After months of competition, Israel now has their representative for the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. The search began back in October 2017 when the national selection programme The Next Star for Eurovision (HaKokhav HaBa L’Eurovizion) began. The national selection show was organised after a collaboration between two Israeli Broadcasters – Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation and Keshet and Tedy Productions.
The competition came to an end earlier this week with Netta Barzilai winning the final. Netta was one of the favourites to win the competition right from the beginning, covering songs including the winning song from the 1978 Eurovision Song Contest – “A-Ba-Ni-Bi”, as well as recent hits “Tik Tok” and “Gangnam Style”. In the final, she gained the most points from the juries vote and came second in the public vote. The song has yet to be chosen but will be selected by a special committee.
Over the years, Israel has won the contest three times, the most recent occasion being twenty years ago with Dana International and the song “Diva”. In recent years, the country has had a mixture of highs and lows at the contest. After a four year period of not qualifying for the final, they have managed to make the final for the last three years. Nadav Guedj was the first to take Israel through to the final again in 2015 with his catchy hit “Golden Boy”. Hovi Star and IMRI represented the country in the two following years, each with a fantastic song, earning their places in the final.
You can watch IMRI’s performance of “I Feel Alive” at last years Eurovision Song Contest below:
Israel will be hoping to keep up their recent form at the contest, however, they already have some tough competition. Other acts that have been announced so far are Sennek for Belgium, Saara Aalto for Finland, Waylon for the Netherlands, AISEL for Azerbaijan, Cesar Sampson for Austria, Jessica Mauboy for Australia, Eugent Bushpepa for Albania, Iriao for Georgia, Madame Monsieur for France, Julia Samoylova for Russia, Alfred & Amaia for Spain, Mikolas Josef for the Czech Republic, Ryan O’Shaughnessy for Ireland, Eleni Foureira for Cyprus, Christabelle for Malta, Zibbz for Switzerland, SuRie for the United Kingdom, Rasmussen for Denmark, Ermal Meta and Fabrizio Moro for Italy, Eye Cue for F.Y.R Macedonia and Franka for Croatia.
The Eurovision Song Contest 2018 will be hosted at the Altice Arena, Lisbon, Portugal; with the two Semi-Finals taking place on 8 May and 10 May and the Grand Final taking place on 12 May. A total of 43 countries will compete in the contest.