It’s already been quite a rollercoaster ride for the Israeli entry this year – after the national selection (X Factor Israel had been used) there were rumours that the winning artist, Michael Ben David, was having creative differences with the broadcaster/delegation. Then more recently it was announced that the delegation could not go to Turin due to strikes within the Israeli Foreign Ministry that would mean they could not provide the security needed. That issue only seemed to last a day or so as it does seem that Michael WILL be going to Italy after all that. And there was a song revamp thrown in for good measure!
Michael Ben David was the winner of the fourth season of The X Factor Israel, the chosen route for selecting the Israeli Eurovision entry this year. Michael is the son of Georgian Jewish parents and is a graduate of performing arts school that has a number of Eurovision entries as alumni. Michael is openly gay and in a long-term relationship. His sexuality is something that has proved challenging with strongly religious members of his family, and sadly, there has been plenty of homophobic abuse online in the reaction to his participation and song.
Coming to the song itself, it’s probably the most self-focused song in this year’s contest, and inescapably makes me think of a Ru Paul’s Drag Race type song. Sassy and catchy but with that unmistakeable Israeli/Middle Eastern flavour to it, it’s a fun and bold entry. I think it gets far more hate than is fair but Michael’s performance is confident and defiantly sassy to match the lyrics and beat.
I would have, indeed, did have this higher up in my top 40 prior to the revamp, but I felt it lost one of my favourite elements when they changed the beat drop – it just doesn’t sound as good and I think makes it more obvious that while this is fun, it’s ultimately quite a thin/cheap track. It’s got the second slot in the second semi-final and I think the focus will have to be on an eye-catching performance as I’m not sure this will be heavily voted for by juries.
Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest
First entered: 1973
Appearances (excluding this year): 43
Best result: Winner 1978, 1979, 1998, 2018
2021’s result: 17th