The X Factor

While I can’t help but notice all the problems with the current reality singing competitions flooding our TV screens, countries like Israel seem to be enjoying them just as much as we were ten years ago. After the ratings success of Israel’s version of The Voice, channel 2 network, Reshet Broadcasting, decided to scoop up the format used for The X Factor and create their own version of that competition. Since then, judges have been rounded up – hopefully they prove to be less dramatic than some American judges are known to be – and the show only needed a host. Since Ryan Seacrest wasn’t available, the Israel edition of The X Factor found someone just as appealing: Bar Refaeli.

Her name might be strange to those of us on this side of the world, but her crystal clear beauty speaks a universal language – this girl is someone to watch. You might have even seen her and not even known it. Refaeli is an Israeli supermodel, but she was the 2009 Sport Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover girl and did a one-off hosting gig on Bravo’s Tommy Hilfiger Presents Ironic America. And let’s not forget she dated Leonardo DiCaprio for five years. This girl has been around for a while, just under our noses.

Her job as host of The X Factor will be her first local TV job. She’s said by THR to be making 1 million NIS, or about $270,000, making her the highest paid talent on the show. Speaking of the show’s talent, the judges include Rami Fortis, a veteran Israeli rocker, ethnic-pop sensation Moshe Peretz and pop star Ivri Lider. Nobody expects you to know who those people are outside of a Google search.

I’ve always known there are international versions of a lot of American reality shows, but I never gave them much thought. After all the drama going on behind the scenes of American Idol and the steady decline of ratings across the board for all reality series, I wonder if the international versions have the same problems we’re running into. Probably not. TV over here is a mess.