Kobi Marimi was chosen to represent Israel this year.
(photo credit: RONEN AKERMAN)
Within 48 hours of its release, Israel’s 2019 Eurovision song entry – “Home” by Kobi Marimi – had been viewed more than a million times on YouTube.
Could Israel be on its way to another coveted double win at the international song contest in May? Well, not so fast.
With all 41 songs competing in Tel Aviv in May finally revealed, Eurovision fans around the globe are descending – judging, ranking, rating and trying to guess who will take home the coveted glass microphone this year.
On the official Eurovision channel, “Home” has been viewed less than 300,000 times, significantly less than many other competitors this year. The million views on YouTube come from the video uploaded to KAN’s channel, which is geared toward Israelis – and countries can’t vote for themselves.
But YouTube views are far from the whole story. And after “Home” was released this week, Eurovision experts and superfans had plenty to say about it. In Israel, many commentators called the song boring, sleepy and melancholy – but fans abroad were more complimentary.
“This has so much emotion, they’ve turned the key, they’ve unlocked that inner psychotherapist because he’s so in touch with his emotions,” said William Lee Adams of the popular wiwibloggs site. “The song is really beautiful... it’s classical,” he added. “I think this exceeds many people’s expectations.”
But while Adams gave his stamp of approval, he tempered his praise: “We’re not going for the win here, are we. We’re just trying to do something nice for the home crowd. But this is nice for Europe. This is nice for the world.”
Matt Friedrichs of the ESCUnited YouTube channel was also emotionally moved by the song.
“It’s so powerful... so different from last year,” he said. “The message is so powerful and strong... I’m blown away from this right now.” But he admitted that “Home” is likely to be a polarizing song for voters.
“This is not a safe choice and I know that a lot of people will hate this,” he said. “I do think it’s an acquired taste.”
ESCTips.com, meanwhile, said that “Home” is “the sort of song a host nation sends to Eurovision when they have zero ambition to win again,” and called it “pleasant if not rather insipid.”
But Shady Shae, a British musician and video blogger, was a big fan.
“I love this, I feel the emotion, I feel the impact, you hear it in his voice,” he said. “He has a great voice, now he just has to pull it off on stage.”
There might be two months until the competition kicks off in Tel Aviv, but the predictions for this year’s winner are well underway. As of Thursday afternoon, the EurovisionWorld betting chart ranked Israel in 17th place, while OddsChecker placed it in 26th place. As host city, Israel will not participate in a semi-final this year, which means the worst place it could possibly finish is 26th. Last year, almost from the moment it was released, Netta Barzilai’s “Toy” was among the top-ranked songs on the betting sites.
Who seems to have the best odds this year? Both sites rank the Netherlands, Russia and Sweden as the top three contenders.
But you’ll just have to tune it on May 18 to find out the winner.
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