The Israeli selection includes 3 rounds this year:
- The longest path was the new season of “X-Factor Israel 2022” that aired back on the 30th of October 2021. All the episodes (besides the grand final) were recorded in advance. So the finalists were already known. In parallel, Israel opened the submission window for Eurovision 2022.
- 4 artists qualified for the final of “X-Factor Israel 2022“: Eli Huli, Inbal Bibi, Sapor Saban, Michael Ben David. Each one of them was matched with 2 different songs. 8 songs are included in this phase: “Hashir Shelanu L’Eurovision 2022“. At the end of this round (will be held on the 3rd of February 2022), each finalist will remain with one of his/her songs only!
- The grand final of “X-Factor Israel 2022” will be held on the 5th of February 2022. 4 songs will be included in the line-up. At the end of the night, the Israeli artist and song will be annonuced!
In this article, I will review the 8 competing songs. Let’s go through them, each artist separately:
#1. Eli Huli – “Blinded Dreamers“
It’s a mid-tempo pop ballad.
The song starts with a light synth sound. Thereafter, Eli enters with his stable and dark voice, while he is accompanied by guitar and beat. Towards the end of the first verse, Eli sings it with a louder and lower tone of voice. The pre-chorus is free of the beat from the first verse. It has more “hymn” flavor and it is more exciting. Eli shows us the different layers of his voice with an acoustic guitar in the background. The chorus is faster and much more rhythmic, it is built on a light electronic beat alongside digital sound and a little touch of string instruments.
The second verse is more rhythmic to begin with. He performs it with a special pronunciation of some of the words. The pre-chorus is much more powerful this time and the violin playing is more dominant this time. Electronic beats, alongside backing vocals singing, lead us to an additional chorus. In this chorus, we can hear the main singing part alongside Eli giving us some wonderful vocal improvisations. At this point, the song ends.
I found this song as a grower. The advantage is that Eli shows here some beautiful patterns of his voice. There’s a nice transition from dark ballads to mid-tempo hymns.
At the same time, after watching the entire season of “X-Factor Israel 2022“, I can tell Eli is a wonderful performer, especially with ballads.
#2. Eli Huli – “Nostalgia” (Eng: Nostalgy)
It’s a classic singer-songwriter ballad.
The song starts with piano playing and dreamy backing vocals.
Eli sings the first verse as in a lullaby. It has a slow rate and we can hear gentle vocal vibrations in his singing. the first verse ends with an acoustic vibe that transforms into violin playing.
The chorus starts slowly with deep sounds of guitar and keyboards playing. The end of the chorus includes backing vocalists singing. The second verse starts with guitar playing and a slightly faster.
The chorus arrives again, it is calming and this time he uses some soft high tune elements.
The bridge is the most impressive part of the song: it is rich melody wisely, with a kind of orchestra: violin, guitar and piano. His voice fades in different colors until it disappears. Thereafter, the chorus comes once again, this time he sings it with more intention and higher tune of voice.
This is a song that screams “a singer-song writer that is faithful to himself”.
I’m sure Eli will look comfortable while performing it. However, even though I’m a ballad lover, it still lacks something. Maybe more fearlessness and courage in the verses.
#1. Inbal Bibi – Zaza (English: Moving)
It’s a dance pop song.
The song starts with a short instrumental part composed of digital production.
Thereafter, Inbal sings with her sweet and gentle voice. In the background, we can hear electronic keyboards. Pre-chorus is more upbeat and faster, it has a festive atmosphere and a drum beat decorates the melody. The chorus breaks into a different direction, one can think it is a part of a powerballad. Melody is airier and gives the focus to her magnifiant voice. Another melody change comes, now it is like a fast singing with a rhythmic beat and lyrics in Hebrew which mean “I’m moving from day to day”. This part is more trap-pop in its style.
The second verse starts almost without any significant melody, but thereafter we can hear the familiar beat from previously. The second verse includes some backing vocals with effects. The pre-chorus is shorter but more powerful this time. Inbal shows us again what an excellent vocalist she is. The chorus arrives once again. The chorus moves between percussion playing and quick keyboard playing. Those 2 components are untied to the eastern oriental melody that’s based on violin playing. But don’t let it confuse you: Inbal still gives everything while her voice overcomes this strong melody.
