The Next Star: Israel picks Kobi Marimi for Eurovision

The Next Star: Israel picks Kobi Marimi for Eurovision

Kobi Marimi

Home country Israel will be represented by Kobi Marimi at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv in May. The song to match tonight’s winner will be selected at a later point. 

Back in November, Israel started their talent show “HaKokhav HaBa L’Eurovizion” (The Next Star For Eurovision). Four acts had made it through the various eliminations, and qualified for tonight’s final. The winner will now face a big career kick off with representing Israel on home field at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv in May.

The finalists

In tonight’s final, only the population was voting. The judges (Shiri Maimon (Israel 2005), Harel Skaat (Israel 2010), Keren Peles, Assaf Amdursky and Static & Ben El Tavori no longer had any influence.

The four finalists were:

  • Maya Buskila (4th place)
  • Ketreyah Fouch (2nd place)
  • Kobi Marimi (Winner)
  • Shefita (3rd place)

The song with which the winner will compete at Eurovision will be chosen at a later date.

Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest

Back in 1973, this year’s host country debuted at Eurovision with a 4th place. They country got off with a good start, and over the years, Israeli fans have generally had a lot to smile about – that is, if you look aside a period from 2011 to 2014 where the country failed to reach the final four years in a row, but since Nadav Guedj’s Golden Boy in 2015, the Israeli artists always delivered that: to reach the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest.

The country can add four victories to their CV, which is quite impressive. Two of these even came in a row; in 1979 with A-Ba-Ni-Bi and the year after where Europe fell in love with Hallelujah. 20 years after first victory, Dana International’s Diva was crowned the winner – and yet another 20 years later, the same happened to Netta and her Toy. What are odd’s for Israel winning in 2038?

In the video below, take a look at the video which got Israel back on track in 2015 – in which Guedj sing about how he wants to show you Tel Aviv:

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Eurovision Insight News Podcast: On Again… Off Again…

Eurovision Insight News Podcast: On Again… Off Again…

A packed show as we add to the songs and singers heading to Tel Aviv, round up the results across Europe, and our latest ‘Eurovision Thought‘ as Isobel and Roland from The Europhoria Podcast (also available in iTunes) discuss diversity throughout the history of the Song Contest.

Eurovision Insight News Podcast: On Again… Off Again…

Canada joins the party, Russia stops teasing, and we welcome Europhoria’s ‘Eurovision Thought’ on diversity throughout the Song Contest’s history. Ewan Spence and the Insight team cover the latest news from the world of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019.

Remember you can stay up to date with all the Song Contest news by listening to the ESC Insight podcast. You’ll find the show in iTunes, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. A direct RSS feed is  available. We also have a regular email newsletter which you can sign up to here.

Categories: ESC Insight


Newsletter: Australia’s First Ever National Selection Crowns A Winner

Newsletter: Australia’s First Ever National Selection Crowns A Winner

Also in this week’s newsletter, Melodifestivalen continues with a surprising week in Sweden and Russia break the suspense with an announcement from their artist for 2019. You can read the newsletter in full here, or subscribe for a regular dose of Eurovision insight and analysis delivered direct to your email inbox.

ESC Insight National Selection Playlist

2000 And Whatever‘, by Electric Fields (Australia)

Kate Miller-Heideke may have been a well-deserved winner in Australia this weekend, but she was given some serious competition by this charismatic electronic duo. The performance captured the irrepressible energy and seriously impressive vocals that have helped them to become one of the country’s must-see live acts. This would have been a great addition to the lineup in Tel Aviv, and we certainly hope we haven’t seen the last of them in this context…

Release Me‘, by Darude (Finland)

Finnish DJ Darude presented the first of his three potential Eurovision entries this week, as the build-up to his appearance at UMK 2019 intensified. With vocals by frequent collaborator Sebastian Rejman, ‘Release Me’ is a slick and contemporary mid-tempo dance track. Hopefully there’s slightly more distinctive fare to follow, but this is a promising teaser to whet our appetites for now.

