Netta Barzilai will definitely be there, Gal Gadot will likely appear via video and Madonna has not fully confirmed her appearance at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv.
With less than a month until Eurovision 2019 kicks off, officials from the KAN public broadcaster and the Tel Aviv Municipality held a press conference Monday morning to reveal a host of new details about the weeklong event.
During the media event at the Expo Tel Aviv, which will host the Eurovision
next month, Yuval Cohen, the deputy executive producer of the show, announced that Israeli actress Gadot will be “taking part” in the grand finale on May 18. Cohen would not elaborate if Gadot – who turned down an offer last year to host the competition – will appear live on stage or via video. A spokeswoman for the Eurovision said only that Gadot will “show Tel Aviv and Israel like you’ve never seen it before.”
What about Madonna
? Cohen said while everyone at KAN is hoping and assuming the global pop superstar will be at the Eurovision this year, he could not confirm her appearance, and would say only that “negotiations are almost complete.” Last week, Israeli concert promoters Live Nation said the deal with Madonna had been finalized.
Barzilai, Israel’s 2018 Eurovision winner, will be showing up live at both the first semi-final on May 14 and the grand finale. At the semi-final, Barzilai is slated to kick off the show with a new version of her winning song “Toy,” which Cohen called “one of the most over-the-top numbers you’ll see this Eurovision.” During the finale, she’ll perform a new song that is slated to be released later this month.
Israel’s three other winners will also be appearing during the Eurovision week. Dana International – who won in 1998 – will perform during both a semi-final and the finale. Gali Atari – who won in 1979 – will take part in a musical tribute to “Hallelujah” alongside several other Eurovision legends: Austria’s Conchita Wurst, Cyprus’s Eleni Foureira, Sweden’s Måns Zelmerlöw and Ukraine’s Verka Serduchka.
Izhar Cohen – Israel’s first-ever Eurovision winner in 1978 – will be Israel’s representative to close out the jury’s point distribution.
The Shalva Band, the Idan Raichel Project, video artist Kutiman and mentalist Lior Suchard will round out the Israeli artistic contributions to the international song contest.
AND WHILE KAN works with the European Broadcasting Union to perfect the upcoming competition, the Tel Aviv Municipality is ramping up its efforts to welcome tourists, media and locals to the city.
“For the past several months we have worked around the clock so that everything will come out perfectly,” said Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai at the press conference on Monday. The mayor said that “from the moment we won the Eurovision, a range of officials in Europe have tried to stop the contest from being held here. To our great joy, until this moment, none of these attempts have been successful... if you ask me, this is the biggest victory for us, that this enormous cultural event will be held successfully in our city.”
Huldai said both the city and KAN “have one goal: the best Eurovision of all time in our wonderful city. It might sound ambitious, but ambition is part of our DNA in this incredible city.”
Huldai’s grandiose statement was matched by that of KAN’s CEO, Eldad Koblenz.
“This will be the best Eurovision in history,” he said. “I guarantee it. We at KAN don’t believe in lowering our expectations so that afterward we can say we succeeded,” he added. “After all, better to have a spectacular failure than dreams left behind in a drawer.”
The Tel Aviv Municipality has been working for months to prepare the city for the contest – both for those who scored tickets to the show and those who did not. This includes the Eurovision Village, which will be stationed in Charles Clore Park and open every afternoon and evening from May 12-18, with giant screens projecting the competition live as well as live performances from Israeli stars throughout the week.
At Hangar 11 in the Tel Aviv Port, the city will host “Euroclub,” an all-night after party the week of the contest that goes until 4am each night. And the “orange carpet” opening night event will kick off the entire week of celebrations, and be held at Habima Square in the city.
Eytan Schwartz, the CEO of the municipality’s Tel Aviv Global initiative, said Monday that the city is expecting 10,000 tourists during the week of the Eurovision. In order to improve their experience, the city will place English signs and maps on 500 bus stops around Tel Aviv, operate a 24/7 information desk in the airport, enforce price caps on food sold on Tel Aviv’s beaches and issue English and Hebrew stickers for cab drivers listing the official taxi fares.
“This is the biggest cultural tourism event in Israel’s history,” Schwartz said. “We want to be a city that knows how to host big international events... We see in the Eurovision a once-in-a-generation opportunity,” he added. “If we succeed to create a satisfactory experience for thousands of people, we will be playing in the big leagues.”
The second and final wave of tickets to the Eurovision will go on sale on Tuesday at 6 p.m., KAN said Monday. These will include a new selection of tickets to the grand finale on May 18, as well as cheaper tickets to the rehearsals shows for the semi-finals, which now run from NIS 200-400, with thousands of tickets still available. All tickets are sold via leaan.co.il.
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