Jonathan Mergui - The Next Star for Eurovision 2018 (Israel). Photographer: Ronen Akerman

The rumours are true: Mergui finished second to Noa Kirel in Israel’s internal selection for Eurovision 2023. But that in no way means he’ll perform at the song contest if Noa eventually declines.

As you’ll recall, superstar Noa has said her participation remains a “maybe” as she considers the ups and downs of competing. The question of who would absorb the cost of participation has reportedly become an issue, raising further questions about whether her team will accept.

Israeli web site Frogi has now approached the runner-up in the internal selection — that’s Yehonatan Ya’akov “Jonathan” Mergui — to see whether he’d like to fly the flag instead of his ex-girlfriend Noa.

The 22-year-old was polite and cordial about it all, but the answer seems to be “no, thank you.”

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by פרוגי – אתר הנוער של ישראל (@frogifrogi)

“Super happy about the choice of Noa,” he said. “She can totally represent us.”

“And yes, it’s the second time that I am in second place with something related to Eurovision. The last time we won [with Netta], so maybe it’s actually good to leave it like that.”

So would he accept the offer or not?

“It’s too big for me to even think about. I don’t see myself in Eurovision right now, at least not in the next two years, but it is a huge honour to represent the country.”

If both Noa and Mergui formally decline the offer to sing at Eurovision, it would seem that KAN would have to turn to the third-place finisher in its selection.

Some of you may be wondering: Why did he enter the selection if he wasn’t interested? Well it turns out he didn’t. 

This year Israel’s broadcaster drew up a list of 78 artists who have been successful on the charts between 2019 and 2021. They then debated who should go to the song contest…without assessing the stars’ interest first. 

Speaking to Frogi, Mergui said he wasn’t even aware that such a selection committee existed. 

About Mergui

Back in 2018, he finished second in The Next Star for Eurovision — Israel’s national selection for Lisbon. The winner, of course, was Netta — who went on to win Eurovision in Lisbon, bringing the contest to Tel Aviv in 2019.

Ahead of the final of The Next Star, he narrowly topped our reader’s poll — earning 34% of the vote to Netta’s 33%.

  1. Jonathan Mergui — 34% (469 votes)
  2. Netta Barzilai— 33% (454 votes)
  3. Chen Aharoni— 22% (307 votes)
  4. Riki Ben Ari— 11% (158 votes)

Here’s how Israeli Wiwiblogger Ron described him at the time.

“At only 18 years of age, Jonathan has already adopted a stage name: MerguiHe looks and sounds like a combination of Shawn Mendes and Kristian Kostov — two talents that are currently lighting up the charts.”

“He charmed everyone right from his first auditions — so young and yet so talented! He is also the son of a well-known Israeli singer named Meital Trabelsi. He can sing, he can dance, he captures your attention. And whether or not he wins, he’s most def a star.”

“The judges Static & Ben El Tavori took a selfie with him after his first audition and said they will take another selfie with him at the final of the show, as they think he will win it.”

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
27 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Pauly
Pauly
20 days ago

Don’t worry honey, we dont want you in Eurovision..

Dawid
Dawid
30 days ago

Are they asking everyone with citizenship?

Bombalurina
Bombalurina
30 days ago

Who is the third of the list? I heard it could be Itay Levy or the Turkish blondie from X Factor 2022 (i don’t remember her name , she came fourth at X factor)

Alo
Alo
30 days ago
Reply to  Bombalurina

Nobody said anything about it. But I bet it is ran danker or static and Ben el

Maya G
Maya G
30 days ago
Reply to  Bombalurina

The Turkish Blondie from X Factor (Lynette) doesn’t meet the criteria the committee set for itself. They only considered artist who were either on the most played lists of several radio stations or were shortlisted for best male artist/female artist/band in those radio stations’ year end charts over the past three years. Lynette has no career in Israel and is unknown to most Israelis.Itay Levy meets the criteria, but I doubt he came third. My bet is on either Eden Ben Zaken, Agam Buhbut or Static & Ben El.

