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Harel Ska'at, Din Din Aviv, Hadag Nachash, Idan Yaniv and Lior Detoker, and Hagirafot all have their eye on the Song of the Year trophy to be handed out tonight at the annual Israeli Music Channel Awards (Arutz Musika Israeli - AMI). The ceremony will be broadcast live on Channel 24 at 9pm.
This is the first year the audience will decide on Song of the Year during a live program.
"It's great that it's the audience who decides on Song of the Year [and not a judging panel of music critics]," nominee Din Din Aviv told The Jerusalem Post. "It doesn't matter who wins, what matters is that the gala exists. I think all the nominees deserve the prize."
Aviv's song "Sodotai" (My Secrets) is up against tough competition. Idan Yaniv and Lior Detoker's song, "Choshev Aleha" (Thinking of Her) which was one of Summer 2006's biggest hits, is one of the favorites for tonight's balloting. Hagirafot's "Gag" (Roof), off their album by the same name, also triumphed over radio rotations upon its release last year. All nominees will perform live from Tel Aviv's Exhibition Grounds in their attempt to woo audience votes.
Other honors up for grabs at tonight's music gala include Singer of the Year (Male and Female), Group of the Year, Album of the Year, and Newcomers of the Year, among others. Again, music fans had a say on the winners in these categories. The public's votes - which were registered on music24.walla.co.il - will count for 90 percent of the deciding poll, while Channel 24's judges had a 10% say.
While Aviv says the contest aspect doesn't really speak to her as she believes in "giving each person his own standing," she admits that the "prizes and competition advances the music business."
Indeed, Music Channel 24 was launched in 2003 and quickly became Israel's version of MTV. It has helped move forward the careers of many popular music stars. It spotlights homegrown talent and gives local music makers a chance to strut their stuff and their videos.
"I like what's happening in the music scene," says Aviv. "The Israeli ear is more open to the variety of music styles. That said, I feel Israeli music is still in search of itself. We're a young country and we're still being influenced from sounds abroad as well as here. In 30 years the country's musical capability will be stronger. We are constantly taking steps forward."