Israel: Netta Barzilai is the first Next Star finalist…with three spots remaining


Israel is getting close to the finish line. While the semi-final of The Next Star for Eurovision 2018 will only be broadcast on Sunday, we already know the first finalist who has earned a direct ticket to the final — Netta Barzilai. Five other lucky artists have advanced to the semi-final. Scroll down to find out who is still in the race to represent Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 in Lisbon.

Netta Barzilai won the direct ticket to the final during the quarterfinal in a special new round. In the semi-final on Sunday three more artists will snatch the final spots in the final (which will be broadcast live on Tuesday).

After the quarterfinal duels the judges were asked to pick their favourite two contestants among the four winners. After a long discussion, Netta Barzilai and Riki Ben Ari were chosen and had the chance to compete in a musical head-to-head for an automatic spot in the final. 

Riki Ben Ari – “Hei Shketa” (Be Peaceful) – Score: 42% (votes from 0 judges)

Netta Barzilai – “Beautiful” – Score: 67% (votes from 3 judges)

The first finalist – Netta Barzilai

Netta, 25, performs in clubs and weddings in Tel Aviv and was one of this season’s big favourites right from her first audition.

She has a unique look, which reflects her unique musical style: She’s a one-woman show that you have to watch in order to understand.

Her uniqueness is not only her look and style, but also her special vocal looper. Oozing charisma, style and beats that she threw down herself while singing, she had the audience in the palm of her hands. JOWST laid down his own DJ flair at Eurovision last year. Maybe Netta is the next big thing? We’d have to see if the Eurovision rules would allow this kind of performance though.

Links to Netta’s perfomances:  “Rude Boy” | “A-Ba-Ni-Bi” | “Hey Mama” | Mashup | “What Is Love” | “Barbie Girl” |  “Wannabe” 

The quarterfinal

Producers divided the six contestants into four duels. In each duel the first artist sang in front of the judges and the audience and their combined rating set the bar for the 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: Eden Meiri VS. Netta Barzilai

Eden Meiri – “Lipol” (To Fall) – Score: 71% (votes from three judges)

Netta Barzilai – “Wannabe” – Score: 90% (votes from four judges)

Duel 2: Chen Aharoni VS. Adva Omer

Chen Aharoni – “Rokedet” (Dancing) – Score: 71% (votes from three judges)

Adva Omer – “Lomedet Lalechet” (Learning How To Walk) – Score: 44% (votes from one judge)

Duel 3: Ravit Batashvili VS. Riki Ben Ari

Ravit Batashvili – “Al Tidag” (Don’t Worry) – Score: 56% (votes from two judges)

Riki Ben Ari – “Ani Chaya Li Miyom Leyom” (I’m Just Living From Day To Day) – Score: 76% (votes from three judges)

Duel 4: Jonathan Mergui VS. Howie Danao

Jonathan Mergui – “Versace On The Floor” – Score: 78% (votes from three judges)

Howie Danao – “Habachur Habayshan Al Hapsanter” (The Shy Guy Playing The Piano) – Score: 61% (votes from two judges)

Second Chance

The four losers of the main duels battled each other in the second chance duels in order to get the ticket to the semi-final:

Howie Danao – “Believer” (Score: 85%) VS. Adva Omer – “Ad Matay Elohai” (score: 58%)

Ravit Batashvili – “El Haolam Shelach” (score: 77%) VS. Eden Meiri – “Va’ani Kore Lach” (score: 84%)

Howie Danao and Eden Meiri got the tickets to the semi-final, as Adva Omer and Ravit Batashvili were eliminated.

As we mentioned at the beginning of the post, Netta Barzilai got a direct ticket to the final.

The 5 semi-finalists are:


11 February – Semi-final 
13 February – The Grand Final

The Grand Final

The Grand final will be broadcast live on Tuesday, 13 February at 20:00 CET. We’re not sure if the live feed will be available to watch from abroad but here are the links: option1, option2.

Four lucky artists will make it to the final where they will battle in musical duels in order to become Israel’s representative for Eurovision 2018 in Lisbon.

The Israeli song will not be picked during the final, as the contestants will sing covers. Details regarding the song will be published in due course.

Unlike previous years, the voting will consist of a 50/50 split between the judges and cities’ juries and the app televotes by the viewers.

What’s your opinion about Netta? 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