Four more finals to cover, and this time we reach one of the further extents of Eurovision Europe, Israel. I wonder how many Arab countries would be in Eurovision now if Israel didn’t participate, it seems to be the sticking point for some countries who wouldn’t show Israeli entries on TV and thus broke the Eurovision rules. Either way, this is nothing new and Israel have competed in 36 Eurovisions so far.
This extensive career has seen a rare back-to-back pair of winners in 1978 and 1979, as well as the dawn of the modern age of Eurovision when infamous transsexual Dana International secured a narrow victory in Birmingham to win the 1998 contest. The last decade has seen mixed results, with limited success in the semi-finals. They last saw the top 10 in 2008, and are recovering from two years of non-qualification, including a shock dismissal of Dana International herself in Dusseldorf. Can they pull it back?
Israel have implemented a big new format this year, with selection show Kdam including three semi-finals and a second-chance round, cutting 30 songs down to a final of 10. A 50/50 split of televote and jury votes decided the winner.
Nicki Goldstein – We Are One
What a naff VT intro, are we browsing his Facebook photo stream cloud something? How MODERN. Until you get to the song, at least. A leather jacket, an earnest but bland vocal, has he just come from an Israeli soap opera?
I’m sure there’s been another song called We Are one this year, they really are going for this Malmö slogan, aren’t they? The chorus is reasonable and his voice can handle the bigger notes, but there’s not much to write home about here. Key change! They like their peace-on-Earth power ballads in Israel don’t they?
Moran Mazuz – Ten li siman
These VTs are awful, it’s like some cheap shopping website advert, the poor girl looks embarassed to be a part of it. Oh what a nice harp, and a pretty singer. I do love some Hebrew vocals, they’ve really MADE some of the recent entries from Israel.
OK it’s a fairly unadventurous ballad, but the vocals really are on point. She needs to open her eyes a bit more though, enjoy the moment! It’s got this emotional and desperate feel to it, and those strings! That mini second chorus in the middle leads into a key change too, love it.
Fine, the guitar instrumental is really dated, but the English final chorus really works well. Really like this, for what it is!
Vladi Blayberg – We Are Free
We are free now too? Israel likes its aspirational messages doesn’t it? And how better to communicate this than via falsetto ethno-dance? I’m getting Tornero vibes off this one, love the visuals though, at least distracts from the super-gay dancers.
I thought the chorus would have a bit more weight behind it though, it needs a bigger beat. I think he thinks he’s a better performer and singer than perhaps he is. The choreo feels a bit low-budget, but at least they are trying. The breakdown is nice, even if some of those facial expressions are a bit cringey. Yeah, doesn’t quite hit the mark, it’s decent but no Tornero.
Hila Ben David – Beautiful
Oh she’s very pretty! Her voice seems like it has a lovely range to it … but what is that chorus? “Don’t hate me ‘cos I’m beautiful”?! Well, at least she knows her strengths, modest too!!
It’s really a nice song, but it does feel hopefully dated, it’s like a 90s Vanessa Williams track or something. I just feel like I’m missing the real meaning of the lyrics! Or at least I hope I am. The melody and her voice really are gorgeous though.
Shany Zamir – Forever
Can I even call this Eurotrash, geographically speaking? Well the phrase itself seems quite at home with this one. Someone’s heard Loreen, but got preoccupied with pretty much any commercial dance hit of the last 5 years along the way.
Wow, that OoohhOOOhhhhOHOHOHOHHHHH bit really was ill-advised. I’m sure Hila Ben David could have managed it, but this girl can’t. Quick, get some buff dancers in and add a dubstep breakdown, maybe they won’t notice.
It’s a decent tactic, maybe adding less glory notes and wearing trousers that don’t make her arse look huge might have been a better tactic. By the end it turns into a pretty good dance stomper. I suspect I’d like the studio version a lot more though.
Ran Sandler – Find A Way
My eye is automatically drawn to the backing singers trying to pull off the least surprising costume change ever – a wedding dress being masked by a little black dress, what a mess!
He’s cute, he needs to learn how to SMIZE though, why so serious? For a ballad it’s got a decent simmering beat underneath it, and the female harmonies fit it well. It’s all very melodramatic but somehow just feels a bit stale. The middle-eight is competent, even if the key change feels a bit odd. It ends up a lot better than it sounded like it was going to be at least.
Judah Gavra – Hayom
Oh another nice one, loving these Israeli boys. Better dressed than the last one too. He’s like an Israeli version of perma-grinning Didrik Solli-Tangen (or at least facially). His voice is still pretty strong. After a modest start it kicks into an unexpected euphoric dance track, complete with breakdancing.
This isn’t half bad, certainly one of the stronger commercial tracks I’ve heard out of Israel at Eurovision recently. OK that chorus don’t have the most inventive lyrics, and it really wasn’t a good idea for him to do the dance routine while singing, but this is pretty hot.
Note to fans, Google Image search is WELL worth a go with this guy!
Meital De Razon & Asi Tal – Toda La Noche
Oh God, even the thumbnail of this video looks like a hot mess. I wasn’t quite prepared for this at all, Gaga outfits, slut trumpets, why are other countries better at Spanish entries than Spain a lot of the time?
Well it’s no Mandinga, and the female vocal is hopelessly out of key in places (perhaps all of it). The guy is just the DJ? Oops, nobody is going to save this one, she’s out of control! These really are some ropey outfits, how did this come third!? It’s certainly got some entertainment about it. A bit of a tacky holiday hit, but really killed by those vocals!
Ron Weinreich – Love Is One
This guy looks fun. Oh he’s in a wheelchair too!! Well I haven’t seen that at Eurovision yet at least. For all the good karma in this post-Paralympics world, there’s only so much sympathy I can give for this pretty boring song.
Oh he dropped his mic too, and some unconvincing rocking out too, lucky us! This song is just a bit of a waily mess. The second chorus seems to come together a bit more, I can tell there’s a melody finally. The third rendition of it even better … just not my cup of tea though, it shouldn’t be such hard work!
Moran Mazor – Rak bishvilo
OK here we are then, the winner and the Israeli representative in Malmö. Interesting styling anyway, is she some sort of hipster secretary? Or is it Lynda Woodruff from the EBU? WHAT is she wearing!? You can see her dirty pillows!
Israel unsurprisingly sending a dour ballad. She’s a great singer though, I can’t dispute that, and the melody is good, I’m just not sure it’s going to be memorable, especially in such a ballad-heavy year.
That is NOT a flattering outfit. They seem to have the knack for ballads this year, they all build nicely and her vocals are as melodramatic as they come by the end. Yeah, this isn’t bad at all!
It’ll probably do well enough to qualify, perhaps threaten the top 10, but I predict a good but not unexpected result for Israel in Malmö.