X-Factor Final (Israel) 2022 Reviews: Michael Ben David and Eli Huli

Israel used the music talent show X-Factor as their way of working out who to send to Eurovision. The upside of this approach is also its downside: they’re giving new talent a chance to shine, but also they’re more or less ruling out sending a more experienced musician while this format remains. In any case, given how long a season of X-Factor usually runs for, I decided to wait until we had the finalists with their final songs, and here we are.

Michael Ben David — “I.M”

One thing I think it’s fair to say is that after a process as lengthy as X-Factor, you’d expect all the finalists to have excellent voices, and it becomes a matter of how they use them in their chosen song. This is a fairly minimalist banger, which means it’s up to the vocals to fill in the gaps, and Ben David does this with aplomb. From his expressive opening statement (which sounds like it was meant for a musical) onward, he performs with the confidence you’d hope and expect someone in his place would have. I don’t think the chorus is particularly strong, though: the song’s focus is very strongly on Ben David’s sass, and it remains to be seen whether that will be enough. At this stage, I’m not entirely convinced, but this is probably Israel’s best choice to send to Eurovision this year.

Eli Huli — “Blinded Dreamers”
So, it took me a few listens to get over Huli’s mumbling, which really doesn’t help the listener connect with the song. I’m not sure what genre it supposed to be: low-key EDM? Pop? Mumblecore? If it was a bit slower and less cluttered in the chorus I’d be more confident in saying a ballad. I wish I had some positive things to say about this, but there’s just nothing that appeals to me. I’m guessing Huli’s casual attitude on stage is part of his persona and that’s okay, but the song itself feels too casual to me with its muddy instrumentation, and doesn’t hold my interest for very long.