Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Israel 2019 - Shefita - You Oughta Know

The Israelis choose who they're going to send to Eurovision tonight, and the final four make a really interesting - if not potentially troubling - mix. On paper this is Kitria's contest to win. A member of the Black Hebrew Israelites community, she's not only an incredible singer, but would fit into the organisers' mission statement of celebrating diversity this year. However, she has some complicated competition.

The inclusion of Maya Bouskilla in this list is a slightly contentious one, not least in that she's not exactly The New Star this show purports to be looking for, as she had a not incosiderable music career in the early days of the century, and has occasionally been suggest as the choice for Eurovision proper down the years. She would however be a safe pair of hands, and would deliver ably anything - well most things - that Israeli telly threw at her. Although it would be a stunningly safe choice.

Kobi Marimi is another strange choice. For a man so seemingly devoid of charisma or delivery, he's become the centre of this year's soapy storyline, but his meat and potatoes style would surely not translate down the TV screens of a continent and beyond.

But the most contentious contender is one Shefita. A character created by the Jewish comedian Rotem Shefy, she performs in the guise of an Israeli Arab, using exaggerated actions and accents over code Palestinian music styles to hammer home her comedy point. Her progress through the competition has divided viewers, with many thinking it's just a bit of harmless fun, with many more suggesting that bringing this kind of act to Israeli screens in the current climate is ill-advised at best and divisive at worst - not to mention the potential PR disaster it would bring to Eurovision proper should it win.

Local TV critics assumed that she was being kep in the competition to keep the ratings high with a little bit of jeopardy, but now there's a very real possiblity that this highly localised and somewhat tactless in joke could be representing their nation on a major international platform.

Tonight's final could easily go one of four ways, and there'll be a whole lot more people besides Tuesday night telly watchers and ESC fans keeping a close eye on tonight's goings on, that's for certain.

1 comment:

  1. Maya Bouskilla is an accomplished singer, no doubt.
    Technically she can sing anything. However her rendition of "Rise Like A Phoenix" was note perfect but soulless.
    The judges were praising her and giving her top marks, but it seemed that they were more kind to her than they would have been if it was someone else.