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The grand finale of Channel 2's Rokdim im Cochavim ("Dancing with the Stars"), which pairs Israeli celebrities with professional dancers, took place on Tuesday night, with over one and a half million viewers glued to their seats as the finalists glided across the on-screen ballroom floor.
The winning couple were Eliana Bekyer from the television shows Ha Shir Shelanu ("Our Song") and "Project Y," and professional dancer Oron Dahan; with Sami Uri, star of the soap opera, Ahava Me'ever Lapina (Love Around the Corner) and dancer Ana Aronov placing second.
The judges consisted of international dancing competition judge Eli Mizrachi; former head of the National Football Association and present manager of Shalom dancing Company, Gavri Levy; journalist, dance critic and choreographer Gabrielle Dor, and well-known choreographer Claude Dadia, who had warm praise for each of the performances. Each couple performed three dances in the classic, Latin and freestyle categories. The winners chose to display their talents in a tango, a pasodoble and a sexy freestyle routine.
Although Beyker and Dahan were only awarded a single point over their competitors by the judges, they won by a dramatic margin of 40,000 when it came to viewer voting by Internet and SMS messages.
In its first season, the show was aired over a period of nine weeks, during which it was the most popular local show in the country, captivating a weekly average of 32.2% of the viewing public. Tuesday's finale brought the average up to over 37%.
The professional dancers were chosen for the competition from a large list of participants in international competitions, all whom have already received trophies for their expertise. The celebrities were those whose schedule could incorporate the grueling four to five hours of daily rehearsals required.
The winners received NIS 50,000 worth of books from Bank HaPoalim to donate to an organization of their choice for the establishment of a library. Channel 2 is planning another season to be broadcast in the next few months because of great success of the first Rokdim im Cochavim. (Web site: rokdim.bezeqint.net)