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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Israel sending Mei Finegold to Eurovision

Mei Finegold. Will she make it to the final? (Photo: Anat Mosberg)
Mei Finegold. Will she make it to the final? (Photo: Anat Mosberg)

‘A Star is Born’ finalist chosen to represent Jewish state in European song contest, which will be held in Denmark in May. ‘I believe I can win,’ she tells Ynet

Singer Mei Finegold has been chosen to represent Israel in the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest, which will be held in Copenhagen in May.

Israel will participate in the second semi-final on May 8 (the first semi-final will take place on May 6), and hopes to make it to the final on May 10.

Finegold was ranked first by a special committee appointed by the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) out of 16 artists who applied to participate in the competition. Singers Maya Bouskilla and Ella Doron came in second and third, respectively.

“I believe I can win and even more,” Finegold told Ynet in a special interview Saturday evening. “I don’t see an option of losing, and I’m not even preparing for it mentally. I am filled with motivation, and tomorrow morning I will already start working and writing songs.

“I would like to believe that in a singing competition there will be a fair and honest selection, and that the songs will be what counts – not politics. I’m not dealing with that,” she added.

Israelis may remember Finegold, 31, as one of the finalists of the seventh season of reality television show “A Star is Born.” Since then, she has participated in a play based on the songs of singer Shlomo Artzi and in the Cameri Theater’s production of “Kazablan,” for which she won the best supporting actress award in the 2012 Israel Theater Prize ceremony.

She will be the fourth “A Star is Born” finalist to represent Israel in the European song contest, after Shiri Maimon (2005), Boaz Mauda (2008) and Harel Skaat (2010). All three made it to the final.

“I believe that ‘A Star is Born’ has generated a lot of talents which live and breathe and justify their existence in our music industry,” Finegold says.

It’s hard to ignore Israel’s failures in the competition in recent years. Are you really not preparing yourself for not succeeding?

“No. I don’t see an option of not reaching the final. In this competition in particular and in life in general, you must have faith in order to reach high places. I am capable of reaching the final and going all the way.

“It’s true that I may be disappointed, but I’m not considering the option of losing. I have no other intention apart from representing the State in the Eurovision in the most respectable and professional manner with a lot of soul.”

Finegold was chosen to represent Israel despite the fact that she did not serve in the army, a fact which has prevented the selection of other artists in the past. An IBA source explained Saturday that “this is a professional artistic committee, which makes its decision according to artistic criteria only.

“Israel has been represented in the past by artists who did not serve in the army, and each case is examined individually. In the current case, the singer was discharged due to a difficult incident in her past. According to a legal opinion, the IBA cannot disqualify an artist based on whether he or she served or did not serve in the army.”

Raz Shechnik contributed to this report