The winner of an Israeli interactive reality singing competition will represent the country at the Eurovision Song Contest 2017.
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Imri Ziv will represent Israel in Kiev after winning "The Next Star for Eurovision." The tune, "I Feel Alive," is sung entirely in English and features a Mediterranean pop beat reminiscent of esteemed hits such as Eden Ben Zaken's "Malkat Hashoshanim" ("Queen of Roses"), Sarit Hadad's "Lama Li" ("Why Me") and "Yesh Li Ahava" ("I Have Love in Me") by Noa Kirel. The composers-lyricists of the song are Dolev Ram and Penn Hazut.
Ziv, who sung backup in Israel's previous two Eurovision appearances, will have lead billing this time under the stage name IMRI. The Israeli delegation is building on the success of the singer, who was unknown until he participated in the program and chose a pop and clubby style with a catchy character. Still, Ziv will have to succeed among a field of 43 contestants in the semifinal in Ukraine in May to reach the final.
Israel's last two contestants both made the finals. Nadav Guedj finished ninth with "Golden Boy" in 2015, while Hovi Star placed 14th last year. The contest will be held in Kiev this year, after Jamala won with her political song "1944," which annoyed the regime in Moscow. Ziv can expect stiff competition in the semifinal. There will be many rivals from the Balkan countries and Eastern Europe like Estonia, Bulgaria, Belarus and Lithuania, which traditionally vote for each other.