Host country again after 20 years, the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest returns on 14th, 16th and 18th May, this time in Tel Aviv in Israel. JLife gets the party snacks and the flags at the ready!
For KAN, the Israeli national broadcaster, it’s full steam ahead working around the clock organising and preparing for the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, which arrives in Tel Aviv for the first time this May.
Expo Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv’s convention centre, formerly known as the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds, dates back to the 1920s and saw its inauguration in 1933. Construction of the modern state-of-the-art Pavilion 2, where Eurovision will be held, kicked off in 2010 and concluded in 2015 when the pavilion officially opened its doors to the public. Pavilion 2 can accommodate around 10,000 people and has hosted many grand affairs, though Eurovision will undoubtedly be its most spectacular.
Every year, host nations try to create a unique atmosphere and stage design, and the 2019 is no different. The 2019 stage will take the shape of a diamond and consists of hundreds of triangles. Designed by the internationally acclaimed stage designer, Wieder is back to develop the Eurovision stage design for the sixth time, having created the Eurovision stages in Düsseldorf (2011), Baku (2012), Vienna (2015), Kyiv (2017) and Lisbon (2018). He has also worked on projects such as the UK and US versions of The X Factor and the MTV Video Music Awards.
For the semi-finals (14th and 16th May) and Grand Final (18th May), supermodel Bar Refaeli, actor and presenter Erez Tal and presenters Assi Azar and Lucy Ayoub will have the honour of hosting the main events. KAN also recently revealed that DC’s Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot will be in attendance at the Grand Final, though in what capacity, is still yet to be revealed at the time of going to press. But the most high-profile announcement has to be that Madonna will perform two songs at the contest, to a predicted global audience of 180 million viewers, including a new song from her forthcoming 14th album.
The Eurovision Village, which will be specially built for the occasion at Tel Aviv’s Charles Clore Park is set to welcome thousands of Eurovision fans who will descend on the city. The Eurovision hot spot will operate from 12th – 18th May, and on the days of the semi-finals and Grand Final, the premises will be open until the end of the live broadcasts.
The 29.6-acre park is located at the southwest of Tel Aviv on the seafront and is internationally acclaimed for hosting the annual Tel Aviv Pride Closing Party.
Eurovision fans will be in for a treat as they will be able to watch their favourite Eurovision acts perform live on the competition stage, while both former and current Eurovision acts will be invited to grace the Eurovision Village park’s stage in Tel Aviv. So far Static and Ben El, Stephane Legar, Ivri Lider, Shefita, Israeli pop-rock band Ethnix, parody and tribute group Eurofalsh, an ABBA cover band and former Eurovision superstars Dana International and Izhar Cohen are confirmed.
Giant screens will be set up at the Eurovision Village for public viewing, locals and fans will be able to view the three Eurovision shows live while savouring local delicacies and food at the various food stalls. In addition, visitors will be able to enjoy the sea breeze while sitting at a giant bar overlooking the sea, surrounded by remarkable light compositions, created by the official lighting partner OSRAM.
Carrying on the party atmosphere are some of Tel Aviv’s most popular night spots. The Euroclub will be housed at the city’s iconic nightclub Hangar 11, located at the city’s port. The Euroclub will run from 11th to 18th May, starting at 10pm until the early hours! The Ogae Euro Cafe will be housed at Haoman 17, one of the swankiest and hippest night clubs in Tel Aviv from 12th – 18th. Located in the Florentin district, famous for its nightlife, bars and café, many former international Eurovision celebrities along with local Eurovision stars are set to perform in the club, including Conchita Wurst, during Eurovision week.
Ones to Watch
Host nation Israel will be pulling out all the stops at Eurovision 2019, and their chosen entry shall be no exception. Actor and singer Kobi Marimi is sure to reel in votes with an entry called ‘Home’, a stripped back ballad aiming to lead Israel to a second successive victory after last year’s win by Netta Barzilai and her song ‘Toy’.
The 27 year-old actor and singer was born and raised in Ramat Gan and studied acting in Tel Aviv. He first gained acclaim for his role in a TV drama called Messiah Now, for which he won a Promising Actor award.
Leading the way for the UK is 21 year-old former busker, Michael Rice from Hartlepool. Singing the song ‘Bigger Than Us’, which sounds somewhere between James Arthur and a showstopper from The Greatest Showman, Michael is hoping to transform the UK’s lacklustre Eurovision form of late. Not an easy task!
The Eurovision Song Contest returns to the BBC on 18th May, with the semi-finals being aired on 14th and 16th May!