Netta Berzilai has won HaKokhav HaBa LaEirovizion and will represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 in Lisbon.
The final of HaKokhav HaBa L’Eirovizion took place tonight, with four artists vying to represent their country on stage at the Eurovision Song Contest 2018.
The final consisted of two parts. In the first part the four singers all performed, as ever the audience voted giving the singers a percentage score out of 100. While the judges also voted along either boosting the score or opting not to boost the score.
Once all four singers performed, the two artists with the highest percentage score qualified straight for the final. A further artist was then saved by the jury and also progressed to the final. In the final all three singers will performed again with the winner decided by 100% public voting.
The jury is formed of:
- Harel Skaat (Represented Israel at Eurovision 2010)
- Karen Peles
- Assaf Amdursky
The first round of voting went as follows:
- Chen Aharoni (72%)
- Netta Barzilai (75%)
- Riki Ben Ari (82%) – Qualified
- Jonathan Merugi (95%) – Qualified
The judges then decided that Netta would advance to the final, knocking Chen out of the competition.
The second round of voting went as follows:
- Riki Ben Ari (125 points)
- Jonathan Merugi (205 points)
- Netta Barzilai (210 points)
Netta is 25 years old and comes from Tel Aviv. She became one of the standout contestants of the show due to her use of a vocal looper. Her performance of “A Ba Ni Bi”, the winning song of Eurovision 1978, earned her praise from Izhar Cohen, the original performer of the song.
Netta’s song for Lisbon will be selected at a later date. A public call for songs is currently open until February 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.