Israeli Singer Kobi Marimi Chosen to Represent Israel at Eurovision Song Contest

Marimi wins finals of 'The Next Star,' overcoming controversial vocalist Shefita; he will grace the stages of the song contest Israel is slated to host in May

Israeli singer Kobi Marimi is announced as Israel's representative to the Eurovision Song Contest, February 12, 2019.
Screengrab/Channel 12

Israeli singer Kobi Marimi was elected Tuesday night to represent Israel in the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, which the country is expected to host in Tel Aviv this May

The 27-year-old Marimi, who hails from Ramat Gan, won the honor after coming first place in the reality television show "The Next Star." 

Kobi Marimi's at 'The Next Star'

At the finals, Marimi stunned judges and viewers alike with his renditions of famous songs such as The Beatles' "Let it Be" and Bon Jovi's hit "Always."

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 Marimi, who says he suffers from stage fright that he struggles to overcome, drew comparisons throughout the show to Queen singer Freddie Mercury due to his overbite as well as his operatic voice. 

The performer who came in second is Ketreyah, aa 22-year-old member of Dimona’s Hebrew Israelite community – African-Americans who moved to Israel in the belief they are descendants of the original Israelites. 

Coming in third was Shefita, the stage name of Rotem Shefy. The singer, who outshone the other contestants due to her controversial performances, drew a lot of criticism for her stage personality which is inspired by Middle Eastern vocals and style.

Shefita was accused by many of appropriating Arab culture, and pundits claimed she would be a terrible pick because she would misrepresent Israel's values at the international song contest.