Eitt andartak‘ by Hera Björk (Iceland)

Iceland held the first semi final of Söngvakeppnin 2019 last night, with hot favourites Hatari – who we featured in last week’s national selection playlist – deservedly sailing to the Grand Final. The second qualifier was Hera Björk, returning as a competitor for the first time since her victory in 2010 with the beloved fan favourite ‘Je ne sais quoi‘. This somewhat stagey ballad doesn’t quite scale those heights, but the performance showcases what a truly excellent vocalist she is. If Iceland decide not to go all in on screamcore electro-punk this year, they always have a safe pair of hands in Hera…

Light On‘, by Monika Marija (Lithuania)

With Lithuania’s lengthy national selection approaching its endgame, all eyes are on frontrunner Monika Marija, who scored the highest televote of the season so far in last week’s semi final. A thoroughly modern midtempo ballad with a rousing chorus, ‘Light On’ could well give the Baltic nation one of their best ever results if selected…

Siren Song‘, by MARUV (Ukraine)

Victory in Saturday night’s first semi final of Vidbir 2019 has placed MARUV in the current pole position to represent Ukraine in Tel Aviv in May. If selected, this stylish and infectious number seems certain to make a big impression with viewers all across the Continent. Don’t rule out another trip to Kyiv in the near future…

You can stay up to date with all of the latest Eurovision news and analysis right here on ESC Insight. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Categories: ESC Insight


Selecția Națională 2019 sends the last six acts through to the Romanian final

Selecția Națională 2019 sends the last six acts through to the Romanian final

Linda Teodosiu

The second heat of Romania’s Selecția Națională took place tonight with another six acts and songs joining the finalists from two weeks ago. Romania will hold their final on February 17 2019.

Twelve acts competed tonight and the jury selected five to go straight to the final, From the remaining seven acts, the Romanian public were given the chance to send one more to the final.


  • 1 The Hosts and Interval Act
  • 2 The Songs
  • 3 The Results
  • 4 Romania At The Eurovision Song Contest

The Hosts and Interval Act

As per last week singer and presenter Aurelian Temişan along with television host Ilinca Avram hosted the competition. After the songs had been sung, Alessandro Canino and the band HitItaly treated the audience to a mini concert.

The Songs

2 GentsIelele

What do you think this will sound like. The appearance looks as if it’s going to be an opera song, and at the beginning it look that way. However after a few lines it takes off into a calypso dance song and is really quite good. A fancy bit of staging and the 2 Gents could be in the running to head to Tel Aviv.


This song goes at a pace that’s hardly breathing. The piano plods and if this type of song is to do well It needs to burst out. However it seems to try but just doesn’t get there. A female backing vocalist harmonizes and a haunting cello tries hard over the solemn pace. Sadly unlikely to be remembered by the end of the show.

Olivier KayeRight Now

This song starts a little on the reggae side but soon turns into a standard pop song. There is a lot of power in the chorus but it’s not really memorable enough to be a winner.


This is a sad little song with a lilting guitar. Very well sung and definitely under the radar. Romania could do worse than send this little gem to Eurovision.

TMWMake Me Your Man

Back to the sixties a little bit with a bit of mod rock. The lead singer has a bit of rough in his voice but the female backing vocalists balance it back out. Again hard to get a grip of a tune, but visually OK for a while.

Johnny BădulescuGive Up Now

A bit of a country feel for Johnny and that’s just enough to make it stand out enough. Johnny sang Devoted last year, where he came fourth in his heat, but this time he could be heading for the final. This is a simple yet enjoyable sing sung with enough power to keep you interested until the end.

See alsoSelecția Națională 2019 kicked off in Romania tonight with six acts through to the final

EchoesHigh Heels On

This rock group came eleventh last year and are back with a similar type of song this year. They definitely know their stuff and there seems no reason why they won’t make the final again. However the jury seems to have disagreed and have left them to compete in the televote.

Aldo BlagaYour Journey

This is a nice simple song, another one of these empowerment songs, making you believe you can be anything you want to me. Aside from that lie though this is very well sung and easy to enjoy. If Aldo believes he can make the final then he will.

Letiția Moisescu and Sensibil BalkanDaina

This is not so sensible Balkan as the acts name suggests and it takes a while to get going. After it starts though it’s of to party land again with an array of instruments. When it gets you in a rhythm the songs tune changes again. Another probably heading to the final.

Laura BretanDear Father

Going into this heat, this is a favourite of lots of people. Another father song like Seemone in France, who just missed out on winning. This is a standard ballad but Laura can reach quite a few high notes on the chorus. Hard to see how this will miss the final and then Bella and Laura can have a battle of the titans.

