The 16th place of Noa and Mira Awad in Saturday's Eurovision Song Contest's final resulted in some mixed emotions and reactions in local media, toward the country's particiaption and the song contest in general.
The partial success of the Israeli entry, of qualifying to final and then only reaching the 16th place,was received, in general, with disappointment. The most prominent person, who came forward against the IBA's approach to the contest was Yizhar Cohen, who won the 1978 song contest in Paris. In interviews to Israel Hayom newspaper and walla.co.il, a leading website he says: "I think Noa and Mira are talented and they gave a wonderful performance, but for this sort of event we should chose more adequate performers. We try to convey messages and be polite, while the rest of the countries send their biggest stars". Cohen suggests to bring back the open national final Kdam Eurovision. "We should stop treating the Eurovision Song Contest with disrespect and arrogance. I was taught that if you particiapte in a contest, you must aim to be the winner. Either you give your best try or you don't take part at all".
IBA's seniors tried yesterday to defend the way the 2009 entry was selected. "We also failed in the contest with entries, which were chosen in the Kdam Eurovision in the past", says Noam Gil'or, of IBA's radio, who was a member of the committee which selected Noa and Mira. "'Abanibi ' and 'Hallelujah' were chosen in the national song festival, but that was 30 years ago, whereas 'Diva' was internaly selected back in 1998. I can't say I mourn and grief over the poor result. Eurovision is no longer a serious event, although it is a nice platform to convey a message, which we have done. You don't necessarily always need to win", says Gil'or.
Yoav Ginay, head of entertainment at IBA, reacted in a similar way: "Naturally, I am also quite disappointed with the final result. Nevertheless, I know we gave a wonderful performance, so I am confident our mission was successful", says Ginay. "As every year, we (at IBA) will convene to analyze the outcome of our entry. We might decide to bring the national final next year, although this method wasn't always successful either. Last year we reached the 9th place with the same method as this year".
Although the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest did not manage to attractthe media'smassive attention, before the contest, when it did receive coverage, it was notas ridiculed as in previous years. Ynet.co.il, the biggest news website in the country, posted a critique after the first semifinal, mentioning that for the first time in a long while, the contest is truly respectable with 'decent songs' particiapting. The popular local music channel '24' dedictaed the Eurovision 5 hours on Saturday's afternoon, with a live broadcast, featuring live performances of former participants.
The final of the Eurovision Song Contest achieved an avarage market share of 18,4%, with peaks of 20,8% during Noa and Mira's performance and 24% after midnight (local time). This is a rather low figure than of several previous contests, such as the ones of 2002 and 2005, when the average figure was above 40%. A possible explanation is the fact that more than a 1,5 million native Russians live in Israel. They may have chosen to watch the contest through Russia's Channel One, the host broadcaster, which is received in national cables and satellite companies.
Will IBA truly draw sincere conclusions for the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest? It is still very early days to say. What is certain, is that the stock market for next year's entrant has already been opened. Coincidently, Har'el Ska'at, who was initially selected by the IBA for Moscow and had to withdraw, due to a legal dispute with his former record label, released his new single today. Ska'at has finaly resolved all the problems, which prevented him from going to Moscow, so now he is back in the race, only this time to Norway 2010.