The search for a new singer who is Made of Stars kicked off this week in Israel with the first episodes of The Next Star for Eurovision 2017, the singing reality show that will choose Israel’s representative for Eurovision 2017 in Kiev. This season features new judges and some familiar contestants who you’ll recognise from both Eurovision and Israel’s national selections of yesteryear.
As last year, the auditions phase works like this: each contestant sings behind a screen and if they achieve a score of at least 70%, the screen rises and they advance to the next round. Each judge votes yay or nay, with a yay awarding the contestant a score of 10%. The audience in the TV studio votes in a similar way via a special smartphone application and the scores are then totted up.
WEEK 1 QUALIFIERS
Diana is not a new face on Israeli TV, as she won Kokhav Nolad (A Star Is Born), one of the most popular shows in the country, in 2010. She’s subsequently released two albums and taken part in a series of musicals while studying acting. The judges were surprised to see her, but she explained that she’s determined to win another competition in order to get to the Eurovision stage. The judges were very impressed by the rawness of her voice, which is very “Mei Feingold” Eurovision 2014.
Audition score: 95% (votes from four judges)
Imri knows Eurovision very well. In 2015 and 2016 he served as a backing singer for the Israeli acts. He really wants to return in 2017, but this time as the lead singer. He studies media at university and works as a singer in a special group called “Caliente”, which performs at private events. The judges couldn’t help but comment on his amazing look — but also praised his voice and charisma.
Audition score: 93% (votes from four judges)
Hally (Hallelujah) Lewis
Born to an Israeli mother and an African-American father, Hally charmed the judges with her unique swag even before she started singing. She might not have the best vocals in the show, but her special groove and performance will make you feel so good. Is she the female version of Nadav Guedj? Yes, she’s our golden girl!
Audition score: 87% (votes from four judges)
Talate means “three” in Arabic, which is also the number of members in this group. They sing in the Oriental/Mizrahi style (which is very popular in Israel) and clearly know how to party — most of the judges wanted this party to keep on rocking and voted them through.
Audition score: 75% (votes from three judges)
Judy Layne Bernstein
The oldest contestant ever to take part in a televised singing audition in Israel, this 89-year-old is amazing. You must watch her presentation video. She’s not that young, but she’s hilarious!
Judy was born in London and has traveled around the world as a TV and theater star, and she spent the last 22 years in Israel. She sings pretty well, but that voice isn’t going to get her that far in the contest. Even so the judges couldn’t resist her charm and sent her through.
Audition score: 81% (votes from three judges)
A minute before her audition, while talking with the judges, Lee confessed that she suffers from anxiety. But once she started singing it really helped calm her nerves and the judges almost started to cry. Tug on those heart strings, girl!
Audition score: 79% (votes from three judges)
The Beatbox Element
As the name suggests, this group doesn’t use any instruments or playback: They create their music through their voices alone. They’re all former members of “The Voca People” and managed to impress the judges with their polish and cohesiveness.
Audition score: 91% (votes from four judges)
Sapir currently sings in a military band. Her little brother reached the final of a famous kids’ talent show in Israel, where he met the judge of The Next Star for Eurovision 2017, Keren Peles. Sapir got the judges so excited they all voted for her quite quickly, but then she got so emotional she barely managed to keep on singing while wiping away her tears. Awww. Thankfully she held it together and made it through.
Audition score: 88% (votes from four judges)
Eighteen-year-old Osher mainly sings in the Oriental/Mizrahi style. He thrilled the judges with his emotional singing and drew comparisons to a successful Israeli singer named Omer Adam.
Audition score: 77% (votes from three judges)
YOU CAN WATCH THIS WEEK’S EPISODES OF THE NEXT STAR FOR EUROVISION 2017 ON THIS LINK.
The auditions will continue in the coming weeks. This year’s edition will be relatively shorter than last year’s, and will end by March. Unlike last year’s competition, the winner will select his or her Eurovision entry after the contest has finished.
Which artist do you like the most so far? Who do you think would do well for Israel at Eurovision?