‘The X-Factor Israel’ gets off to a good start

Show included memorable moments such as when Rose, a single, 46-year-old Filipino caregiver from Tel Aviv, stunned the audience with her rendition of “This Is My Life.”

46-year-old Filipino caregiver Rose stunned ‘The X Factor 37 (photo credit: reshet.tv)
46-year-old Filipino caregiver Rose stunned ‘The X Factor 37
(photo credit: reshet.tv)
While I am the first to admit that I watch a lot of television, I must confess that I don’t watch many Israeli TV shows. However, as I had just finished writing an article extolling the virtues of the American singing competition The X Factor USA, I decided to check out Channel 2’s latest reality show on Saturday night to see how the Israeli version of Simon Cowell’s The X Factor measured up.
I am happy to report that I was very pleasantly surprised –on many counts.
For one thing, I liked the judges.
The panel consists of local entertainers Ivri Lider, Rami Fortis, Shiri Maimon and Moshe Peretz. Each was fair and sincere in his/her comments about the contestants’ performances, and being of different generations and genres, the judges each added his/her own insight and dynamic to the mix.
The show is hosted by the beautiful Bar Refaeli. In addition to being stunning simply standing on the stage and introducing the show, the supermodel added a lot of warmth to the proceedings as she smiled from the wings as the contestants sang their hearts out, and then congratulated each of them after they finished.
As for the contestants themselves, they were well worth watching. I generally don’t watch Israeli talent competitions because I assume that the contenders sing Hebrew songs that I am not familiar with and don’t relate to. However, such was not the case on this show. Auditioning in front of an audience of thousands at the Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv, many of the contestants sang in English, and one even sang in Spanish.
The competition is open to contestants of all ages. Once the frontrunners are selected, they will be divided into four categories – boys, girls, over 25s and groups. In the debut show, there were some very impressive people vying to receive at least three votes from the judges to allow them to carry on to the next round.
For me, one of the most memorable contestants was a woman named Rose. A single, 46-year-old Filipino caregiver who lives in Tel Aviv, the short, stocky, unassuming woman walked onto the stage in jeans and a jersey. Like Josh Krajcik from Season 1 of The Factor USA, no one was expecting much from her.
But wow, when she started to sing the powerful ballad “This Is My Life,” the judges and the audience were stunned. Rose did not just knock it out of the park, she knocked it out of Nokia Stadium.
As Shiri Maimon commented (and I was thinking the same thing), “It sounded like there was a CD playing. It was perfect!” Another memorable act was a large group of young men called Kippalive. Dancing up a storm as they rendered and harmonized the upbeat “I Believe I Can Fly,” they too got a solid four thumbs up from the judges. (See box) So The X Factor Israel has gotten off to a flying start. I am now a fan and am looking forward to next week to see who else will knock our socks off.
X Factor Israel airs tonight on Channel 2 at 9 p.m.