Roll on national selection season!
Local media has confirmed that Israeli broadcaster KAN and production company Keshet will once again collaborate on The Next Star for Eurovision — the wildly successful programme used to selection Israel’s song contest singer.
This will be the fifth year in a row that Israel uses the format, which has resulted in four consecutive qualifications, two top 10s and one victory.
But there will be a big change for 2019. In most previous editions of The Next Star, the show has only chosen the singer, while the song has been internally selected. In 2016, the song — “Made of Stars” — was also chosen along with the winning singer Hovi Star, but it was substantially revamped before being entered.
For 2019, the song for the winning singer will be selected in an extra show. This will ensure that the song selection is kept separate from the selection of the artist. It appears that Israel is serious about defending their crown and isn’t worried about another back-t0-back win situation.
In 2015 The Next Star for Eurovision was a turning point, getting Israel back to the Eurovision final after four straight eliminations. In 2018, of course, the show more than justified its existence and expense as it resulted in Netta winning Eurovision. That despite the fact the audience eliminated her in a crucial battle round in the final.
Who will host Eurovision 2019?
The rumour mill is still spinning, and it’s spit out names including model Bar Refaeli and Natalie Portman. But perhaps the most credible rumours centre around two former hosts of The Next Star.
Erez Tal, 57, is one of Israel’s most respected TV and radio personalities. Tal is the leading candidate, as he was the commentator during Eurovision 2018 and received incredibly positive feedback. In fact, he is the one who called on Israelis to “forget about work” and go to Kikar Rabin to celebrate the nation’s fourth victory (as they did when Dana International won in 1998).
But according to Israel Hayom newspaper, Assi Azar is also a possible candidate, having reportedly had a secret meeting with KAN’s CEO earlier this month. Azar, 39, has been the co-host of The Next Star since 2015 (alongside Rotem Sella, whose candidacy has also been unofficially rumoured as well). Azar previously co-hosted the Israeli version of the Big Brother with Erez Tal for six seasons between 2010 and 2015, before leaving to host The Next Star. Could they be chosen to host together again?
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