Israel’s “next big thing” has been selected. Eviatar Corcos, a 20-year-old from Lod, became on Tuesday night the first winner of “Rising Star,” Keshet’s ground-breaking reality singing competition that took the model perfected by such programs as “American Idol” and “X-Factor” and pushed it forward by inviting the home audience to serve as a live judge.
“Rising Star” premiered in Israel early this fall, entering the market along with an integrated app that allowed viewers at home to vote for their favorite singers live and then watch how those votes affect the action on the screen.
The program and its accompanying technology soon became hot commodities on the global television scene, with “Rising Star” being sold to nearly a dozen markets abroad during its first season, including the US, the UK, Portugal, Scandinavia and France.
In Israel, the program became a massive hit, looping in nearly half of all home viewers for each episode and smashing records. Even a sex scandal involving judge Eyal Golan failed to cause a dip in the ratings. (The mega-popular Golan resigned mid-season and was replaced by the singer Mookie.)
To take the crown on Tuesday, Corcos beat out the Gat brothers, a beloved singing duo known locally as the “Singing Rabbis” because the siblings (who routinely busted out English-language covers of American rock hits) are Orthodox Jews and appear on stage in full religious garb.