IPBC, the new Israeli national broadcaster, has announced that The Next Star for Eurovision 2018 will start on October 30.
The new edition of the talent show will be broadcast on Keshet 12, two days before the channel officially launches. The show will consist of 20 weekly episodes. Assi Azar and Rotem Sela will be presenting the show once more. The hosts will also have power during the audition phase, as they will be able to send a contestant through in case they do not get a high enough score in their audition.
The judging panel remains the same as last year as well. Harel Skaat, Keren Peles, Assaf Amdursky and the duo Static & Ben El Tavori will all return. Harel Skaat represented Israel in 2010 and finished 14th in the final with “Milim”.
The newspaper Israel Hayom also has revealed the names of two contestants who will take part in The Next Star: Chen Acharoni and Rinat Bar. Both of them previously participated in Kdam Eurovision, the former Israeli selection for Eurovision. Chen came fourth in 2011 and Rinat came seventh in 2005.
The Next Star has been used to select the Israeli Eurovision representative since 2015. This has proven successful for Israel. In 2015, Nadav Guedj gave Israel its first top 10 finish since 2005 and its first qualification since 2010 with “Golden Boy”. Israel has qualified for the final every year since then. Imri finished 23rd in this year’s final with “I Feel Alive”.
IPBC are organising the Israeli entry for the first time this year. Despite not yet acheiving full EBU membership, the EBU have allowed Israel to continue participating in Eurovision events.
[tw-accordion-section title=”Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest”]
Israel debuted in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1973, and were represented by Ilanit who finished in 4th place with the song “Ey Sham”. Their first victory came in 1978 with Izar Cohen and the Alphabeta. Israel won again the following year with Gali Atari & Milk and Honey. Israel’s most recent victory came in 1998 when Dana International performed “Diva” in Birmingham, beating Malta to victory in a tense voting sequence. Israel struggled in the contest during the early-2010s, failing to qualify for the final from 2011-2014. However since the HaKokhav HaBa selection process was introduced in 2015 they have qualified three times, with Nadav Guedj finishing in 9th in 2015, Hovi Star finishing in 14th in 2016 and Imri finishing in 23rd in 2017.