Israel have a pretty impressive three wins under their belt since they first competed at Eurovision in 1973. This includes back to back victories for Izhar Cohen and the Alphabeta’s ‘A-Ba-Ni-Bi’ in 1978 and Gali Atari and Milk and Honey’s ‘Hallelujah’ in 1979. Their most recent win was when Dana International won in 1998 with Europop anthem ‘Diva’.
Since then they haven’t fared so well with a four year run from 2011 to 2014 where they failed to qualify for the final. Even having Dana International return in 2011 with ‘Ding Dong’ couldn’t get them out of the rut. 2015 saw 16 year old Nadav Guedj win Israel’s Rising Star contest and he was selected to represent his country with ‘Golden Boy’, which resulted in their best outcome in over a decade when it finished ninth. Can they keep this momentum going and propel their 2016 entry even higher into the top ten?
Given the success of Hokokhav Haba (Israel’s Rising Star), the that Israeli broadcaster IBA will use the same format again this year, with more of a focus on Eurovision. This is reflected in the name of the competition which is now called: HaKochav Haba Le’eyrovizion 2016 (The Rising Star for Eurovision 2016). The same judging panel from season 2 of the competition will return. This includes: Assaf Etedgi, Keren Peles, Mookie and Harel Skaat.
The show kicked off on 5th December and airs on a weekly basis on a Saturday night. Just two weeks in and already we have witnessed an eclectic range of acts including a 50 year old former boxer, a sister duo Noam and Yael Cohen, drag act Kiara Duple and Orthodox rap outfit Shtar. The show is very much still in its early stages. Judges will continue to pick their favourite acts in this first stage, before whittling them down to a more manageable bunch. These successful acts will then compete live every week, sending one act home at the end of each show, before we are left with the eventual winner. The focus will then shift to which song will be chosen for that winner to sing in Stockholm in 2016.
We will keep you up to date as more episodes air, but in the meantime have a listen to some of the acts who have made it through so far, and let us know if you have a favourite by voting in our poll.