Maria
Maria
29 days ago
Reply to  Maya G

I think she meant Sapir

Maya G
Maya G
29 days ago
Reply to  Maria

Oh, right. Forgot she also has Turkish roots. She doesn’t meet the criteria either as she was never on the most-played list or shortlisted for best female artist of the year.

Esc addict
Esc addict
30 days ago

Ok! Israël is litteraly the wiwi summer saga this year!

Whisker
Whisker
1 month ago

I have no doubt that Israel can deliver a more than excellent song, with a caveat. In 2019 they had one of the best songs ever, that’s because they had the *motivation* to do so. The interval act was out of this world too. If they want to do well, why don’t they have an idan raichel project participation? What if at least idan raichel advises them on how to create such an experience?
Or if it’s a money thing, have a collaboration between labels and have a duo, the netherlands 2014 and denmark and romania 2010 were successful enough.

sam
sam
1 month ago
Reply to  Whisker

home by kobi marimi… is one of the best songs ever?

apollinischesprinzip
apollinischesprinzip
30 days ago
Reply to  sam

it’s one of the worst if you ask me. along with jendrik’s i don’t feel hate

Dawid
Dawid
30 days ago

Jendrik’s song at least wasn’t serious

Jofty
Jofty
30 days ago
Reply to  sam

I thought it was wonderful I can’t understand how it did so badly.

sam
sam
29 days ago
Reply to  Jofty

i mean it surely isn’t israel’s worst entry but in no way is the best song ever let’s get real

Frisian esc
Frisian esc
1 month ago

Like you literally participated in the eurovision pre round in the past but it’s too big for you?

Maria
Maria
30 days ago
Reply to  Frisian esc

Now he has too much to lose.
Back then he was anonymous

Meckie
Meckie
1 month ago

But why did he then take part in the selection for Eurovision 2018 if it is too big for him? I am so fed up with people who use Eurovision only to be more popular or gain attention to promote their own career.

Conan Lau
Conan Lau
1 month ago

I appreciate Israel trying different things, clearly after a NQ they want an established & current artist, I think internally selecting an artist early is a smart strategy so they can prepare in advance, the Israeli team are clearly aware that matching a song, where songwriters don’t know who their really writing for, then giving it to an artist doesn’t allow for the most creative or meaningful entry for the artist but at least ask the actual artist first if they even want the ticket to Eurovision

Alo
Alo
1 month ago

Noa has better songs..and I think there is no way she is not going.

Nicky
Nicky
1 month ago
Reply to  Alo

of course she is going, even better she wants Doron as her composer, soooo generic cliché song incoming then LOL from the new ”dream team”

this will do so much worse than MBD and that’s a fact

Jack
Jack
1 month ago

Choosing artists without them saying yes is very… KAN. Somebody needs to explain to them the concept of consent. As well as to MBD.

Alo
Alo
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack

Actually it has been reported already that Kan approached noa’s managers days before they decided. So it seems she knew what will come

Jack
Jack
1 month ago
Reply to  Alo

Where is the consent to do the project?

Alo
Alo
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack

Noa’s managers and her label accepted it(don’t know if she really has a say in this.)
Mergui’s manager already refused(not only for him but also for other artists.)

Dani
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack

By the millionth time, she agreed. An artist like Noa can be booked for Eurovision over a phone call like this. I can assure you that weeks before she was announced there were talks with her agent, label and overall team which ended with a green light from her. I believe that this “maybe” thing is a card against Kan as they’re working on a contract including the money to be spent from both sides, which I agree should have been signed before perhaps.

ESCxSerbia
ESCxSerbia
1 month ago

What a promotion move from Israel the last few days. I personally don’t care, Israel was never among my favourites!

motopapi
motopapi
29 days ago
Reply to  ESCxSerbia

Bruh, you haven’t seen what they got in store stfu