The Shmooze

Starlet Quits Israeli 'American Idol' After Dad Admits To Skewing Vote

By Nathan Burstein

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Following a voting scandal caused by her own father, a teenage singer has quit the Israeli version of “American Idol.”

Seventeen-year-old Tamar Yahalomi announced today that she will not compete in the semi-finals of “Kochav Nolad” (“A Star Is Born”), the popular Israeli edition of the singing contest. The decision came several days after it was revealed that voting irregularities had influenced the results of earlier episodes of the show — and that Tamar’s father stood behind the skewed results.

“Although it’s clear to everyone that Tamar had no connection whatsoever to the votes, [she] has decided that, because of the atmosphere created around her … she has no desire to continue in the competition this year,” the father, Dekel Yahalomi, wrote in a letter made public by the show’s producers.

The announcement followed what the Shmooze imagines were several extremely awkward days in the Yahalomi household, during which the aspiring singer disappeared from public view after weeks as one of the show’s most talked-about contestants.

The scandal erupted last week, after the show’s producers and a firm providing technical support noticed that suspiciously large numbers of votes for Yahalomi originated from a small number of cellular devices. Dekel Yahalomi later admitted to setting up the scheme.

Show producers accepted the senior Yahalomi’s claim that he alone bore responsibility for the incident, inviting Tamar Yahalomi to return to the show — along with several contestants eliminated during the manipulated votes.

As with their American counterparts, a lot is at stake for the show’s contestants: a number of previous winners and runners-up have gone on to successful careers as singers and actors.


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