WATCH: Eden Alene gets another chance at Eurovision

Singer is the first Israeli of Ethiopian origin to represent the nation in the content


Eden Alene, winner of the reality show "The Next Star to the Eurovision" during the final in Neve Ilan studio near Jerusalem on February 4, 2020. Photo by Shlomi Cohen/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** הכוכב הבא סטודיו שירה ארויזיון גמר ריאלטי עדן עלנה אלנה

It’s official: Eden Alene will sing Set Me Free for Israel during this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam.

Israelis made their selection by app from a shortlist of three music videos during a week-long voting window.

Ms Alene’s first performance of the bouncy dance anthem, featuring Hebrew and English lyrics, will take place during the competition’s semifinals on May 18.

Should the 20-year-old IDF solider finish in the top 10, she’ll reprise her act at the finals on May 22. If The Netherlands is in lockdown, the show will be held in a fully remote format with no audience.

Ms Alene is the first person of Ethiopian descent to represent Israel since the  country’s 1973 Eurovision debut.

She once told the JTA: “It is an insane honour to represent my country. It is amazing that an Ethiopian is doing it for the first time.

“Think about where we were when the Ethiopians first started making aliyah and look at where we are now. It’s a whole new world.”

The Jerusalem native was raised by Zehava Varkanesh, a single mother who made aliyah before her daughter was born.

The singer, who also studied ballet for 11 years, rose to fame after winning Israel’s X-Factor in 2018.


A post shared by Eden Alene (@eden_alene)

Ms Alene’s performance of Beyonce’s Halo during HaKochav Haba (The Next Star), a reality television programme, earned her the right to represent Israel in 2020.

She was set to perform Feker Libi, which featured lyrics in four languages, before last year’s Rotterdam contest was cancelled due to Covid-19.

Israel, with four wins, is one of the most successful countries in Eurovision history. Its most recent victory came in 2018 with Netta’s quirky smash hit Toy.

A win for Ms Alene would propel the country into a third place overall tie with the UK, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Ireland tops the table with seven wins, followed by Sweden with six.

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