Noa Kirel, 21, one of Israel’s top singers and performers, will represent the Jewish state in the Eurovision Song Contest 2023, which comprises two semi-finals and a final in May.
A panel of experts was charged with choosing the performer that would represent Israel, in contrast to years prior, when the selection occurred through an Israeli reality TV show resembling “American Idol.”
The expert committee consisted of members of Israel’s public broadcasting company Kan among others. They picked Kirel out of 78 potential candidates “with rich and proven experience in standing in front of a large audience,” according to a statement.
“We received the news with complete surprise. We are happy and thankful for the choice of Noa and are proud to represent the State of Israel with dignity,” said Kirel’s representatives.
Like most of her peers, Kirel, who we named as No. 20 of the top 22 Israelis to watch in 2022, served in the Israel Defense Forces. She was released in February this year, after completing her two-year service. Also an actress and a television host, Kirel is one of the biggest pop stars in Israel.
She dominated the local charts at only 14 years old with her breakout hit “Killer.” In 2018, she joined the X Factor Israel panel of judges, the youngest judge in the show’s history.
Though Kirel usually sings in Hebrew, some of her more recent songs are in English, in a bid to jumpstart an international career.
Eurovision is an international singing contest organized by the European Broadcasting Union; each country submits one song to compete for the title and top honors.
The primary highlight of Eurovision is a live extravaganza of multicultural entertainment and music. Almost twice as many people watch Eurovision as watch the Super Bowl.
It is still unclear where the contest will be held, since last year’s winner – Ukraine – is unable to fulfill its hosting rights, amid its war with the invading Russia forces.
Israel has participated in Eurovision 44 times since the country’s debut performance in 1973. Since then, the Jewish state has won first place four times – including in 2018, with singer Netta Barzilai’s hit song “Toy.”
The following year, with Tel Aviv hosting, 182 million people tuned in to watch the show.
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.