The four finalists have been selected for HaKokhav HaBa, the Israeli selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2018.
The semi-final of HaKokhav HaBa took place over two parts. In the first part, the judges selected two contestants to battle against each other for the first place in the final. Netta Barzilai won with 67% against Riki Ben Ari (44%).
The second part consisted of two rounds. In the first round, the remaining five contestants competed for the second spot in the final. The contestant with the highest score won. The results were as follows:
- Chen Aharoni : 86%
- Eden Meiri : 71%
- Riki Ben Ari : 75%
- Howie Danao : 52%
- Jonathan Mergui : 63%
In the second round, the four remaining contestants competed in duels for the last two places in the final. The results were as follows:
- Riki Ben Ari (82%) v Eden Meiri (76%)
- Jonathan Mergui (88%) v Howie Danao (52%)
The four finalists will compete in the live final on February 13. The winner will represent Israel in Lisbon in May. The song will be chosen after the final. Songs must be sent in before Febraury 19.
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 is organising the Israeli entry for the first time this year. Despite not yet achieving full EBU membership, the EBU has allowed Israel to continue participating in Eurovision events.
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.