Bar Refaeli to Host Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv

Bar Refaeli
Tristan Fewings/Getty Images
DEBORAH DANAN

TEL AVIV – Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli will co-host this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv after Gal Gadot reportedly turned down the offer due to scheduling conflicts. 

The supermodel will host the 64th song contest despite an impending indictment against her for tax fraud to the tune of tens of millions of shekels.

Refaeli will host alongside TV host Erez Tal, with screenwriter Assi Azar and newscaster Lucy Ayoub broadcasting from the green room.

“In 1999, the last time Israel hosted the contest, three hosts — two women and one man — hosted the show for the first time ever,” said the European Broadcasting Union on Friday. “After an all-male hosted contest in 2017 in Kiev and an all-female group of hosts in 2018 in Lisbon, 2019 will see a diverse group of four hosts guiding some 200 million viewers through the 64th Eurovision Song Contest.”

Organizers were said to have voiced concerns over Refaeli’s indictment and that it would reflect badly on the show, as well as that she would be too busy dealing with her legal woes to rehearse for it.

Ultimately, public broadcaster Kan decided to include her with EBU’s approval.

Refaeli has hosted Israel’s version of The X Factor since 2013. Tal has hosted the Jewish state’s edition of Big Brother since it began airing in 2008. The first six seasons were also hosted by Azar. Azar and Refaeli were close friends before falling out over Refaeli’s last minute decision to pull out of Azar’s TV show. Ayoub, the daughter of a Jewish mother and a Christian Arab father, broadcast Israel’s results in last year’s contest in Lisbon.

The 2018 Eurovision Song Contest was won by Israeli singer Netta Barzilai with her smash hit “Toy.”

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