First Ethiopian-Israeli Chosen to Represent Jewish State at Eurovision Song Contest
Eden Alene, winner of the reality show ‘The Next Star to Eurovision,’ during the finals in the Neve Ilan studio near Jerusalem, Feb. 4, 2020. Photo: Shlomi Cohen / Flash90.
Eden Alene will be the first Ethiopian-Israeli to compete on behalf of the Jewish state at the Eurovision international song contest, set for May 16 in the Dutch city of Rotterdam.
On Tuesday night, the 19-year-old won Israel’s reality show “The Next Star to Eurovision,” whose winner then goes on to represent Israel in the Eurovision competition. Her final performance was of Beyoncé’s “Halo,” and she was crowned the winner after a tally of votes by the public and several panels of judges.
Alene, currently a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces, was the oldest of the four finalists on the show.
“It is an insane honor to represent my country,” she said of her win. “It is amazing that an Ethiopian is doing it for the first time.”
She also said, “I want to thank everyone who voted for me, and I promise to do my best to represent Israel with honor at the Eurovision.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Alene on Twitter, saying, “Eden, you are a champion! We trust you to bring Eurovision back home. Good luck!”
Alene, who moved this year with her single mother to Kiryat Gat from Jerusalem, studied ballet and theater and has taken voice lessons. She sang for two years with the YMCA Jerusalem Youth Choir, a mixed choir of Jewish and Arab teens, and was the winner of Israel’s “X-Factor” in 2018, in which she received a recording contract.
Viewers and professionals will vote on the song Alene will sing in the Eurovision competition, and the track will be revealed during on March 3 special broadcast on Kan.
Israel’s last winner in the Eurovision came was Netta Barzilai in 2018, who won with the song “Toy.”