarded the Israeli ticket to Lisbon. Her song was then chosen at a later date.
Netta Barzilai (נטע ברזילי) was born on January 22 1993 in Hod HaSharon in central Israel. She is of Georgian descent.
Netta took part in this year’s edition of The Next Star, which is used to select Israel’s Eurovision entry, and was one of the season favourites from beginning to end. In her performances, she stood out due to her use of a vocal looper, and her performance of “A Ba Ni Bi”, the winning song of Eurovision 1978, earned her praise from the original performer of the song, Izhar Cohen. She has received clearance from the EBU to use her vocal looper on stage.
The song that Netta will sing in Lisbon, “Toy”, was written and composed by Doron Medalie and Stav Beger. Doron wrote the Israeli entries in 2015 and 2016.
Who knew clucking could be so addictive? It’s easy to see why this is the favourite to win this year. The Middle Eastern beats coupled with an unapologetic attitude and Netta’s zany personality make this a real contender for the title. We’ve never had anything quite like this in the contest before. This song was a risk but it has most definitely paid off. Don’t be surprised if this takes the top spot in May!
What Could Have Been
Among the competitors in the national selection was Chen Acharoni. Like judge and Israeli representative in 2010, Harel Skaat, Chen was first discovered through the talent show Kokhav Nolad (A Star is Born). He also attempted to represent Israel in 2011. He impressed the judges in his initial audition with a powerful rendition of “Wrecking Ball”. Although he finished fourth this time around, maybe we will see him represent Israel another year.
Are you clucking along or not? Leave your comments below. Stay tuned tomorrow for more Eurovision previews!
(Sources: eurovision.tv, KAN, Wikipedia, Youtube)