The Xtra Files 2019: We review Israel’s ‘Home’ by Kobi Marimi

Welcome to The Xtra Files, our new series which will give you an insight into what the team at ESCXTRA think of your favourite entries into this year’s contest! Today, we review Israel.

Now that all the songs have been released, we are able to review each and every one of them. Our honest and brutal reviews will keep you entertained until the rehearsals start on 5 May! We will also each give a score out of 10 for every entry, and create an ESCXTRA leaderboard of the entries!

The series continues today, with reviews of the Israeli entry, ‘Home’ by Costa, Dimitris, Hlynur, Lisa, Oliver and Rigmo. Let’s get started!

The Reviews


I’m usually a fan of host country entries, even when the vast majority of Eurovision audiences don’t tend to agree. I mean, Taken By A Stranger, When the Music Dies and O Jardim were all firmly in my top 10 for each of their respective years. Mind you, I knew I wouldn’t feel the same this year from the moment I saw that Kobi had been selected. Since Next Star 2019 ended, I had been bracing myself for a dull, uninspiring and dated ballad – which was exactly what we got.

‘Home’ managed to do the unthinkable for me – dethrone D-mol’s ‘Heaven’ as my least favourite song of the year. I think the most offensive thing about ‘Home’ is the fact that they dared to attempt an interesting musical moment in the intro (for about 7 seconds), and then use that one interesting moment in the teaser clip. If you’re gonna do something dull and predictable, at least commit to it fully, rather than show that you are capable of something better for a fleeting moment. If O Jardim came last in 2018, and this trite doesn’t, I’m gonna throw hands.


I’m not overly impressed by Israel’s song this year. It’s a simple ballad with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Although I have to admit, Kobi is a very great performer with great vocals, I just wish the song matched his talent. I guess Israel is not aiming to win or do well again, which is not strange.


I have given up several times to try to listen to the full song. However, I just seem prone to skip it on the playlist. I of course made it through and tried my best to relate to the lyrics. And I have a “solid” theory now, one of the composers must have lived in a country like Iceland. Because I can relate to feeling alive when the sun finally shows up after a dark and cloudy winter. Precious moment indeed. But the video is a bit disturbing and I hope they will do something else at the live show. I mean, it´s quite difficult to be “Someone” if there are many of you. Am I wrong?


How do you go from ‘Toy’ to this?! Only Israel refusing to host would have been more obvious that they don’t want to win again until 2038. “Counting down the minutes from the ticking clock.” This is me counting down until the long three minutes ends. Dated, crooning, ballad that makes me want to be as far away from ‘Home’ as possible.


Most host nations go slightly more somber than the winning song while retaining some element of the winning formula. I was looking forward to hearing a mid-tempo/ballad with a distinctly Hebrew essence. ‘Home’ is a competent ballad, but sadly doesn’t do much for me. The chord progression of the verses reminds me of ‘You Raise Me Up’, which though familiar, doesn’t feel very 2019? There isn’t a huge hook to hold onto. Does this song contrast ‘Toy’? Sure. Does it represent contemporary Israeli balladry? Not so sure…


Welcome to a new edition of “OH GOD PLEASE NOT AGAIN! WE ARE BROKE, TIRED AND CAN’T REMEMBER THE FACES OF OUR FAMILY MEMBERS, PLEASE DON’T MAKE US HOST ANOTHER YEAR!” featuring none other than Israel! A country that respects traditions so much that they are actively trying to keep the “win one year, end last the next” streak alive. It has everything necessary to pull that off. Instrumentation straight off a rejected Josh Groban album that you forget in seconds? Check. The energy of a mummified museum exhibit? Check.A moustache even Borat could be proud of? Check. A whole lot of bored listeners? Check check! At least Kobi’s voice is great, the mournful and desperate cry of “AA-AA-AA.AAAH” he lets out at the beginning of the song perfectly captures the sound my soul makes each time this song shows up in my Eurovision playlist.


Costa2.5Nathan P0.5Simon4
Dan5Nathan W1Tim7
Dominik3Nick1Tom O2
Emanuel5Oliver4Tom R3

Therefore, the average score for Israel is 3.30.


Israel unfortunately comes 24th place in our leaderboard with a score of 3.30.

  1. Cyprus – 8.26
  2. Malta – 8.10
  3. Spain – 7.54
  4. Armenia – 7.35
  5. Norway – 6.96
  6. Albania – 6.94
  7. Slovenia – 6.63
  8. Hungary – 6.44
  9. Iceland – 6.39
  10. Ireland – 6.17
  11. Czech Republic – 6.17
  12. Portugal – 5.91
  13. France – 5.74
  14. Finland – 5.50
  15. Austria – 5.39
  16. Denmark – 5.13
  17. San Marino – 5.11
  18. Latvia – 5.06
  19. Lithuania – 4.78
  20. Germany – 4.69
  21. Australia – 4.65
  22. Moldova – 4.50
  23. Montenegro – 3.48
  24. Israel – 3.30

Tomorrow, it will be the turn of North Macedonia to be reviewed.

Do you agree with our reviews of Israel? What are your thoughts on Home?

Let us know on social media @ESCXTRA!

Luke Malam

I've watched Eurovision for as long as I can remember, but my interest really built in 2008, after I decided to watch the semifinals online, out of boredom, before the final...I was blown away by the quality of the show and have been hooked ever since! I'm a competitive trampolinist and I love baking. I've also just completed a master's degree in Research Methods in Psychology at University College London.
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