This week The Next Star for Eurovision 2018 was all about drama. In addition to the regular weekly elimination, one of the favourites in the competition, Rinat Bar, broke down and decided to withdraw from the competition just before the last elimination of the episode.
Following her decision five acts have made it to the next round and on next week’s episode we’ll know the final five contestants who are still in the race to represent Israel at the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon.
If you’re a hardcore Eurovision fan then you knew the name Rinat Bar prior to 2017, as she took part in the Israeli national selection Kdam Eurovision 2005. She sang “Kmo Chalom” (Like a Dream) and finished in seventh place. But Kdam wasn’t Rinat’s first experience on stage, as she has been performing since the age of 12 and has released nine albums so far.
She has enjoyed a relatively successful career working as a singer and a composer — especially within her genre of pop-oriental music — but she has never become a full-fledged star in Israel.
But once Rinat got to the real competition she struggled to survive, losing in duels even when she posted high scores.
In the most recent episode Rinat received a lot of tough criticism from the judges after her performance of Ofra Haza’s “Hi” (The Israeli entry at Eurovision 1983).
Although she was on point vocally (as always) and the instrumental remix of the song was great as well, something didn’t quite work with her energy and aura. And her long dress didn’t allow her to dance or move freely, which only added to the discomfort.
The audience and the judges were left disappointed and that was reflected in her score of only 50% (with only one judge voting for her).
From the losers of the duels only 2 out of 3 could survive to the next round of the show, so each of them sang one last song, and the rules stated that the contestant with the lowest score would be the one that would be eliminated.
Rinat was the second contestant to sing after Shay and Gilad (who got a score of 50%). Riki Ben Ari was supposed to perform after her and then the one with the lowest score should have been eliminated.
Rinat sang a famous Israeli song she wrote and composed for another singer (Regev Hod) called “Betelem Ohavim” (Lovers’ Furrow), but once again she lacked energy. It felt like the stress had become too much for her and she was far from giving it her all during her performance.
At the end of her performance Harel Skaat was about to cast his vote, as the last judge voting, and would decide whether she would get a higher score than the first act or would remain in the danger zone of a possible elimination. But then Rinat asked him to hold on since she had something to say:
“Maybe you’re all right, maybe it is no longer Rinat Bar that you’re seeing now. I’m just so happy to be here and very proud to be on this stage and happy for all of my friends here in this competition, I love all of you, but maybe it is just too much for me… I just want to make people happy, I don’t want to be sad like that. What I’ve gone through here is a lesson for life and I will take it with me…Apparently my dream will not come true this year.”
This week’s duels
Apart from that huge drama, this week’s show also featured the regular duels, this time with a bit of a twist.
Producers divided the twelve remaining contestants into six themed duels. This week’s episode featured the first three 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 10%. 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.
Duel 1: Rinat Bar VS. Howie Danao (Eurovision and national finals covers)
Rinat Bar – “Hi” (Alive) – Score: 50% (votes from 1 judge)
Howie Danao – “Od Nagia” (We Will Get There) – Score: 82% (votes from three judges)
Duel 2: Jose Steinberg VS. Shay and Gilad (a duet with Rotem Cohen)
Jose Steinberg – “Como El Agua” – Score: 82% (votes from four judges)
Shay and Gilad – “El HaOlam Shelach” (Into Your World) – Score: 36% (votes from 0 judges)
Duel 3: Ravit Batashvili VS. Riki Ben Ari (a song dedicated to mom)
Ravit Batashvili – “At” (You) – Score: 76% (votes from three judges)
Riki Ben Ari – “Mehayom Shehalacht” (From The Day That You Left) – Score: 56% (votes from 1 judge)
In the second chance duel, two out of the three losers of the main duels were supposed to be saved according to their second chance performance score, but as Rinat Bar withdrew from the competition, the other two automatically advanced to the next round of the competition, and they are Riki Ben Ari and “The Yamanz”.
The acts that advanced to the next round:
The acts that will battle on next week’s episode:
Do you think Rinat Bar could have done well for Israel if she had made it to Eurovision?
Which artist do you like the most in the competition? Who do you think would do well for Israel at Eurovision?
Photo credits: Ronen Akerman / The Next Star for Eurovision