Gender Bender: Israel’s Next ‘Idol’ Judge
By Nathan Burstein Published April 08, 2009, issue of April 17, 2009.
‘American Idol” and its Israeli counterpart have both added a female judge for their 2009 seasons, but there’s one major difference: The Israeli judge used to be a man.
Transsexual pop star Dana International has joined the panel of experts for the seventh season of “Kochav Nolad” (“A Star Is Born”), the Israeli version of the smash TV singing contest. Born Yaron Cohen, the singer will become the show’s second female judge, joining music veteran Margalit Tzanani on the male-dominated panel. The move echoes the addition of songwriter Kara DioGuardi to the judges’ table on “American Idol,” currently in its eighth season. Both that show and “Kochav Nolad” proved runaway hits in their first seasons, but have gradually cooled off.