Noa Kirel: Israel's queen of pop, Eurovision 2023 rep.

No. 50 on The Jerusalem Post's Top 50 Most Influential Jews of 2022: Israel's queen of pop, Noa Kirel.

 Israel's queen of pop, Noa Kirel. (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)
Israel's queen of pop, Noa Kirel.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)

A day before she was scheduled to appear at Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv last month, Noa Kirel walked out onto the stage of the massive park to rehearse and was told that all 33,000 tickets had been gobbled up by her adoring fans.

Overcome with emotion, the 21-year-old singer – who, since releasing her first song at age 14, has made a meteoric rise to reach the upper echelon of the Israeli pop scene – burst into tears. 

The next night, the tears of joy turned into screams of elation as Kirel turned in a performance that would have made divas from Britney Spears to Dua Lipa and Ariana Grande sit up and take notice. The reviews were unanimous: Kirel is the queen of Israeli pop. As one PR veteran who has seen stars come and go put it, in a post showing a bedazzled Kirel and her harem of choreographed dancers onstage: “Israel is now too small for Noa Kirel.”

Other music tastemakers think so, too. Atlantic Records signed Kirel to a record contract last year, and she was listed second on People magazine’s “Talented Emerging Artists Making Their Mark in 2022.”

Now that she’s completed her IDF service, where she performed in the IDF musical troupe, the glass ceiling has been lifted from Kirel’s career. Even during the last two years, she was everywhere you looked – on the radio, TV ads, as a judge on The X Factor.

 Noa Kirel officially announces that she will represent Israel in Eurovision next year August 10, 2022. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV) Noa Kirel officially announces that she will represent Israel in Eurovision next year August 10, 2022. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

So far, she’s released two English-language singles: “Please Don’t Suck” with 25 million views on YouTube, and “Bad Little Thing” with 35 million views, the new arbitrator of popularity in the digital age.

Israel is too small for Noa Kirel

However, as many Israeli entertainers have discovered, leapfrogging from the big fish in a small pond to the huge ocean of English-language music can backfire big-time.

She told entertainment trade publication Variety last year that she’s poised to go global.

“It feels like the right time for an Israeli artist to break through. Of course, I’m talking about myself. [Laughs] I feel like this is the right time for me to do it and to represent Israel in a different way.”

“It feels like the right time for an Israeli artist to break through. Of course, I’m talking about myself. [Laughs] I feel like this is the right time for me to do it and to represent Israel in a different way.”

Noa Kirel

Media mogul and head of the Saban Music Group, Haim Saban – who took a gamble and lost when he foisted pop duo Static and Ben El on an apathetic American public – told Variety earlier this year that he’s on the fence as to whether Kirel has what it takes.

“Noa Kirel is a good singer, but there is no ‘Noa sound.’ I wish Noa all the success in the world. If she gets the right material, she can be very successful.”

“Noa Kirel is a good singer, but there is no ‘Noa sound.’ I wish Noa all the success in the world. If she gets the right material, she can be very successful.”

Haim Saban

One huge upcoming opportunity on the global stage will be coming next year when Kirel represents Israel in the UK next May at the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest. Whether that move is a fast track to international stardom or a red ticket to obscurity, Kirel said she’s willing to take the risk.

“I am moving forward with full faith. Like everywhere in the world I have performed – whether in IDF uniform or on the biggest stages in the world – I have always felt proud to represent my country,” she said at a press conference last month, announcing her participation.

Considering how much clout, notoriety and fame she’s already achieved at her tender age, there’s a good chance that the rest of the world is going to know about Kirel before too long.