The bootcamp phase of Israel’s Eurovision 2020 selection is behind us. Now, Next Star for Eurovision 2020 has reached the duel round.
The duels will reduce the final 20 to just 12, comprised of ten duel winners and two wildcards. On the 4 January episode, a shock triple elimination took place.
On the other hand, some fan favourites booked their place in the quarter-finals.
Israel: Next Star for Eurovision — Top 20 (Part One)
Duel 1: Eden Alene (86%) vs The Spices (70%)
The Ethiopian-Israeli who won X Factor Israel was drawn against hard rock band The Spices. She sang “Power” by Little Mix and scored 86% with votes from all judges. After the performance, she ran to hug Assaf Amdursky (who voted for her for the first time so far) but only got a handshake.
Since The Spices had to pass a seemingly impossible threshold, you could sense that they had no hope of qualifying. So, the Eilat band performed “Tel Aviv BaLayla” by Eden Ben Zaken and were eliminated. However, it wasn’t without a battle, as their energetic performance won them votes from all judges. Their final score was 70%.
Duel 2: Or Eddie (50%) vs Orr Amrami-Brockman (88%)
Or and Orr were drawn against each other, prompting a bevy of jokes from the hosts. Before the duel, Amrami-Brockman revealed the fear he’s dealing with over having two fathers. Or Eddie sang “Kmo Sinderella” by Sarit Hadad, and got the audience dancing and clapping. Amdursky and Peles voted against, and she scored 50%.
Orr Amrami-Brockman sang Amir Dadon’s rock ballad “Kol Yom Kmo Nes”. Both the jury and the public loved his performance. All judges voted for Orr, and he scored 88%.
Duel 3: Nathan Quatorze (70%) vs Gaya Shaki (92%)
Israeli-French soul singer Nathan Quatorze was drawn against Gaya Shaki. While at first the match-up only seemed slightly intriguing, it got very interesting when the romantic tension between the two came clear. Quatorze performed “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars. The staging was outstandingly Eurovision-esque and even incorporated the crowd singing lines. Quatorze scored 70% with votes from everyone except for Keren Peles.
But, it wasn’t enough compared to Gaya Shaki, who slayed the scoreboard with a round record of 92%. All judges unanimously voted for her piano-accompanied ballad version of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy”.
Duel 4: Ella Lee Lahav (90%) vs Niki Goldstein (73%)
The youngest participant, Ella Lee Lahav (16), was drawn against the oldest one, Niki Goldstein (42). Goldstein, acknowledging that Lahav is currently the biggest favourite to win, sarcastically thanked the production for placing them in one duel. Lahav was first on stage, performing “Hey Mama” by David Guetta and Nicki Minaj. After she received votes from all judges and scored no less than 90%, Niki Goldstein had to accept his fate.
The Kdam veteran was next up and performed “Creep” by Radiohead. As the performance came to an end, Goldstein gave the final line “I don’t belong here” a new meaning. His score stood at 73% with votes from all but Amdursky, and he started to believe his road to Rotterdam was cut short. However, with the help of Shiri Maimon and the support of his rival Ella Lee Lahav, Goldstein qualified as a wildcard.
The Next Star for Eurovision: What next?
For The Spices, Or Eddie and Nathan Quatorze, the dream is over. The four qualifiers from the show progress to the final 12, where we can expect additional duels.
The participants that haven’t sung in the duel round yet will be divided into six duels. During this round, six artists will qualify directly to the final 12, while five will be eliminated. One will qualify as a wildcard.
The next episode airs on 5 January (tonight).