In a bombastic finale on February 6, 20-year-old Eden Golan emerged victorious in the reality show “The Next Star for Eurovision,” securing her place as Israel’s representative at the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö, Sweden, this May.
After taking first place with her renditions of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” and Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” Golan expressed her excitement and commitment to representing her country on the European stage.
“This year, more than ever, I am excited to represent my country in Europe,” she said. “I promise to do my best and bring Eurovision to Israel.”
The winning country traditionally hosts the next year’s Eurovision contest. Israel has won the contest four times and hosted it three times.
Golan, who relocated with her family from Israel to Russia at the age of six and returned to her homeland two years ago, boasts a thriving professional career abroad. Her international experience undoubtedly contributed to her ability to captivate the judges during the audition phase of the show.
This marks the eighth occasion that “The Next Star for Eurovision” has chosen Israel’s representative for Eurovision, with past contestants including Netta Barzilai, who won the competition in 2018. Golan bested finalists Or Cohen, Mika Moshe and Dor Shimon.
In recent weeks, petitions have surfaced in Sweden, Iceland and Ireland calling for their respective broadcasting authorities to withdraw from the competition if Israel participates.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which oversees the contest, has emphasized that Eurovision is an apolitical event that unites audiences around the world through music.
In a statement released in January, the EBU reiterated, “The Eurovision Song Contest is a competition between public service organizations from across Europe and the Middle East that are members of the EBU. It is a competition for broadcasters – not governments – and the Israeli broadcaster has been participating for 50 years.