'X Factor Israel' Ends First Season With Big Ratings

2:56 AM PST 01/15/2014 by David Caspi
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Bar Refaeli

The season average for the local version of the music competition created by Simon Cowell outperformed the ratings for Israeli hit format "Rising Star," while the latter had a bigger finale.

The finale of the inaugural season of Simon Cowell's The X Factor in Israel concluded on Tuesday night with big numbers.

The show on commercial TV network Channel 2 came in about 2 percent shy of the final episode of hot Israeli format Rising Star three weeks ago.

However, the season average for the Syco Entertainment format, which launched in Israel in late October, came in slightly above Rising Star from Keshet Broadcasting. Star, slated to launch in the U.S. on ABC this summer, has been one of the hot TV formats in recent months, selling to multiple major territories, including the U.K. and Spain.

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The X Factor Israel finale drew an average of 1.04 million viewers, a household share of 55.7 percent. In comparison, the final episode of Rising Star had attracted an average of 1.12 million viewers and a share of 58 percent on Dec. 24. The two shows were in a heated race for attention in Israel in recent months.

While The X Factor Israel finished its first run with an average reach of 34.2 percent of TV households and a share of 47.8 percent of people watching TV at the time of its broadcasts, Rising Star averaged 33.8 percent and 47.4 percent, respectively. The X Factor Israel premiere episode also beat Rising Star with a share of 52.3 percent, compared to 44.7 percent.

The X Factor Israel finale saw 47-year-old Rose Fostanes, a Susan Boyle-esque immigrant from the Philippines who cares for the elderly at a Tel Aviv retirement facility, take the crown for the group of contestants over 25, led by Israeli pop star Shiri Maimon.

Fostanes performed Alicia Keys’ "If I Ain’t Got You" as a duet with Maimon and Frank Sinatra’s "My Way" as her solo.

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The finale also included a boy band called Fusion, formed during boot camp week by mentor Ivri Lider. Local TV critics compared the move to the format’s U.K. edition in 2010 when One Direction was formed.

Season one of The X Factor Israel generated major buzz locally, notably helped by 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover girl and supermodel Bar Refaeli, who hosted the show.

The show marked the 28-year-old’s TV hosting debut in Israel. That also meant big international publicity, as the fashionable export already had worldwide fame partially due to her five-year relationship with actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

Channel 2 has two companies sharing its airwaves. Reshet Broadcasting airs Sunday-Tuesday, while Keshet handles its programming Wednesday-Saturday. Keshet owns Rising Star, while Reshet brought in X Factor from Syco.

Next up for Reshet is the debut of new original cooking reality format Game of Chefs, co-created with U.K. TV giant ITV. The cooking competition premieres on Sunday at a time when Keshet is airing season four of the local version of MasterChef.

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