The song is composed of several styles and genres. Nevertheless, they are well arranged and live together in harmony. I think the strongest part is the pre-hours which puts Inbal’s voice in the center.
Inbal delivers it and the whole package sounds promising. I’m just afraid that the “hook” in the chorus may ruin some listeners experience. I can find some similarities between this song and some songs that have already been in the Israeli selection/ Eurovision itself. Consider the mixture of pop and oriental elements we can mention: “Golden Boy”, “Roots” and more.
#2. Inbal Bibi – Marionette
It’s a power ballad.
The song starts with piano playing and some humming by Inbal.
The first verse is simple and based on a gentle digital sample and piano playing. We can hear some high notes that are performed in a high and thin voice. The pre-chorus follows the same melody as in the first verse, but Inbal’s singing is different this time – faster and with a lower tone of voice.
Pre-chorus repeats on the same line, but each time is “modulated” in a higher key.
The chorus is very emotional and powerful. There will be no listeners that can stay indifferent to this piece. She uses impressively long high notes. The melody is based on drum playing. Towards the end, we can hear oriental violin playing that are digitally processed in a way that makes it stand out.
After a short instrumental part, we can hear the introduction and some humming again.
The second verse is shorter and and namely based on keyboards playing. The pre-chorus arrives again and creates a build-up for the chorus. The chorus breaks another record with the divine and powerful voice Inbal suggests. The bridge is calmer and includes some backing vocalists singing. The last part of the song is a mix of the constant part of the melody and some amazing vocal improvisations.
What can I say? This is the way to make an amazing power ballad. It is diverse and not flat at all. Vocally, it sounds amazing and the production is on point.
With the right staging, it can be a wonderful entry for Israel!
Let me finish by saying that Inbal is made of the same material as well-known successful singers, Zara Larsson for example.
Michael Ben David
#1. Michael Ben David – “Don’t“
It’s a mid-tempo pop power ballad.
The song starts with an introduction that’s composed of piano playing alongside 1980’s beat. Michael opens the song with a gentle voice and basic acoustic guitar accompanying him. The second part of the verse is faster. The melody starts with an electric guitar, moving on to piano playing and we can even hear some violin moments. Pre-chorus is more energetic, Michel stretches his voice limits, while the production gets intense until it transforms into an electronic dance beat. Pre-recorded and digitally processed backing vocals lead us to the chorus. The chorus relies on the same beat and on keyboards playing. The second verse starts in a similar way to the first one, with acoustic guitar. Thereafter, Michael uses some vocal decorating while it gets more upbeat. The chorus arrives again with strong vocals and an electronic beat. At this time, we have an instrumental part which is namely based on a sampling of drum beat and dance club beat. The bridge starts with a more personal attitude towards singing. Michael sings the upbeat chorus while having backing vocals in the background.
The song has meaningful lyrics. Michael tries his best while singing. However, for me the song is dated. In my opinion, the song is dated, with electro dance beat parts that throw me back to the music in 2000 – 2005. I’m sure Michael will give a good performance, but the song isn’t strong enough to begin with.
#2. Michael Ben David – “I Am (I.M)“
It’s a dance club pop song with Cabaret and ethnic elements.
The song starts with solo singing in the flavor of soul.
It turns into cabaret pop style with trumpet singing.
After the introduction, there’s an instrumental part of electonic keyboards. Backing vocals lead us to the first verse. Michael sings the first verse with sasiness and self confidence. The same beat builds the first verse. The lyrics in the first verse aren’t that diverse: they namely include the phrases “I like” and “I know I’m”. The chorus includes digital processed backing vocals and a melody that’s composed of keyboard playing. Michal ends it with impressive vocal decorating. There’s a dance club beat that becomes an instrumental part and it continues with singing part of the first verse.
The second verse is more trap-pop with very fast singing that limits with rap, although it isn’t. The melody is this part relies on the electronic beat and some male backing vocals.
Afterwards, it transforms into Middle Eastern pop with Darbuka and string instruments.
There’s a female backing vocalist that supports this part. I feel this part is a little bit forced, and was included just to give the song some ethnic motives. The chorus arrives again with impressive vocals. There’s a kind of “dramatic pause” in the melody and afterwards it keeps on with the same melody.
The last part of the song feels like an improvisation, or just a trial to complete the song to the “required” almost 3 minutes.
