Israeli pop star Noa Kirel has agreed to represent Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest next year, Channel 12 reported Tuesday.
Last month a selection committee organized by the Kan public broadcaster unanimously picked Kirel to represent Israel, but it was not immediately clear that she would accept the challenge.
Kirel had expressed both her pride and her concern at taking on the job, telling Channel 12, “I don’t know if I will do it.”
The singer explained that though Eurovision offers enormous exposure and prestige if she wins, a poor result in the “political” competition was also possible.
“There are advantage and disadvantages,” she said. “To be on the Eurovision stage is a childhood dream and exposure to the whole of Europe.”
“On the other hand, it is a competition that is political. There is a chance I will fail,” she noted.
Kirel told the station at the time she wanted complete “artistic freedom” in writing the song and her stage performance.
She said she will only be Israel’s representative if “they let me write the song and be part of its creation, if they let me decide what will happen on the stage and to do it as the biggest and most ‘wow.'”
The decision to choose the country’s entry by a Kan internal selection committee was a break from the past seven years, when Israel’s contestant was chosen by a reality TV competition.
The Kan committee selected Kirel out of a list of 78 contenders made up of chart toppers and proven musical acts — a change from past years, when relative unknowns were sent to the famously campy competition.
Kirel, 21, is one of Israel’s most famous current pop singers, known for her hit singles “Pouch,” “Million Dollar” and “Tikitas.”
She is regularly in demand at events across the country and the subject of intense paparazzi coverage. Kirel completed her IDF service earlier this year, after serving as part of its “talent track,” performing for troops and enabling her to pursue a career at the same time.
Israeli super star singer Noa Kirel will be Israel's representative for Eurovision 2023
????: Michael Tumarkin pic.twitter.com/sHQhZ5nWC5
— KAN Eurovision Israel (@kaneurovision) July 11, 2022
In December, she performed at the 70th “Miss Universe” pageant, hosted in Eilat and broadcast to millions of viewers around the world.
Over the past couple of years, she has also pivoted toward breaking into the international market, signing a deal with Atlantic Records in 2020 and releasing several singles in English last year, including: “Please Don’t Suck” and “Bad Little Thing.” And while the label landed her media coverage in outlets like Variety, People, and Rolling Stone, the songs failed to chart internationally.
The Eurovision 2023 contest was supposed to be held in Ukraine, but due to the ongoing war caused by Russia’s invasion earlier this year the event has been moved to the UK.
Singer Michael Ben David represented Israel in the 2022 Eurovision song contest in Turin, Italy, but failed to qualify for the finals.
Israel has won the Eurovision Song Contest four times since it began taking part in 1973: first in 1978 with “A-Ba-Ni-Bi,” then a year later with “Hallelujah,” again in 1998 with “Diva” and most recently in 2018 with “Toy.” The 2020 competition was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Amy Spiro contributed to this report