With blue lights in the backdrop, resembling a starry firmament, Harel Skaat entered the stage for the first rehearsal for Israel. Dressed in a simple suit, he was joined on stage by two male backing vocalists. He was also accompanied by a male piano player, assisting with the backing singing for the emotional and cinematic ballad Milim. A representative for the Israeli delegation explained that the purpose of the show is to put focus on the music and the artistic performance, with Harel alone up front.
After finishing his performance, Harel was, like all other artists, informed by the stage floor manager that he has a brief moment to thank the audience after completing the entry. After that he will have to leave the stage within a maximum of ten seconds. The stage floor manager seemed impressed with the performance and exclaimed: "Wow, that was good!" The production has had more time with the preliminary rehearsals, held before the artists arrive, than last year. The result has made many of the competing delegations very pleased already with their first rehearsal.
Singing for his grandfather
Harel Skaat had time to review his rehearsal before proceeding with his team to the press conference.
"This was okay for the first rehearsal. People are very professional here in Norway, and that is the most important thing," he told the media.
The Israeli team explained that the song is about a break-up, but it also has a deeper meaning of loss, especially for Harel.
"It's all about the song. And the face is important, I think that the eyes and the face tell the story of the song. And this song touches me deeply. My grandfather died just days before the selections in Israel, and this gives me a very deep feeling, I feel that I'm really singing this song for him. He wanted me to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest for five years, and then he got to hear that I was going to take part in the national selection before he passed away," Harel said.
In 2006, Harel released his first self-titled album which achieved gold album status after 3 weeks and later reached platinum. The debut album, which included ten songs, yielded five chart-leading hits, including And You, which was at the top of the charts for 7 weeks on all national radio stations. Concurrently, Harel embarked on an extensive, high-profile tour, which included more than 200 shows in concert halls all over Israel. The shows were a huge success, selling out at every venue, an achievement previously reserved for veteran artists only. Harel Skaat launched his second album Figures in 2009 which achieved gold status quickly and was accompanied by a large-scale online interactive campaign. Furthermore, in the large-scale Song Of The Decade awards on Israeli TV, Harel garnered an impressive second place.