Jerusalem, 3 February 2022
While all eyes were on Estonia, Israel was picking their final songs during HaShir Shelanu L’Eurovizion, a special which aired earlier tonight.
The Middle Eastern state is picking its entrant via X Factor Israel, and had narrowed the field down to four finalists: Michael Ben David, Eli Huli, Inbal Bibi and Sapir Saban. Each finalist was assigned two songs each, which they performed live.
After the two performances, the judge panel (Aviv Geffen, Miri Mesika, Ran Danker and Margalit Tsanani) provided feedback before casting their votes. 2018 winner Netta Barzilai also voted, but was absent from the live show after a positive Covid test.
The jury awarded 25 points (five from each juror). Another 25 points were awarded by a professional jury (henceforth referred to as ‘the Committee‘) appointed by the broadcaster. The remaining 50 points were determined via public vote, which has been open to citizens of Israel since the songs were released on Monday.
Michael Ben David
Michael opened the show with an energetic performance of the flamboyant power anthem “I.M”, which he followed up with a more serious, less conspicuous rendition of “Don’t”.
The jury unanimously preferred “I.M” over “Don’t”, awarding it all 25 points. The Committee gave 20 points to “I.M” and five to “Don’t”. Finally, the televote also greatly preferred ‘I.M’, granting it 38 points versus 12 for “Don’t”.
“I.M” – 83 points => Michael’s song for Eurovision
“Don’t”- 17 points
Eli was the second to perform, starting with “Nostalgia”, a downbeat ballad with personal meaning to the young singer. Afterwards, Eli performed his second song, “Blinded Dreamers”, which was arguably a worse fit for the indie vocalist.
The jury, however, preferred “Blinded Dreamers”, ranking it above “Nostaglia” in a 20 to 5 vote. This upset Eli, who visibly preferred the latter song. Unfortunately for him, The Committee agreed with the judges (15 to 10 in favour of “Blinded Dreamers”). So did the audience, advancing “Blinded Dreamers” with another 32 out of a possible 50 televote points.
“Nostalgia” – 33 points
“Blinded Dreamers” – 67 points => Eli’s song for Eurovision
X Factor Israel veteran Inbal Bibi was the third to perform on the night. Her first song, “Marionette”, had good-looking staging but suffered from shaky vocals. Inbal hit her stride during “ZaZa”, however, performing it more convincingly.
However, in spite of this, the jury voted for “Marionette” in a close 15-10 vote. The Committee disagreed and pushed for “Zaza”, also in a 15-10 vote. With both songs tied, the audience cast the deciding vote, and the result swung in favour of “Marionette”.(28 to 22).
“Marionette” – 53 points => Inbal’s song for Eurovision
“ZaZa” – 47 points
Sapir, who has been skating by during this process, was the last finalist to perform her two songs. She started off with “Head Up”, an energetic, uptempo pop song in line with what we’ve heard before. Her second song, “Breaking My Own Walls” is a calm ballad that better fits her voice and energy level.
The jury selected “Breaking My Own Walls” unanimously, awarding it the maximum of 25 points. The Committee were more divided, though still slightly preferring “Breaking My Own Walls”(15 to 10). The audience was also split, but, like the Committee, had a slight preference for Sapir’s more subdued song option, choosing it by a vote of 29 points over 21 for “Head Up”.
“Head Up” – 31 points
“Breaking My Own Walls” – 69 points => Sapir Saban’s song for Eurovision.
The selection on Saturday
With the four songs chosen, it’s now up to Israel to pick the winner among these finalists. They will do so on Saturday, 5 February, during the finale of X Factor Israel. The act chosen compete in Turin with their new hit single.