This week, during the quarter-final of “The Next Star for Eurovision 2016”, the remaining nine artists had to keep their emotions in check during a special dedications show. Each contestant had to choose a song to dedicate to a person close to them — a mother, a friend, a coach, etc. In the middle of each song, producers played a short video of the person being honoured speaking to the heart of each contestant, which proved to be very emotional for everyone. After the video ended, the acts had to wipe away their tears and finish their song.
The nine contestants were divided into three trios, and from each trio the act with the lowest score was eliminated. As in previous rounds, the first artist sang with the curtain up and set the benchmark with his or her score. The remaining acts in their battle sang behind the screen and it would only rise if they had outdone the earlier act.
Trio 1: Hovi Star VS. Gil Hadash VS. “Shtar”
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. Hovi dedicated the song “Umberlla” to his mother. Three judges voted for him and, along with the audience vote, eared a total score of 76%.
Gil Hadash is a 20-year-old soldier who has had no connection with her parents for the past year. She chose to dedicate her mashup of the songs “Love Me Again” & “Hold On, We’re Going Again” to her brothers and earned votes from three judges and the audience. Her score was 70%, but she still had to wait for the next act to determine if she’d go through…
“Shtar” (The Hebrew word for “paper money” or “banknote”) is an orthodox group that loves rock music and rap. The band members are from Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States, and they all met at a Yeshiva in Israel. They dedicated the song “The Scientist” to their “spiritual guide”, Avi Fein, the man who made them love Israel so much. Their score was 60% with only two judges voting for them, which meant they had to leave the competition.
Trio 2: Ofir Haim VS. Ella Daniel VS. “Velma”
Ofir Haim, a 20-year-old soldier, says his parents’ constant criticism drove him from home. On the show he dedicated the song “Shemesh” (an original song his friend wrote and he composed, the translation is “Sunshine”) to his mother, but the sun wasn’t shining on him so much, since only one judge voted for him (Harel Skaat) and his score was only 32%. Call in sunset, honey…
Ella Daniel was born in Azerbaijan and came to Israel when she was only two years old. She writes her own music and has her own unique style. She dedicated the song “Zemer Ahava LaYam” (“Sea Love Song”) to her friend Kama and to Sasha, another friend who died from an overdose. All four judges voted for Ella and she ended up with a score of 88%.
“Velma” — the duo consisting of Matan Velner & Hen Elmakias — actually failed to qualify during the auditions phase last year, but amazed the judges on this season of the show. The duo decided to dedicate the song “Take Me Out” to their dogs, Spike and Pola. Only two judges voted for them, but they still managed to beat Ofir’s score after getting 59% of the votes.
Trio 3: Nofar Salman VS. Kiara Duple VS. Oded Sharabi
Nofar Salman is a 17-year-old school girl who also works as a singing-waitress and gets pretty nice tips. She dedicated the song “Ruchot” (“Winds”) to her manager (who signed her up for the show). Nofar didn’t quite make it this time, getting a final score of only 66%, despite having three judges behind her. It was unclear whether she will make it to the semi final or not, since she had to wait and see her opponents’ scores.
Kiara Duple is a drag queen and part of the group “Holy Wigs”, which really loves Eurovision and Kdam. They even took part as an interval act at Kdam 2013. She dedicated the song “Zachiti Leehov” (“Fortunate To Love”) to her mother and got three judges to vote for her, but the audience was less convinced – her total score was 49%.
Oded Sharabi is 48 years old and stopped singing about 20 years ago when his partner asked him to choose between her or a career in music. Two decades on she righted her wrong, encouraging him to audition for the show. He chose the song “Mehamerchakim” (“From The Distances”) – Can you guess who he dedicated the song to? Yes, his mother of course (almost all of the artists did). This part was very emotional since his mother wasn’t present in the audience as she was just released from the hospital. The performance didn’t work out – he got just one judge to vote for him (Asaf Atedgi) and a total score of just 46%, so he was eliminated from the show.
“Shtar”, Ofir Haim, Oded Sharabi.
QUALIFIED FOR THE SEMI-FINAL:
You can watch the full episodes from this week here:
Episode 21, Episode 22.
The Semi Final
The semi final will be broadcast in two parts: the first this Friday on 20:30 CET and the second on Saturday at 20:00 CET. You can watch live on this link – and you will totally want to. The one and only Dana International will serve as a mentor and we know she won’t hold back with her fire!
Six artists will compete but only four will make it to the grand final on March 3.
Do you have a favourite yet? Who do you think would be the best choice for Israel at Eurovision 2016?
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Official photos credit: Ronen Akerman