It’s the selection format that’s guaranteed Israel a spot in the Eurovision final every year since 2015. And while it may be retired for the 2021 contest, The Next Star for Eurovision 2020 is continuing apace.
The audition rounds have already seen 42 artists reach the competition’s second round. Over the past two weeks, the last 18 qualifiers were decided, completing the 60-artist boot camp lineup.
Forty artists will be cut in the boot camp, leaving a final 20. These will duel in the live shows and be eliminated one-by-one.
Here are some standouts from episodes 11 to 15.
The Next Star for Eurovision 2020: Episodes 11 to 15 — Standout Auditions
The Next Star for Eurovision 2020: Episode 11 (9 December)
Liora Itzhak (74% – Qualified)
The 45-year-old from Lod is a famous Israeli-Indian musician. Liora Itzhak’s parents immigrated from Mumbai, where she lived herself for eight years, making her way through the Indian show business. The former Bollywood actress and singer also made a name for herself in Israel, with her hit “Ma’la Ma’la”, which she auditioned with. She reached a score of 74% (jury 32/40, public 42/60). Jury member Itay Levy didn’t vote for Itzhak.
The Next Star for Eurovision 2020: Episode 12 (11 December)
Chen Hadar (83% – Qualified)
Chen Hadar, 23 from Ashkelon, suffers from stage fright. But in a bid to overcome her fear, she tries to perform on stage whenever possible. While she dreams of becoming an astrophysicist, her friends and family pushed her towards a music career. She auditioned with Labrinth’s “Jealous”. The public voters fell in love. She achieved a final result of 83% (jury 32/40, public 51/60). Jury member Assaf Amdursky didn’t vote for Hadar.
Atara Oryah (73% – Qualified)
Twenty-three-year-old Atara Oryah recently graduated from Rimon. The quirky songstress says she is scared of everything, including ordinary human interaction, which seems funny at first. But there’s actually a sad story behind it. Oryah is an orphan and spent time living on the streets. She was adopted four years ago and says her mother saved her life. She bonded with juror Static who’s also adopted. And fellow judge Itay Levy also revealed for the first time that he is adopted. Oryah sang “Akhshav O Le’Olam”. She received 73% (jury 32/40, public 41/60). Judge Assaf Amdursky didn’t vote for Oryah.
Bar Furman (78% – Qualified)
During episode 12, Next Star and Eurovision 2019 host Assi Azar decided to revive a concept from the show’s first season. He took a random fan from the crowd and told her to go backstage and prepare a song. Sixteen-year-old Bar Furman was the lucky one. Conveniently, she’s been singing since she was eight and came second in the San Remo Junior IL contest. After preparing backstage for 20 minutes, she performed “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” by Etta James. As expected, she absolutely slayed. Despite only receiving the backing of three judges, she sailed through with 78% (jury 24/40, public 54/60).
The Next Star for Eurovision 2020: Episode 13 (14 December)
Oren Etinger (85% – Qualified)
Oren Etinger, 25 from New Jersey, is an English teacher. Since moving to Israel at 23, he usually only sees his parents through FaceTime. But Etinger’s mother made it to his audition. He sang Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy”. Even Assaf Amdursky, the notoriously tough juror, sent him through. Etinger slayed an impossibly high note, convincing all the judges and most of the public. His final score was 85% (jury 40/40, public 45/60).
The Next Star for Eurovision 2020: Episode 14 (15 December)
Ron Peretz (81% – Qualified)
Ron Peretz, a Moroccan Israeli from Tel Aviv, has a Bachelor’s degree in music. She performed an original song in Hebrew and Moroccan Arabic. Her unique vocals channelled those of the late Irish rocker Dolores O’Riordan. The crowd absolutely loved what was perhaps the most unusual performance of the season. The juries slowly hopped on the train and voted for the avant-garde audition. Her final score was 81% (jury 32/40, public 49/60). Eurovision 2005 singer Shiri Maimon didn’t vote for Peretz.
The Next Star for Eurovision 2020: Episode 15 (18 December)
Shir Araji (88% – Qualified)
Shir Araji, 21 from Kiryat Malachi, is a musician with impaired sight and hearing. She described Next Star as a mental journey and said Shalva Band’s success in the 2019 edition motivated her to participate. Araji is a member of The Sixth Sense, a band managed by Shay from Shalva Band. She sang the classic Hebrew oldie “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav”, which functions as Israel’s secondary anthem. This 1967 song’s original producer is the late Benny Amdursky, Assaf Amdursky’s father. She scored a staggering 88% (jury 40/40, public 48/60).
Shiran Abayu (92% – Qualified)
Shiran Abayu, 35 years old from Shlomi, was the last auditionee of the season. The singer, who performed in Wacken Open Air in front of 5,000 fans, brought something new to the table. She’s a death metal singer who performs with a band that bears her first name. She sang Bon Jovi’s glam metal anthem “It’s My Life”. Her fiery metal performance received one of the highest scores of the series — 92% (jury 40/40, public 52/60).
The Next Star for Eurovision 2020: Episodes 11 to 15 — All Qualifiers
- Episode 11: Gaella Brown and Liora Itzhak
- Episode 12: Chen Hadar, Michael Tsidon, Atara Oryah, Dikla Malka, Wonder Years and Bar Furman
- Episode 13: HaHerzlim, Oren Ettinger, Eden Shabi, Lital David and Zion Huri
- Episode 14: Yossi Asher, Noy Halperin and Ron Peretz
- Episode 15: Lidor Ben Atia, Linoy Akale, Shir Argi and Shiran Avayou
The Next Star for Eurovision 2020: Episodes 11 to 15 — Non-Qualifiers
- Episode 11: Naveh Mamo
- Episode 12: Hila Vaknin
- Episode 13: Yuval Gez and Rotem Edri Tochner
- Episode 14: Maya Eliyahu
- Episode 15: Ben Tzur and Amit Sadan
Who’s your favourite of the 60 qualifiers? Who can go all the way? Let us know in the comments.