After an endless auditions process, the 60 participants of The Next Star for Eurovision 2020 have been reduced to just 20. And last Sunday we finally found out who the last five of the final 20 are. Here’s a summary of the nerve-wracking Episode 19.
Half-French polyglot Nathan Quatorze was the first to perform. Expectations were high after his first audition convinced juror Keren Peles that he will reach the grand final. No problems here. Quatorze sang “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and won the judges’ hearts all over again. So he’s now booked his spot in the final 20.
Linoy Akala, the bootcamp qualifier who had the lowest audition score (41%), was up next. Since only two wildcards have made it to the final 20 so far, the hosts hyped Akala up and for good reason. She performed a touching low-tempo rendition of”You’re the One That I Want” that reminded host Rotem Sela of Netta’s cover of “A-Ba-Ni-Bi”. After long discussions, she received votes from all the judges and qualified directly to the final 20.
Yossi Asher qualified as a wildcard after the judges were rather quick to judge his abilities following a weak start. He sang Dudu Tasa’s “BaSof Mitraglim LaKol” and the judges agreed that he had improved a lot. He received votes from all judges bar Shiri Maimon, and qualified for Second Chance.
Ron Peretz, who the judges described as futuristic, was asked to perform in Hebrew during the bootcamp. She sang “Af Ekhad” by Karolina, who was present at the performance. Karolina herself didn’t approve and the judges agreed that while Peretz is talented, it’s just not enough. No votes meant no place in the Top 20.
Lihi Toledano, daughter of Avi Toledano and one of the clear front-runners to win the selection, was next. She sang “Je Suis Malade” by Serge Lama, in Hebrew and French. While Levy and Peles didn’t vote for her, she earned enough support to make Second Chance.
35-year-old heavy metal singer Shiran Abayu sang “Poison” by Alice Cooper. Once again, she showed off that powerful and gritty voice and won the judges over. Because two judges chose not to vote for nor against, Abayu went to Second Chance. After Abayu’s performance clip ended, we also saw a short bit from Nathanel Sherf’s performance of Adele’s “Hello”. Sherf was eliminated, as the performance failed to impress the judges.
Eden Zohar Sivan
The half-Ethiopian, half-Polish Eden Zohar got a staggering score of 92% on her first audition. This time she sang Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish” and the votes quickly piled up. But as Assaf Amdursky voted against, it was only enough for Second Chance.
Loai Ali was the next bootcamp participant to perform. Two of his friends were murdered by a terrorist at the Temple Mount earlier in 2019, and he dedicated his performance to them. He sang “Ke’ev Shel Lokhamim” (Soldiers’ Pain) by Idan Amedi and moved the jurors. They all voted for him except for Assaf Amdursky, so he qualified to the Second Chance round.
Oneg Israel, the skilful singer with an unusual name, was up last. She sang “Ayeka” by Shuli Rand, a moving low-tempo ballad. Israel nailed a few difficult high notes with some beautiful and clear vocals. Amdursky said he wants her in the grand final, which is really unusual of him. Static and Keren Peles voted against her while the rest were on board, which was enough to take Israel to Second Chance.
Second Chance / final decisions
The judges announced Lihi Toledano, who Israeli media had marked as a major contender, as the first eliminee. Then Yossi Asher was sent home. And finally some good news: Oneg Israel heard the news that she is in. Loai Ali, Shiran Abayu and Eden Zohar Sivan remained. Loai Ali and Eden Zohar Sivan completed the final 20, while Shiran Abayu was eliminated.
On Saturday, the duel round will begin, and the 20 participating artists will start dropping like flies. Who are your favourites so far? Who do you think can go all the way? Let us know in the comments below!