KIEV— After performing the final song in the second semi-final on Thursday night, Israel’s representative at the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC), Imri Ziv, managed to secure a spot in the competition’s final on Saturday night.
“I’m excited and happy that I managed to represent Israel with dignity, to reach the final and to realize my great dream,” Ziv told Ynet upon the announcement.
“I would like to thank all the viewers from Israel for supporting me and sending me strengthening energies on the stage. It’s an amazing position to be in. ‘I feel alive,’” he concluded, saying the name of the song he performed in the contest. Like most entries this year, Israel's eschews its native tongue for English.
The random allotment of places for the final on Saturday night in Kiev has Ziv starting off the night in the first slot. As he will then be followed by an additional 25 songs, there is concern that his performance may slip from viewers’ short-term memory by the time that voting begins after France’s Alma performs the final song.
Oddschecker, a bookmakers’ aggregation site, doesn’t have the most inspiring odds for an Israeli victory, which it ranks in 18th place on its favorites board. Italy’s Francesco Gabbani, Portugal’s Salvador Sobral and Bulgaria’s Kristian Kostov—who has the penultimate slot on Saturday—have the best odds on the site.
Whether Ziv can beat the odds and become the fourth Israeli to win the ESC—the last being Dana International in 1998 with the song “Diva,” which she performed in Hebrew—will be seen on Saturday night. The competition begins at 10pm Israel time.
(Translated and edited by J. Herzog)