7:12pm PT by David Caspi
Watch Steven Spielberg's Niece Audition for 'The Voice' Israel
More than two months after teasing its highly anticipated "Hollywood" blind audition, The Voice Israel finally unleashed its star power for season three: Contestant Jessica "Jessy" Katz, niece of Academy Award-winning filmmaker Steven Spielberg.
The daughter of Playmount Productions president Nancy Spielberg-Katz, the 25-year-old University of Maryland graduate was the very last to try out during the audition rounds of the show's Israeli edition. She was accompanied by a friend and sang Swedish artist Lykke Li's "I Follow Rivers." Her winning performance resulted in a spot on Israeli rocker Aviv Geffen's team.
The self-proclaimed Zionist made aliyah ("Immigration") to the holy land three years ago and has been gigging around Tel Aviv as part of Jessica Rabbit & the Blues Bunnies, a playful homage to the animated bombshell songbird featured in 1988's Who Framed Roger Rabbit, produced by her uncle. Admitting to her occasional errors while speaking Hebrew, Katz mentioned her famous uncle during her testimonial.
Said Katz: "I'm not ashamed of it, but there are people who shamelessly will say it to my face 'Oh, you're Jessica Katz? I've heard of you, you're Steven Spielberg's niece. Listen, I really want to make it big, can you ask your uncle this, that and the other? It's such a letdown walking into a room and be recognized as Steven Spielberg's niece instead of Jessica Katz."
The brunette goes on to confess that she "would not have done The Voice US," adding, "I want [the coaches] to turn their chairs because of my voice and not because I'm that niece. I need to make it on my own, only with my talent, and if not that I didn't pull it off, then I need to work even harder."
Season three of The Voice Israel premiered June 8 and was benched four weeks in following escalating tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. This past Sunday marked the show's return on channel 2 franchiser Reshet, which suffered losses of some $11 million due to suspended productions as a result of Israel's military action in Gaza, known as Operation Protective Edge, including that of the popular singing competition.
"Beyond the economic damage done to Reshet due to the income loss, the loved and leading show in Israel — The Voice — has not aired for over two weeks," Reshet VP of Communications Yael Gaoni told THR in late July. "However, this is one of Israel's most powerful TV brands, so obviously its return to the screen will be gladly welcomed. On and offscreen, both The Voice mentors and contestants have done their best to improve the mood of citizens and wounded soldiers alike."
Watch Katz's audition video below: