By David Caspi
FOR THE NINTH YEAR IN A ROW, a new star was born – Hagit Yasu, a 21 year old military band singer from the missile ridden city of Sderot, won the title of “Kochav Nolad”, the Israeli equivalent of singing reality competition “American Idol”. Yasu, whose family made Aliyah from Ethiopia when she was a little girl, won over critics’ favorite David Lavie, in the show’s most watched season finale in its 9 year history, with an average of 41% ratings. The entire season ratings average was also the show’s highest ever.
During the live finale on Saturday night, Yasu performed two cover versions, of Ofra Haza and The Idan Raichel Project, and took the competition with a 60% margin of the votes. She has been known throughout the season as having a sweet and soft approach and captured audiences with her simplicity. However the 9th Season of “Kochav Nolad” would be notoriously remembered for its fraud scandal. Three weeks ago it was revealed that the father of one of the finalists, 16 year old Tamar Yahalomi, forged votes in favor of his daughter. He soon admitted to the wrong doing and Yahalomi dismissed herself from the show.
The far most honorable first for the “Kochav Nolad” franchise came on Sunday, when Yasu was formally invited to the presidential house in Jerusalem to meet with President Shimon Peres, who offered his congratulatory words. Yasu’s other very lucrative reward was a recording contract for a debut album, which would be produced by leading Israel artist Ivri Lider. She herself stated that one of her favorites is actually Beyonce. No word if Beyonce herself congratulated Hagit.