Israelis voted Thursday for 29-year-old singer Hovi Star as their representative at the Eurovision song contest, choosing him from a selection of four hopefuls during a national televised competition.
Star, whose real name is Hovev Sekulets, beat out his rivals with his rendition of “Made of Stars,” which was also sung by a fellow competitor, 17-year-old Nofar Salman.
“I’m wildly excited,” Star said after his win, the English edition of the Ynet news website reported. “This is a childhood dream come true and I promise to represent Israel in the best way possible.”
The winner was declared after voting during the “Rising Star” reality show, during which all four singers performed. Gil Hadash, aged 20, was knocked out in the first round, leaving Star, Salman and 28-year-old Jaffa cook Ella Daniel to fight it out for the winning spot.
“Following success of Israel in last year’s Eurovision Song Contest with the song Golden Boy, which saw Israel qualify for the Grand Final for the first time since 2010, Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) decided to collaborate again with Rising Star,” the Eurovision contest said on its official website.
To qualify for the Grand Final, Star will compete in the semi-final in the Swedish capital on May 12. Should he advance, he will find himself going up against Paris-born countryman Amir Haddad, who will be performing the French entry.