I have a confession to make: I watched the entire first season of the Israeli version of “X-Factor.” I don’t regret it! Israeli reality TV is where even the most disenfranchised can get their 15 minutes of fame. Sure, it’s escapism. But it’s enjoyable as heck.
For example, Israel’s “X-Factor“‘s first season featured the perfect Cinderella story: its winner Rose Fontanes, was a tiny 47-year-old lesbian caregiver from the Philippines, with an enormous voice.
Sure, you could point out that when the show ended, she couldn’t get permission to preform in Israel because of her visa status, but we all felt great and inclusive when she won.
Well strap yourself in kids; this season of “X-Factor” promises an even more unlikely Cinderella story, with an anonymous contender — an ultra-Orthodox woman, covered from head to toe — hidden by a sheitel and gigantic sunglasses. It’s hard to find depictions of ultra-Orthodox in Israeli television - appearing and singing in such a public fashion is contrary to modesty laws — so it’s pretty mind-blowing to see one on a prime-time TV singing competition.
“I know it’s a paradox”, ‘Anonymous’ said. She stopped singing when she converted to ultra-Orthodoxy, but said that “it was an open wound”. Before going on stage, she recited an “audition prayer”, which she wrote herself.
Just watch her emotional performance of Emile Sande’s “Read All About It”:
The four judges were especially moved by anonymous’ performance, and she got a unanimous yes from the four Israeli pop-stars (Rami Fortis, Ivri Lider, Shiri Maimon and Moshe Peretz, for those unfamiliar with Israeli music).
But just like any Cinderella story, ‘Anonymous’ (or the Ultra-Orthodox Sia, as some in Hebrew media have dubber her), knows she will eventually have to reveal her face and identity if she gets further along in the competition.
I guess I have no choice — I’m going to have to keep watching to keep you posted.