The finalists on The Next Star for Eurovision 2018, the singing reality show that will choose the Israeli representative for Eurovision, are dropping like flies.

Twenty lucky ones passed the very long auditions process for the show and made it to the live shows. During this week’s episodes the head-to-head duels kicked off and only twelve survived to the next round.

Producers divided the twenty contestants into ten duels. In each duel the first artist sang in front of the judges and the audience. Their combined rating set the bar for their opponent.

The voting process went as usual: each judge voted yay or nay, with a yay awarding the contestant a score of 8%. The audience in the TV studio voted in a similar way via a special smartphone application and the scores were added together during the performance.

The opposing artist then sang behind a screen. If the opposing artist managed to beat the score of the first artist, then the screen rose up, signalling that the second artist had won the duel. If not, the first artist won.

In addition to the regular four judges, a special fifth judge joined the panel for the three episodes of this round, Ninet Tayeb.

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Ninet is one of the most famous people in Israel. She is a musician, singer-songwriter, composer, DJ, model and actress.

She rose to fame during 2003 when she won the first season of Kokhav Nolad (A Star Is Born), a singing reality show with a massive following at the time. (The runner-up that year was none other than Shiri Maimon). Ninet recently released her fifth album (which is her first international album) and toured in Europe and The US.

Duel 1: Rinat Bar VS. Riki Ben Ari

Rinat Bar – “Habibi Yaeni” – Score: 77% (votes from all five judges)

Riki Ben Ari – “Greatest Love Of All” – Score: 82% (votes from four judges)

Duel 2: Jonathan Mergui VS. Axum

Jonathan Mergui – “Talk Dirty” – Score: 88% (votes from all five judges)

Axum – “Ba Lashechuna Bachur Hadash” (A New Guy Has Come To The Neighborhood) – Score: 74% (votes from all five judges)

Duel 3: Tal Mizrahi VS. Netta Barzilai

Tal Mizrahi – “Basket Case” – Score: 49% (votes from three judges)

Netta Barzilai – “Hey Mama” – Score: 79% (votes from four judges)

Duel 4: Ravit Batashvili VS. Ofir Harush

Ravit Batashvili – “Harbe Mimech Nishar” (Much of You Remained) – Score: 82% (votes from all five judges)

Ofir Harush – “Mangina” (Melody) – Score: 68% (votes from three judges)

Duel 5: Chen Aharoni VS. Shir Baruch

Chen Aharoni – “Can’t Feel My Face” – Score: 80% (votes from all five judges)

Shir Baruch – “Shuvi Lebeitech” (Come Back To Your Home) – Score: 30% (votes from 0 judges)

Duel 6: “The Choice” VS. Sarit Hativa

“The Choice” – “Omed Al Tzuk” (Standing on a Cliff) – Score: 56% (votes from two judges)

Sarit Hativa – “Shev” (Sit) – Score: 60% (votes from three judges)

Duel 7: Eden Meiri VS. Shir Gadasi

Eden Meiri – “Nagen” (Play) – Score: 63% (votes from three judges)

Shir Gadasi – “Bayamim Sheya’avru Aleinu” (In The Days To Come) – Score: 26% (votes from 0 judges) [Shir was sick]

Duel 8: Shay and Gilad VS. Adva Omer

Shay and Gilad – “Yarok Udvash” (Green and Honey) – Score: 71% (votes from four judges)

Adva Omer – “Aba” (Father) – Score: 49% (votes from two judges)

Duel 9: Jaki Gaforov VS. Jose Steinberg

Jaki Gaforov – “That’s What I Like” – Score: 52% (votes from two judges)

Jose Steinberg – “El Perdon” – Score: 63% (votes from three judges)

Duel 10: Howie Danao VS. Gal Yakobi

Howie Danao – “Take Me To Church” – Score: 56% (votes from one judge)

Gal Yakobi – “Mashehu Mimeni” (Something From Me) – Score: 36% (votes from 0 judges)

Second Chance

Among the ten losers of the duels, the judges chose two more acts to advance to the next round, and the lucky ones were Rinat Bar and Adva Omer.

The 12 remaining hopefuls

Which artist do you like the most? Who do you think would do well for Israel at Eurovision?


Photo credits: Ronen Akerman / The Next Star for Eurovision

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18 Comments on "Israel: 12 artists left in The Next Star for Eurovision 2018 following the first duels round"

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Maya G

Netta Barzilai is the best choice IMO, but as I bet the production will push for Jonathan Mergui to win. He’s pretty good but the Israeli hunky pop singer routine is getting tiresome.


I felt in love with his voice


It’s obviously between Chen and Jonathan. Good luck!


I personally like Chen, Jonathan, Sarit and Yamanz. I also liked Rinat’s too.


Chen is spectacular! OMG what a performance! Not a single flaw! I am speachless and I cannot stop repeating the video!


howie danao is from the Philippines?


It would be nice for Israel to send a woman and to send an artist as unique as Neta, but predictably Yonatan Mergui will win and we’ll have another Golden Boy wannabe song like last year…

Roy Moreno

My top 3 from Israel:
1. Mergui of course 😛
2. Neta
3. Riki
For me, only these 3 will be able to do well enough in Lisbon (with Mergui killing it ? )

Roy Moreno

Forgot to add Chen so he’s my #4 😛
Not sure how well he’ll do in Lisbon if he wins though


these are my 4 favorites as well..i would put neta first and mergui second but i dont really mind if any of them will win, both are very good


Chen please !!!!!


Chen Aharoni for Lisbon! <3


ONLY CHEN AHARONI !!! #finally


Jonathan Mergui all the way! He’s got the voice, the looks and the moves ?


Jonathan Mergui, Chen Aharoni or Eden Meiri to Lisbon! Too bad Tal Mizrahi and Jaki Gaforov got eliminated.

Jonathan Mergui got the highest score of all participants, 88% from all juries….Wow! The public will vote for him, too. He’s good looking and he sings beautiful! We’ve got the winner?


Only Jonathan Mergui or Chen Aharoni 🙂


Totally agree with you, they are my 2 favorites too


And Netta