Israel have had a strong few years at the contest lately, culminating in last year’s win of the contest with Netta and her song Toy. As a result of that win, which was the first for Israel in 20 years, the contest will return to the nation with Tel Aviv the host city this year. This also means that Israel is automatically into the final, and representing Israel this year is Kobi Marimi with the song Home.
Song + Vocals
This year’s competing entry for Israel was released late in the national final, but yet it seems that the song has recently had a revamp. It’s not quite clear to me which version we will be seeing on the Eurovision stage, but for the sake of the review, I will stick with the version posted on the official channel.
Israel have a handful of outstanding ballads over the last decade or so, namely The Fire in Your Eyes, Milim and Rak Bishvilo, and this year the nation is returning to the ballad, which is a complete change up from last year’s winning song, Toy. I think it’s certain to say that Kobi Marimi’s vocals work well with this style of Disney ballad, but I don’t quite think this reaches the level of the previously mentioned ballad highlights.
There are definitely some elements to this song that I really do enjoy, and I think the opening note is one of them, mainly as I think it sets the tone for an ethnic ballad – except this song is far from an ethnic ballad. This definitely could have been more impressive as a bilingual ballad, or even completely in national language. The English lyrics are unsurprisingly cliché, which is what gives this song a Disney feel. Looking specifically at the chorus, it’s terribly cliché but admittedly the chorus is what I find myself singing, and is definitely the most memorable part of the song. The song does build well, and I think it peaks in all the right places.
Vocally, Kobi Marimi has a unique vocal tone, but it’s powerful. His vocals give the song a classic feel, although the music video also adds to the classic feel. His vocals are strong alone, but this song will truly shine with the right backing artists giving him that support. The potential for mind-blowing harmonies is huge, and that will be what impresses audiences and the jury alike. That said, it’s overall not the most memorable song, and has the potential to be lost in among the other strong ballads of the year.
Act + Performance
Kobi Marimi has since performed this song live, and live vocals are certainly not a concern. I would say that a potential concern is that this could be too static on stage. It could be the case that it is staged with Kobi alone, still for the entire three minutes, but I personally would like to see something of interest, perhaps even something as simple as featuring the backing singers, of which I am sure there will be, on stage rather than hidden out the back.
It could be the unfortunate case that the focus has been placed on the show, and hosting the other nations that the focus was not put on Israeli’s performance itself, and we could be seeing something far too simple to give Israel another strong result.
In terms of ballads, I think this is good, but not outstanding. I just can’t see it standing out from the 25 other competing nations enough to give this a strong result, but rather middle of the table or below. The vocals are great however, and this could potentially give Israel that middle of the table result.