I’m not impressed by the song. It feels like cliche. The song creators have tried to tick too many boxes here at once. The most memorable thing is the electronic beat itself. It could have been more modern, but I get the same vibes here as some songs in national selection from 2008 – 2010.
Regarding the performance, I believe Michael will give his all, and maybe too more.
#1. Sapir Saban – “Breaking My Own Walls“
It’s a power ballad.
The song starts with backing vocals and piano playing.
Sapir opens the song with her low voice. The melody is based on piano playing, while we can hear some wind instruments in the background. The first verse is short, oriental string instruments lead us to the pre-chorus. In the pre-chorus, Sapir sings in a higher tune of voice, while the melody is based on more ethnic elements but the basis is still the piano. The chorus starts with calming singing and it little by little Sapir reveals aditinoa sides of her voice. She uses long notes with her unique stamp.
The second verse comes after a very short instrumental part. This time, the melody is based more on string instruments. This part is a little bit more oriental. She sings it with a loud and stable voice.
The chorus comes more powerful: it starts with a pre-chorus that’s namely based on vocals.
The instrumental part that comes after the chorus is the harmony of violin playing and keyboards.
Sapir sings the bridge in a soft and pleasant voice that explodes into her unique way of singing.
The song ends out of the blue.
Personally, I prefer hearing Sapir singing in Hebrew. However, the melody is rich, and it looks like she is connected to the text. I think that with some tiny works on the pronunciation, she can improve it even more.
#2.Sapir Saban – “Head Up“
It’s an oriental pop song.
The song starts with an auto-tune effect over Sapir’s voice. At the beginning, the melody is based on keyboards. Sapir starts the singing effortlessly. This time we get more ethnic elements in a very early stage of the song. The first verse isn’t memorable enough. Very fast, we got the chorus. The chorus is upbeat and festive, we can hear some vocal effects. The melody is based on violin playing, electronic keyboard playing and backing vocals. They are all joined by electronic beats. I find the chorus over-produced, as sometimes it is difficult to understand the sung words.
An instrumental part leads us to the second verse. The instrumental part is composed of a rhythmic beat and string instruments. Thereafter, comes the second verse. In contrast to the first verse, it is upbeat. Sapir uses her unique vocal decorations, and sometimes she does it too much.
The chorus arrives and it is the very same as the previous time.
Afterwards, there’s a transition part where Spair and backing vocals sing “Merimot Halayla” (which can be translated into “celebrating tonight” in LGBT slang). The oriental vibe continues with the beat until the song ends.
What can I say? This song disappointed me a little bit. Sapir has a a lot of potential as a singer.
But some things bother me here: First of all, the sound effects make it way too produced. I don’t get why they chose to do so, as Sapir isn’t a performer that should hide her voice. Second of all, there are some non-vital parts in the song, for example the nonsense sentences in the bridge.
The beat isn’t that original and it is one of the main elements of the song.
My personal Ranking
Picking a song For Each Finalist
- Inbal Bibi – Marionette (but both of them are really good!)
- Eli Huli – I have a conflict here, as one song (“Nostalgy”) is more of Eli’s style, while the other song can impress more if Eli finds it comfortable to perform
- Sapir Saban – Breaking My Own Walls – This song gives a better place to her voice and her abilities to excite the listener.
- Michael Ben David – I tend to choose the ballad, but I know it will be less effective for the listeners. So I’d say ” I.M”.
- Inbal Bibi – Marionette
- Inbal Bibi – ZAZA
- Eli Huli – Blinded Dreamers
- Eli Huli – Nostalgia
- Sapir Saban – Breaking My Own Walls
- Michael Ben David – I.M
- Michael Ben David – Don’t
- Sapir Saban – Head Up
This is one of the most complicated national selections to predict.
The main reason is the multiple-round format.
At the moment, I think it will be between 2 Inbal’s songs and “I.M” by Michael.
In fact, I can see the jury giving their first place to Inbal, while the public might be “torn” between Michael and Inbal.
The full playlist can be found here:
At the end of the streaming, the public vote opened for Israeli fans.
Each voter will choose 1 of 2 songs for each finalist.
Voting is available here
Which artist is your favorite?
Which song do you prefer?
Who will win the national selection?
Israel will compete in the first half of semi-final 2 at Eurovision 2022, on the 12th of May 2022.
If Israel qualifies, the country will participate in the grand final as well.
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