Ester Peony On A Sunday

By now the show is getting a bit long and needs a shot in the arm. Unfortunately instead we are served this piece of indie folk. The beating drum accompanies Ester who admittedly has a powerful enough voice, but again there is nothing to make this stand out. Ester described it more as operatic.

Linda TeodosiuRenegades

To end, yet another ballad, but the piano and melody actually make this one more palatable. The chorus  bursts in and soon we are wrapped up in another Eurovision anthem. This seems a sure shot for the final and could even go all the way.

The Results

The first five acts and songs to qualify thanks to the jury, which was made up of Adi Cristescu, Mihai Georgescu, Crina Mardare, Andy Platon and Mugurel Vrabete were:

Olivier KayeRight Now

Letiția Moisescu and Sensibil BalkanDaina

Laura BretanDear Father

Ester PeonyOn a Sunday

Linda TeodosiuRenegades

The last act was chosen by the public. They chose to send Aldo BlagaYour Journey.

Romania At The Eurovision Song Contest

The Humans shook Romania to the core last year apparently when they became the first Romanian entry to not qualify to the final. Never was the title Goodbye more appropriate. Still, despite never winning, Romania has a good track record in Eurovision.

Their first top 10 came in 2002 with Monica Anghel and Marcel Pavel with Tell Me, who finished 9th. A year later, Nicola finished one place lower with Don’t Break My Heart. Since then the country has finished Top 5 on three occasions, you can read in other EuroVisionary articles what they were.

The 6th and final time they finished in the Top 10 so far was with Yodel It by Ilinca and Alex Florea which finished 7th in 2017.

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San Remo 2019 trophy goes to Mahmood

San Remo 2019 trophy goes to Mahmood


Finally, a musical marathon of four days has come to an end in Italy San Remo with all its glitter, nostalgia and humor. As a result of this marathon, Mahmood earned the coveted trophy and the honorable right to represent Italy in Tel Aviv. But will he accept to fly to Tel Aviv?

A total of 24 songs fought for the trophy and eventually, Mahmood lived the happy end. We’ll see if he will go to Tel Aviv or not as it has been the case in previous years, that the winner of San Remo didn’t necessarily accept the Eurovision invitation.


  • 1 The participants
  • 2 The show
  • 3 The voting and the result
  • 4 Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest

The participants

  • Daniele Silvestri – Argento Vivo (written by D. Silvestri, T. Iurcich, F. Rondanini, M. Agnelli)
  • Anna Tatangelo – Le Nostre Anime Di Notte (written by Lorenzo Vizzini)
  • Ghemon – Rose Viola (written by Ghemon, Zef)
  • Negrita – I Ragazzi Stanno Bene (written by P. Bruni, C. Petricich, E. Salvi, F. Barbacci, L. Cilembrini, G. Gagliano)
  • Ultimo – I Tuoi Particolari (written by Niccolò Moriconi)
  • Nek – Mi Farò Trovare Pronto (written by F. Neviani, P. Antonacci, L. Chiaravalli)
  • Loredana Bertè – Cosa Ti Aspetti Da Me (written by G. Curreri, G. Pulli, P. Romitelli)
  • Francesco Renga – Aspetto Che Torni (written by Bungaro, F. Renga, C. Chiodo, Rakele, G. Runco)
  • Mahmood – Soldi (written by Mahmood, Dardust, Charlie Charles)
  • Ex-Otago – Solo Una Canzone (written by M. Carucci, S. Bertuccini, F. Bacci, O. Martellacci, R. Bouchabla)
  • Il Volo – Musica Che Resta (written by G. Nannini, E. Munda, P. Romitelli, P. Mammaro, A. Carozza)
  • Paola Turci – L’ultimo Ostacolo (written by P. Turci, L. Chiaravalli, S. Marletta, E. Roberts)
  • Zen Circus – L’amore È Una Dittatura (written by A. Appino, G. P. Cuccuru, M. Schiavelli)
  • Patty Pravo con Briga – Un Po’ Come La Vita (written by M. Rettani, D. Calvetti, Zibba, Briga, L. Leonori)
  • Arisa – Mi Sento Bene (written by M. Buzzanca, L. Vizzini, R. Pippa, A. Flora)
  • Irama – La Ragazza Col Cuore Di Latta (written by Irama, G. Colonnelli, A. Debernardi, G. Nenna)
  • Achille Lauro – Rolls Royce (written by Achille Lauro, D. Petrella, D. Dezi, D. Mungai, Boss Doms)
  • Nino D’Angelo e Livio Cori – Un’altra Luce (written by L. Cori, N. D’Angelo, F. Fogliano, M. Dagani, G. Fracchiolla)
  • Federica Carta e Shade – Senza Farlo Apposta (written by Shade, J. Ettorre, Jaro)
  • Simone Cristicchi – Abbi Cura Di Me (written by S. Cristicchi, N. Brunialti, G. Ortenzi)
  • Enrico Nigiotti – Nonno Hollywood (written by Enrico Nigiotti)
  • Boomdabash – Per Un Milione (written by F. Abbate, R. Pagliarulo, Cheope, A. Cisternino, F. Clemente, A. Merli)
  • Einar – Parole Nuove (written by A. Maiello, E. Palmosi, N. Marotta)
  • Motta – Dov’è L’Italia? (written by Francesco Motta)

