After eight amazing audition episodes, we thought we’d already seen everything. But it seems the best is yet to come on The Next Star for Eurovision because episodes 9 and 10 held some pleasant surprises. Here’s a summary of these two exciting audition compilations.
Eden Zohar Sivan (92% – Qualified)
Eden Zohar Sivan came to the auditions with her mother, an actress, and said her father doesn’t even know where she is. She’s the descendant of immigrants, her father is from Europe and her mother from East Africa. She charmed the hosts with her smile. She then performed “Who’s Lovin’ You” by the Jackson 5 and her vocal abilities charmed the jury as well. And so, with additional support from the public vote, Sivan sailed through rather easily. Her performance showed how ripe she is, and how ready she is for Eurovision. The jury’s decision was unanimous, and her final score was 92% (jury 40/40, public 52/60).
80 VeMashehu (55% – Failed to qualify)
The 1980’s-revival group, 80 VeMashehu, is one of the only bands that came to the auditions (probably owing to bands having very little success in recent years). The lead singer Lion Rosenberg is famous in Israel for being the host of his own talkshow. They performed “Big in Japan” by Alphaville, and made the jury dance and vote for them. Consequently, the public had to play the bad cop, and they stopped the (potentially pastiche) band from making it. Their final result was 55% (jury 32/40, public 23/60). Itay Levy didn’t vote for 80 VeMashehu.
Netanel Sherf (86% – Qualified)
Netanel Sherf, 24 years old from Migdal HaEmek, is a secular Jew from an orthodox religious house. He grew up in an orthodox environment and in a Yeshiva school. Nowadays, he works as a waiter while simultaneously studying for a Bachelor’s Degree. Sherf decided to perform “Ma Ata Rotse Mimeni” by Hanan Ben Ari, the same song Orr Amrami-Brockman performed during his audition. But his stage performance showed his distinction from all the rest. His Mizrahi voice was poignant and convinced everyone. While the public vote wasn’t fully unanimous, the judges were all on board. And as a result, Sherf eventually got 86% (jury 40/40, public 46/60).
Eylon Elkayam (80% – Qualified)
Eylon Elkayam, 16 from Kiryat Gat, is a high school student who sings Mizrahi pop. He says he’s scared of everything, but believes that with help from God, he’ll make it in the Israeli selection. While many people think he’s in his 20’s because of his mature look, he’s only in the 11th grade. Elkayam performed “Khayim Shlemim” by Eyal Golan and convinced the judges and public voters as one. His performance showed his ability to reach difficult high notes, and his Middle-Eastern voice was impressive. He got a final score of 80% (jury 32/40, public 48/60). Assaf Amdursky didn’t vote for Elkayam.
Shefita / Laila Suleyman (Qualified, but withdrew)
Laila Suleyman, 21 years old from Rahat, came to her audition with a burqa. In Israel, a predominantly Jewish country, this is rather unusual. For this reason, both the hosts and the jurors were surprised. A few judges were even uncertain if Laila is in fact who she said she was. She sang “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera. During the performance, Suleyman took her burqa off and revealed her true self – Shefita! The pop star was a finalist in Next Star for Eurovision 2019, so everyone was very familiar with her. Both the jury and the public voters wanted her through, and she passed the threshold quickly. However, shortly after, she revealed that she won’t actually be participating because of her tight schedule. We’ve been duped.
Allen Botsoier (84% – Qualified)
Allen Botsoier, a 22-year-old Argentinian-Israeli singer from Buenos Aires, immigrated to Israel in 2002. His family was very financially stable, but the Argentinian bank took away all their money, and they were left with nothing. Botsoier said he wouldn’t mind it if Argentina participated in Eurovision, just so they could lose to Israel (“a little revenge wouldn’t hurt”). He sang “BaLayla” by Idan Raichel, who performed in Tel Aviv as an interval act. His performance was touching and the public voters loved his soulful voice. Botsoier’s vocal tone is one of a kind, and this as reflected in his score. His final result was 84% (jury 32/40, public 52/60). Keren Peles didn’t vote for Botsoier.
Lidor Sailo (53% – Failed to qualify)
Lidor Sailo, 24 and living in Los Angeles, is a house musician who works with Offer Nissim, the most successful Israeli DJ ever. He’s been singing since he was two, and nowadays he’s a multi-talented musician. Performing under the mononym Sailo, he writes, composes and produces his own music. Sailo performed “Cry Me a River” by Justin Timberlake, with an EDM twist. He showed his powerful modern rock voice and his electronic twist was reminiscent of Björk’s “Hyperballad”. However, the juries didn’t dig Sailo, and he only received a vote from one of the five. Even though the public voters loved it, the final result was only 53% (jury 8/40, public 45/60). Only Keren Peles voted for Sailo.
The Spices (59% – Qualified as wildcard)
Founded in 2002, Eilat-based band The Spices (HaTavlinim) came to rock The Next Star for Eurovision. From their interview, it was apparent that the Southern band had high expectations. Judge Shiri Maimon is a relative of one of the band members and a childhood friend of another. For this reason, Maimon did not vote. The Spices performed their 2010 hard rock hit “Nim’as Li Mimech”. The crowd went wild for their powerful performance, but it didn’t suffice. Assaf Amdursky, the only rock singer in the jury, voted against them said they were too “1992” for his taste. Their final score was 59% (jury 30/40, public 29/60). Assaf Amdursky didn’t vote for The Spices.
But hosts Assi Azar and Rotem Sela played the role of the rock-head, and saved The Spices. They qualified to the bootcamp round as wildcards.
Noa Faraj (66% – Failed to qualify)
Noa Faraj, 21 years old from Beer Sheva, performs at weddings and tries to make a living out of it. She dreams to make it big and hopes to represent Israel in Rotterdam and boost her career. On her audition, Faraj sang “Without You” by Badfinger (the Mariah Carey version). She showed her wide vocal range and held some notes for a long time, but didn’t make it to the bootcamp phase. While her performance was convincing and won a lot of public votes, the judges thought it was old-fashioned. Faraj only received 66% (jury 24/40, public 42/60). Assaf Amdursky and Static & Ben El didn’t vote for Faraj.
(Note: in this audition, Keren Peles replaced Ben El for no apparent reason).
Eldad Cohen (78% – Qualified)
Eldad Cohen, a singer from Ramat Gan, grew up in an orthodox Jewish house in Netivot. Nowadays, he works in a shelter for at-risk youth, and works on his music simultaneously. He said that, as a child, his parents did not get along and he was caught in a very difficult situation. He decided to sing “Klum Lo Ta’im” by juror Keren Peles, and decided – following Assi Azar’s advice – to make it a surprise for Peles. Cohen went on stage and said that he’d prepared a song penned by one of the jurors, and one which should be familiar. Peles, for whom the song is very personal and meaningful, started crying almost immediately. But she wasn’t the only one who got goosebumps. With votes from all judges, he paved his way to the bootcamp round with 78% (jury 40/40, public 38/60).
Who is your favourite from these two episodes? Who has the most potential? Let us know in the comments below!