An American Idol like an Israeli rose
I admit it – I’m an American Idol junkie. And watching the prelims last week (which are screened here on Saturday night, a few days after their US screening), our family’s ears perked up when we heard a contestant introduced as “Didi Ben Ami.”
“Gotta be Israeli,” my son said. But the young woman who came out and sang “Hey Jude” with a slightly southern twang, and delicately broke down while talking about her late best friend who inspired her to pursue music hardly appeared to be a Sabra.
However, since then, a look at her MySpace page as well as reports on the Web and news reports confirm that Ben Ami has an Israeli connection.
Her given name is ‘Vered Benami’, she’s aged 22, from Tennessee, and now living in LA and working as a waitress. On the American Idol Web site, she pronounces her name, first with an American accent and then with an Israeli one.
Her MySpace page explains that “Vered” means “rose” in Hebrew, and the page lists “faith that some day there will be peace in Israel.” According to Ynet, Benami was born in New York to a “family of Israelis.”
However, a number of Christian music web sites which list American Idol contestants with a connection to Christian music and values list Benami among them. So who know? Meanwhile, Benami has passed the first round of elimination on the way to securing the final 24 candidates to make the finals of the show. If she makes, she’ll join
Elliott Yamin, who placed third on the show’s fifth season, as an Israeli Idol. Yasmin has an American Jewish mother and an Israeli father.
Benami isn’t the only Israeli who’s floating around the show this year. Among the names touted to be replacing departing judge Simon Cowell next year is Guy Oseary, the Israeli-born LA music mogul and manager of Madonna.
Oseary is allegedly in the final pack of possible successors, along with Howard Stern, Jamie Foxx and former Sony music boss Tommy Mottola.
According to Ha’aretz, Jerusalem-born Oseary has made several guest appearances in TV and films such as blockbusters Charlie’s Angels and You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, and has also authored four books including Jews Who Rock, about Jews in the music industry.
If he is chosen, I wonder if we’ll start hearing some Cowell-like insults in Hebrew next year.