The show

The grand final of San Remo 2019 started 8.50 pm CET. The hosts were Italian icon and Sanremo artistic director Claudio Baglioni, actress and comedian Virginia Raffaele, who already hosted Sanremo in 2016 as well, and actor, comedian and TV host Claudio Bisio. Tonight, all 24 songs made their performances for the third time. 

Furthermore, the show was coloured by special guest appearances by Eros Ramazotti, Luis Fonsi and Elisa,

Before the winners announcement, special awards were given to Daniele Silvestri, Ultimo and Simone Cristicchi.

The voting and the result

Votes were cast for the night’s top-three. Like the night before, all votes received in the previous nights by the three finalists were counted and tonight’s performances were judged by the viewers (50%), the professional jury (20%) and the journalists (30%).

After the first elimination, Il Volo, Ultimo and Mahmood were the three finalists.

One more round of televote was held, and at the end of the night, Mahmood went away with the coveted trophy in San Remo.

Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest

Italy is one of the first participants of Eurovision Song Contest who debuted in 1956 with Franca Raimondi’s Aprite Le Finestre. They’ve gone with the trophy twice. First in 1964 with beautiful 17 year old Gigliola Cinquetti’s sweet ballad Non Ho L’étà. Their second victory came with the legendary Toto Cotugno’s powerful song with slight political messages, Insieme:1992.

In 2018, Ermal Meta and Fabrizio Moro won San Remo 2018 and lived the honor of representing their country in Lisbon. As a result of the public voting and televoting, Ermal and Fabrizio earned a total of 308 points which carried them to the 8th place.

In the press conference after the festival, Mahmood might confirm participation in Eurovision Song Contest. Othervise they will choose another act.


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Ukraine: Maruv, Brunettes Shoot Blondes and Yuko through to Vidbir final

Ukraine: Maruv, Brunettes Shoot Blondes and Yuko through to Vidbir final


The first semi-final of Vidbir took place this evening. Eight acts battled it out for a place in the final and for the chance to represent Ukraine in Tel Aviv this May. Maruv, Brunettes Shoot Blondes and Yuko became one step closer as they became the first three acts to win a place in the final.

Eight unique acts took to the Vidbir stage in Kyiv this evening in the hope of representing Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest this year. The contest took place in the Palace of Culture in Kyiv with Serhiy Pritula returning as host. The show saw the return of judges Jamala, Andriy Danylko and Yevhen Filatov who as always provided each candidate with critique.

The Show

The first semi-final saw different styles and performances for a Ukrainian national selection show with each of the eight acts bringing their own unique style to the competition. In a change to last year, there was no hour long break but instead a series of 15 minute commercial breaks throughout the show. The voting break also being limited to just 15 minutes. At the end of the voting break, the winner of last year’s Vidbir Melovin took to the stage to perform his latest single. At results time the judge’s votes were read out first followed by the televote. Yuko won the jury vote with The Hypnotunez coming in final place. On the televote the Hypnotunez again came in last place with Maruv coming in first place.

The Hypnotunez – Hey!

