Before that night, 70 children (ages 7 to 12 from many communities in Hof Ashkelon auditioned for the Israeli version of a American Idol, Kohav Nolad (A Star Is Born) כוכב נולד . Ten children in 8 groups (two duets) from ages 8 to 12 made the finals. They were from Nitzan, Kibbutz Karmia, and Moshav Talme Yafa. Many were 9 1/2. A small group of "supporters" who danced in the background also accompanied several of the groups. They were children and teens from the local area.
It had been the custom in one of the communities in Gaza for the children to have an annual Kohav Nolad competition. When many of them moved to temporary housing in Nitzan Bet, they continued the tradition. This year, the regional council of Hof Ashkelon decided to make it a regional competition, and with 70 auditioning, it was quite successful. The talent was amazing!
The first to perform were twin sisters, age 9 and a half from Kibbutz Karmia.
|Twin Sisters from Kibbutz Karmia|
They were very very cute and fun to watch. I was surprised to realize that they were lip sinc-ing and not singing, but I was told for this age group, it probably was the best as they were less nervous.
Before each performance, there was a short video, interviewing the participants. They introduced themselves and told what they loved to do in addition to singing. You can see the screen in the backgrounds.
Both the 2nd and 3rd peformers had husky voices, stronger than I would have expected for anyone that age. They both have tremendous potential with training.
|Second performer, also 9ish, from Nitzan|
The theme for the song contest was songs from the army bands, so each performer had to choose an appropriate song. There are many amazing songs that the military bands have performed. Such groups have come to the US many times.
The girls that danced in the background had different costumes for each performance. The change below must have been the third set of costumes and more were to come.
|Another 9 year old|
|End of Song--with Entourage|
|Pair from Nitzan|
When the seventh performer came on stage and began to sing, this twelve-year-old also blew me away. I had been named one of the 6 judges (as an honor to me as American chair of the TIPS partnership), and I knew I would have a tough time deciding between her (Valerie) and Shir for first place.
We were also asked to choose our "favorite" performer...and not base the decision on singing quality but just on gut instinct, cuteness, stage presence, whatever. The last performer, Shon, the yougest of the group at age 8, was the winner. He was adorable.
The audience was animated, and groups came with signs supporting their favorites.
|Supporters of Liav and friend form Nitzan|
|Handing Out Gifts to the Finalists|
|The Winner--Valerie from Moshav Talmeh Yaffeh|
First Place: Valerie from Talmeh Yaffeh ולרי דבורקין- תלמי יפה
Second Place: Shir from Nitzan שירי יפרח- ניצן
Third Place: Sapir from Talmeh Yaffeh ספיר קסר-- תלמי יפה
Congratuations to all the participants. They were wonderful!!