note: due to copyright claims the Czech song has been muted
ISRAEL – The 2018 Israel Calling edition concluded on April 11th with a live show at Rabin Square, down town of Tel Aviv. It is amazing that police estimation claim 20,000 audience in the square which means at least 20 times more the 1999 Eurovision Song Contest. Does this mean that Israel rehearsed for hosting the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest? Well it seems so if we believe that Netta is the ultimate favourite. But the truth is that there is a frenetic support to Netta, obviously justified by the fact that the song is the most catchy, smart and different from all 43 participating entries.
The event seas also a unique experience for the Israel Calling 2018 team which dared to do this kind of an event after two years of “safe” organisation inside a club with limited audience of about 1,000 – 1,500 people. Amazingly and despite the stress and nervousness that prevailed the first moments when we arrived in the square, everything went smoothly. Yes, the LEDs blacked out during Swiss, Romanian and Icelandic entries but trust me no one cared! It is also remarkable that the building behind the stage kept of screening the flags of the performers’ countries and therefore on monitor there was no real distortion of the performance image.
The presence of Dana International, who was friendlier to people, media and delegations as never before, the tribute to Lys Assia and the performance of Izhar Cohen, the first ever Eurovision Song Contest winner of 1978, the show sequence with the postcards and the interval messages from various participants who didn’t manage to come in Tel Aviv (Norway, Greece, Bulgaria and more), summed the show into a mini Eurovision Song Contest.
In the gossip side of the event we can reveal you (but without names) that a delegation was very rude to the organisers causing a host volunteer to cry, two participants were trying to act friendly to the press and fans but did everything possible to avoid video and selfie interviews and a country’s representative was always late in her press and media meetings. On the other hand Belarus, Romania, Azerbaijan were declared the most easy delegations to host and it was funny that host volunteers were always hunting Spanish entrants to get on the bus on time! Not sure if they already release it but thee organisers have prepared a public apology for the countries who dealt with LED black out during their live performances. Mikolas, Alfred and Amaia and of course Netta were always attracting the public interest wherever we went. We also still don’t know if Alekseev’s father watched his son in Israel, since her abandoned his son when he was born.
Of course 25 performances caused a lot of reactions between us. We decided not to screen here all the participants as after all YouTube is full of their performances. As we usually intent to do, is to sum up the best performances of the show according to our own personal and (yes) biased opinion (#haters).
It was clear tat big losers of the night we’re those countries who didn’t come. Albania of course is an exception as Eugene and RTSH seem to have an internal dispute at the moment and the Albanian artist cancelled all of his promo tour. In the meantime organisers were surprisingly wondering why Greece and Cyprus didn’t manage to attend, raising questions and lots of gossip behind the scenes. The big question was the refusal of Cyprus’ entrant, Eleni Foureira, who has close ties with Doron Medal since her composed for her great hits and she is the one who managed to create a fuzz in Greece by performing a cover of “Golden Boy” in Greek. It was a huge surprise we didn’t see Malta and Norway in the line up and it seems that those two countries lost a lot of media attention by skipping this event.
In terms of the 25 performances it was clear for us that Armenia, Serbia, Lithuania, Latvia were among those acts who didn’t manage to get through the public. It is also a fact that no one cared about the San Marino entry. It was funny to see how people still confuse the French entry title “Mercy” with the French word “merci”. Although a powerful song with a strong message, it does;t seem appealing enough. But the amazing thing on the night of the live show was the surprise appearance in the VIP area, of the 2016 French entrant, Amir (Instagram photo coming up soon). FYR Macedonia was one fo the fans favourite in the square but didn’t quite manage to deliver good voals.
Eurofans at Rabin Squaree were dancing the Azeri and Moldovan entry considering them dark horses for the Grand Final. But the best performances were those we present you int eh video you can see in this post: Starting with Spain and the kiss that surprised us all (happily) and ending with the amazing Netta who got our 12 points of the evening. Austria, Romania, Switzerland, Belarus, Belgium, Iceland were the best performances of the evening with Slovenia stealing the impressions. Slovenian entry is truly underestimated as Lea Sirk becomes a Eurovision Taylor Swift and remember me when I say: this entry will slay in Lisbon.
The event was about to end up with our departure from the venue through a special passage to avoid any security problems. But the Israeli fans managed to find us all and stormed Netta and Alfred with Amaia forcing the police to intervene. We had to wait at least 30 minutes for the police to stop the enthusiastic fans to approach us. Israel, very sensitive to security issues, managed to keep us safe but on the other had all of us felt like true rock stars. This was a life time experience.
Israel is surely ready to host Eurovision 2019. There will be serious political fight between the cities of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to host the event as both city leaders expressed their dedication to run for the hosting spot. We wouldn’t;t take sides but we truly believe that Tel Aviv would be ideal as Jerusalem already hosted Eurovision in the past, the city of Tel Aviv is the ultimate / promoted tourist destination and the absolute cosmopolitan and LGBT friendly city next to a wonderful beach side. Not offending the Jerusalem leaders and their brand new venue which can proudly host the event, but Jerusalem is internationally considered a spiritual spot for the travellers and maybe it shouldn’t deal with a lifestyle and music event as Eurovision. No matter what will happen if the country wins, wee are sure for one thing: no more Swedish production, a revamped style Eurovision and an open arm from the organisers for more than 30,000 guests to join the ultimate celebration of music.