First up were the Hypnotunez. The five bearded men in suits took to the stage playing a range of instruments such as the Saxophone, the trumpet amongst others.. Hey! sounds like a mixture of Alcohol is free by Koza Mostra and Hey Mama by Sunstroke Project.  The self confessed ‘dirty rats of jazz’ who participated in the X Factor in 2016 gave it their all. Yevhen Filatov complimented the band saying that the track would sound amazing with a large crowd in front of them. Jamala said she was concerned that the performance relied too much on instruments which can not be played on the Eurovision stage.

Letay – Myla Moya (My Dear)

Next up was Letay who performed as a ring master of a circus. The performance followed a circus theme with a young girl appearing to balance on globe suspended in the air and a boy dressed as a mime artist juggling on a unicycle. The interesting performance ended as Letay grabbed a hold of some balloons and in Mary Poppins’ fashioned flew into the air and disappeared from view. It was an interesting performance but somehow took the attention from the song. Andriy Danylko expressed this in his critique of the song.

Vera Kekelia – WOW!

Former Voice of the Country competitor Vera Kekelia was the third act to perform. Vera stood alone in the spotlight as the song began. Wearing a large white fur coat, she removed it to reveal a glittering gold dress. She was later joined by 4 backing singers dressed in black sequins from head to toe who were so far away from Kekelia that they didn’t seem to be part of the performance. They were so far away in fact, that they were on a completely different stage. Yehven Filatov felt commented that although he likes this style of music, it isn’t for the masses and is not really for Eurovision.

TseSho – Hate

Bringing another unique style to the contest, TseSho opened their performance dressed as puppets in orange dungarees with each member of the band playing their own individual brass and accordion instruments. As the beat kicked in the puppets danced in unison as they played their instruments but will a song with the lyrics ‘ I hate Eurovision’ go down well on a Eurovision selection show? Judge Andriy Danylko criticized the song because it didn’t have a melody that people could along too however Jamala liked the song and it’s meaning.

YUKO – Galyna Guliana (Galyna Walked)

Male female duo Yuko were next to take to the stage. The folktronica band started off slow and gained energy and momentum as the song went on. Dressed in long robes, the lead singer danced along with cartoon women on the backing screens. The song was purposely chose to not perform the song in English in order to keep the originality and authenticity of the lyrics of the song however, international viewers might find it difficult to understand the concept and meaning of the song as the performance alone doesn’t give this away.

MARUVSiren Song

Maruv were not originally part of the vidbir line up but were chosen to replace Tayanna when she dramatically resigned from the contest a few weeks ago. Maruv brought brassy percussion, folk and electronica together with a striking visual display. Probably the most interesting performance of the night. Maruv was joined by 3 female dancers, for the second chorus Maruv walked to the judges table and gyrated provocatively in front of them before pretending to shoot Yevhen Filatov as she sang ‘Bang!’. Judge Jamala raised her concerns that the performance might be too provocative for Eurovision but fellow judge Andriy Danylko disagreed.

Brunettes Shoot Blondes – Houston

Brunettes Shoot Blondes have brought a slower song to the contest this year. The duo started their performance sat at the piano which turned out to several other instruments built in to it. Like a two man band, several of the instruments including a xylophone, kick drum and chimes were played at once. At the end of the performance host Serhiy Pritula gave it a go much to the delight of the studio audience. Andriy Danylko criticized the use of the piano commenting that it wouldn’t make a big impression at Eurovision. Jamala liked the piano but felt that something more is needed if they do to Eurovision.

BAHROMA – Nazavzhdy- Navsegda (Forever and Ever)

Bahroma closed the show with another slow song. The band performed in a vertical line against a white backdrop and flooring. The performance had mixed responses from the judges with Yevhen and Jamala liking the song but Andriy saying that he felt this wasn’t the song they should send to Eurovision.

The second semi-final which take place on Saturday 16th February where two more artists will win a place in the final with Czech contestant Lake Malawi performing in the interval. Ukraine’s representative for this year will be decided on Saturday 23rd February.

Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest

Ukraine are one of the most successful countries at the Eurovision Song Contest. Debuting in 2003, they have won the competition twice and earned a top 10 result a total of 9 times. They last won the contest in 2016 when Jamala and her song 1944 beat Dami Im and Sergey Lazarev on a combined vote. Last year the were represented by Melovin who brought a gothic style to the contest. Despite receiving a decent televote score he was slated by the juries and finished in a disappointing 17th place.

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