The finalists on “The Next Star for Eurovision 2016”, the singing reality show that will choose the Israeli representative for Eurovision 2016, are dropping like flies. Fifty lucky ones passed the first auditions for the show, and then the judges selected 16 finalists. This week head-to-head duels started and the list is getting narrower by the minute, as only eight will make it to the next phase, the quarter-finals, which leads to the grand final on March 3. Scroll down to read the full details of what happened on this week’s episodes.

The Next Star: Head-to-head duels

This week the real competition started with head-to-head duels. The 16 artists were divided into eight duels. The first artist sang in front of the judges and the audience, who voted to set the bar for his or her opponent. Then the opponent in the duel sang behind a screen. If the opponent managed to beat the score of the first, then the screen would rise, signalling that the second artist had won the duel and would proceed to the quarter-finals. If not, the first artist won. On this week’s episodes we got to see the first four duels, with four more to follow next week.

Duel 1: “Velma” VS. Alma

“Velma” — the duo consisting of Matan Velner & Hen Elmakias — actually failed to qualify in the auditions phase last year. But they’re back and this time they sang their own version of “Sex On Fire”. All four judges gave them the thumbs up, which, when added with the audience votes, left them with a score of 85%.

Alma Kalbermann — originally a part of a duo named “Almanor” — arrived at the second audition by herself, since her partner, Manor, decided to join the army. Her solo performance of the song “Tacharut Klavim” (“Dog Competition”) disappointed the judges, who all voted against her, and she ended up with a score of just 49%.

Duel 2: Hovi Star VS. Maya Bernadski

Hovi Star - Israel - Next Star 2016- FinalistMaya Bernadski - Israel - Next Star 2016- Finalist

Hovi Star is not new to the Israeli audience as he took part in the 7th season of
the TV talent show “Kokhav Nolad” (“A Star Is Born”), together with Mei Finegold (Israel’s representative for Eurovision 2014). He didn’t make it to the final, but finished in a very respectful 7th place. In his duel Hovi sang “Hello” and did a pretty good job, but the judges said that they have high expectations from him and they want to see him singing something more challenging. He still managed to get a nice score of 76%.

Maya Bernadski is a 19-year-old soldier. She’s been studying classical music for the past
six years and sings opera. She chose to sing “Earth Song”, but failed to surpass Hovi’s score. Only two judges voted for her, leaving her with a combined score of 68%.

Duel 3: Sharon Fartuk VS. Nofar Salman

Sharon Fartuk is only 17 years old. She came to Israel from France at the age of 8.
In her duel she chose to sing “Treausure” which didn’t really fit her style and as a result she ended up with just 37%.

Nofar Salman is a 17-year-old school girl who also works as a singing-waitress and gets pretty nice tips. Nofar chose to sing “Sheva Ba’Erev” (“7 p.m.”) and once again amazed the audience and the judges with a score of 92%. Her diners can be happy their money is well spent!

Duel 4: Ofir Haim VS. Gil Hadash

Ofir Haim, a 20-year-old soldier, says his parents’ constant criticism drove him from
home. Now he’s standing on his own and drawing praise as he does it. He showed us his unique groove once again with the song “Izun” (“Balance”) and got all four judges to vote for him. His final score with the audience vote was an impressive 92%.

Gil Hadash is a 20-year-old soldier who has had no connection with her parents for the past year. She amazed the judges in her first audition and expectations were high. She chose the song “Kol Ha’Milim” (“All Of The Words”) and got all four of the judges to vote for her and most of the audience as well – it was so close, but she only got 91%, so she lost the duel.

The Finalists that made it to the quarter-final are:

Israel-Next-Star-2016 - First Duels

  • “Velma”

  • Hovi Star

  • Nofar Salman

  • Ofir Haim

You can watch the full episodes of this week here:
Episode 17, Episode 18.


The 8 remaining hopefuls who will compete next week:

 Shvachya Bat Israel & Avi Eilot

Shvachya Bat Israel & Avi Eilot - Israel - Next Star 2016- Finalist

Ella Daniel

Ela Daniel - Israel - Next Star 2016- Finalist

Kiara Duple

Kiara Duple - Israel - Next Star 2016- Finalist


Shtar - Israel - Next Star 2016- Finalist

Oded Sharabi

Oded Sharabi - Israel - Next Star 2016- Finalist

Naomi Azran

Naomi Azran - Israel - Next Star 2016- Finalist

Yoni Grayev

Yoni Grayev - Israel - Next Star 2016- Finalist

 Uriel Aharoni

Uriel Aharoni - Israel - Next Star 2016- Finalist

Do you have a favourite yet? Who do you think would be the best choice for Israel at Eurovision 2016?



Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
6 years ago

I just watched some videos and I really like VALMA and NOFAR SALMAN (!) she is amazing!

6 years ago

All shows have been recorded except the fina,l which will be live. A shame, but the whole format is messed up. Anyway, rumor has it that Gil Hadash (the loser of the last duel) is in the final. If true, this means that she was brought back by the judges at some point.

6 years ago

Nofar Salman is the best! She MUST win!!!

Maya G
Maya G
6 years ago

On a related note, Nadav Guedj is leading the new campaign for Israel’s top selling salty snack since the 1960s – ‘Bamba’, alongside its beloved toddler mascot.

Ben Rafter
Ben Rafter
6 years ago

I agree.

6 years ago

What’s the point of having a billion live auditions rounds that drag on forever only to chop off more than half of the participants from one episode to another?

6 years ago

Trying to remember that these songs are all known so the focus is just on the vocals and performance, but I’m discovering some new songs in the process 🙂 Right decision made in the first 3, the fourth seems a bit harsh! Disappointed the lady who sung that Spanish song didn’t make the grade, she was probably my fave do far. There’s a lot I like about the format, but that cut process from 50 to 16 kind of invalidates the first part; either have less acts from the start, be harsher about who to accept, or have a cut… Read more »