Tonight we will finally know the Israeli act for Eurovision 2018. Israel makes its decision in The Next Star for Eurovision 2018, live from 20:00 CET. Ahead of tonight’s result, we reveal the results of our readers poll.

We didn’t have much time to run this once, since the semi-final was only broadcast on Sunday evening. But we still received 1,388 votes. It was a nail-biter, but in the end our readers have decided that Jonathan Mergui is their favourite to win “The Next Star”.

Hot on his heels — and just 15 votes, or around 1% of the total — behind him is Netta Barzilai.  Chen Aharoni takes third followed by this year’s oldest contestant Riki Ben Ari.

POLL RESULTS: WHO SHOULD WIN “THE NEXT STAR FOR EUROVISION 2018” IN ISRAEL?

  1. Jonathan Mergui — 34% (469 votes)
  2. Netta Barzilai— 33% (454 votes)
  3. Chen Aharoni— 22% (307 votes)
  4. Riki Ben Ari— 11% (158 votes)

https://www.instagram.com/p/BfIUUC5HkyY/?taken-by=thenextstarisrael

More about the finalists

Jonathan Mergui (aka Mergui)

At only 18 years of age, Jonathan has already adopted a stage name: Mergui. He looks and sounds like a combination of Shawn Mendes and Kristian Kostov — two talents that are currently lighting up the charts.

He charmed everyone right from his first auditions — so young and yet so talented! He is also the son of a well-known Israeli singer named Meital Trabelsi. He can sing, he can dance, he captures your attention. And whether or not he wins, he’s most def a star.

The judges Static & Ben El Tavori took a selfie with him after his first audition and said they will take another selfie with him at the final of the show, as they think he will win it.

Links to more of Jonathan Mergui‘s perfomances: “How Far I’ll Go” | “Mercy”“Locked Out of Heaven”  | “Love Yourself” | “Basof Hakol Holef” (At The End It all Passes) | “Roar”  | “Versace On The Floor”“Wake Me Up”“Against All Odds”

Netta Barzilai

Netta, 25, performs in clubs and weddings in Tel Aviv, and she was one of this season’s 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.

In her first audition, and during most of her performances on the show, she had a special vocal looper on stage. But even with just a one-string guitar during her second audition, she still oozed charisma, style and uniqueness in her special version of the Eurovision 1978 winning song, “A-Ba-Ni-Bi”.

Izhar Cohen, the original performer of the tune, watched her cover and said she’d be fab for Eurovision — and the music scene more generally.

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

Chen Aharoni

Hardcore Eurovision fans will recognize Chen, as he took part in the Israeli national selection Kdam Eurovision 2011, where he reached a very respectable fourth place with his song “Or” (Light).

But Chen was known to Israelis much earlier: In 2007 he took part in Kokhav Nolad (A Star Is Born), where he also reached fourth place and almost made it to the grand final.

Chen has international experience as he participated in the UK X Factor during 2013 but didn’t manage to pass Boot Camp. He has released two albums in Israel and an international EP named “Crazy”.

It was not a big surprise to find out that he made it to the live shows after his great auditions: Chen is a veteran singer. But will he be able to beat the other contestants and go to Eurovision this year?

Links to more of Chen Aharoni’s perfomances: “Wrecking Ball” | “Symphony”“Locked Out of Heaven”  | “Sheket” (Quiet) | “Grenade” | “Rokedet” (Dancing) | “Bang Bang”

Riki Ben Ari

Age ain’t nothing but a number and Riki is the perfect example of that. Now in her 50s, she claims she was born a singer, but only sings in the office and while making her children lunch.

The judges and the audience were shocked by her powerful voice and self-confidence during her auditions and during the entire season, as she sounded like a professional singer who had been on stage for many years, though some found her singing style a bit old-fashioned. Will she be Israel’s next Diva in Eurovision?

Links to more of Riki Ben Ari’s perfomances: “Natural Woman” | “Son of a Preacher Man” | “Greatest Love Of All” | “Mehayom Shehalacht” (From The Day That You Left) | “If I Ain’t Got You” | “Ani Chaya Li Miyom Leyom” (I’m Just Living From Day To Day) | “Hei Shketa” (Be Peaceful) | “Set Fire To The Rain” | “Vision of Love”

The final of  The Next Star for Eurovision 2018, Israel’s Eurovision 2018 artist selection, takes place tonight at 20:00 CET. You can watch it on on these links:  option1, option2.

Do you agree with the results? Who is your favourite for tonight’s final in Israel?

READ MORE ISRAEL EUROVISION NEWS

Photo credits: Ronen Akerman / The Next Star for Eurovision

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Sal
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Sal

Neta wins!

Joe
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Joe

Woo-hoo! Excited to hear what she sings in Lisbon! Hoping that Israel can keep up their hot streak.

Joe
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Joe

Netta’s Hey Mama: is it Remy Ma or SunStroke Project? I’m curious.

Sal
Guest
Sal

Chen is out, the judges chose Neta to remain but it doesn’t look good for her.

Joe
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Joe

Think it’ll probably be Jonathan?

Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

I’m not a fan of live looping, so Netta isn’t my favourite. However, I couldn’t help but feel for her as she gave it everything and yet still didn’t reach the required “percentage”. Gosh, I’m so glad that not many other talent shows have adopted this system (yet).

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

So far I like all four artists. They all have different strengths.
Mergui is more of a dance artist than a singer, but if this turns into a year of ballads then this kind of high-energy live choreography staging could do very well at Eurovision.

Maya G
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Maya G

Pretty sure Jonathan Mergui is going to win. would rather have Netta, but I guess he’s OK too. Besides, it’s just dumb to pick a singer without a song.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Well, not if the song is then molded to suit the singer.
Actually, knowing who the singer is in advance of writing/arranging the song is sometimes a tremendous advantage. Mergui is not so much a singer though as he is a dance artist. Israel have a possible winner there, and they know it.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Oh, so it turns out THIS just happened:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-43051249

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

So my guess is that the programme is just running late.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

FYI, option 1 link has a “paid content” lock on it.
Option 2 has a video of Netanyahu speaking – the broadcasting schedule seems to indicate that the show starts at 21:00, but I’m not sure what time zone that represents. The channel may of course just be running late if there has been breaking news.

ron
Guest
ron

I seriously don’t understand why Israel gives so much importance to the selection of a singer. This is a SONG contest. I don’t really care who they are going to pick tonight, all I need is a good song.

Jack Lawson
Editor

Netta must win. There’s no other option.

KYLLITO
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KYLLITO

No kidding…..her performance of RUDE BOY is awesome. Netta has to win!

Roy Moreno
Guest
Roy Moreno

(From Israel)
If Netta doesn’t win, I’ll believe officially that we don’t care about Eurovision