Eurovision 2021 top 39 countdown #13: ISRAEL– Eden Alene – Set Me Free

It’s another returning artist at #13 in the countdown. Eden Alene won the Israeli TV singing contest show HaKokhav HaBa (“The Next Star”) in 2020. This made her the Israeli Eurovision representative for 2020. A song selection show (with 4 songs performed live by Eden) decided the entry – “Feker Libi“. Eden was told live on TV that Eurovision was cancelled and then a few weeks later was told (also live on air) that she was being reselected as the 2021 entry. While I feel that was unnecessarily emotionally manipulative of them, I am very pleased she was reselected. There was a song selection this year but done via an online vote and the winner, “Set Me Free” announced on special TV show.

Underrated entry

I’ll be upfront and say that “Feker Libi” was right near the top of my countdown last year, in place #4. While this isn’t quite so high, it’s still jolly high up in my rankings and I do think this song is being somewhat underrated and overlooked by many in the fandom. It may be because it was one of the earliest songs released, and only underwent a bit of a revamp (one of the few songs to do so this year) quite a few weeks later. I think the original one got dismissed because many fans seemed to prefer one of the other song choices and haven’t given (the revamp) its chance. As you can tell though, I have definitely appreciated it!

Eurovision firsts

Eden is of Ethiopian-Jewish descent, and I think the first of that community to represent Israel at Eurovision. That heritage was put to use in “Feker Libi” with Afrobeat sounds, and in a Eurovision first, the use of Amharic (along with English, Hebrew and Arabic) in the song. We’ve lost those in “Set Me Free” sadly, but it still contains those Israeli/Middle Eastern beats/influences we’ve come to know and love from Israeli Eurovision entries. And while we don’t have Amharic in this song (English only), we are going to get a new Eurovision first – Eden sings a B6 whistle note, which will be the highest note ever performed on the Eurovision stage.

Qualification chances

I do feel like people are sleeping on this a little. Actually the song seems to be performing better in some fan or other online polls, and even at events like Eurofest’s annual Boom-Bang-a-Bang vote where it did quite well. It’s modern, catchy and still feels Israeli, and Eden will be a great performer and her vocals should impress the juries (or they should be impressed anyway). I really do hope it qualifies (like many songs in the upper reaches of my countdown it’s no sure thing) but if she can do well with the juries, I’m hoping she can pick up a decent televote, especially with the use of those super high notes towards the end of the song. Those have the potential to stick in people’s minds and be a proper Eurovision stage “moment”.

Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest

Flag of Israel

First entered: 1973

Appearances (excluding 2020 and this year): 42

Best result: Winner 1978, 1979, 1998, 2018

2019’s result: 23rd

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