Arab Idol 2 recap: More countries, more amazing talent
The globetrotting continued for Arab Idol Season 2. The AI team travelled to Tunisia to find any of the undiscovered talent there and soon saw that there were thousands who thought they were the next big thing-- the waiting hall was so chock full of contestants waiting to audition that the show had to stop giving out numbers.
An interesting twist among the Tunisian hopefuls was that one of the contestants who had made it to the live shows on the X-Factor was rejected on Arab Idol. It seemed that MBC had deliberately made it a point to show that she had been amongst the rejected contestants just to prove the point that Arab Idol has higher standards.
The episode continued with more twists and drama. Three of the judges refused one contestant, who happened to be a taxi driver, but Nancy Ajram wanted to give him another chance. When he sang again, the judges saw the light and all agreed that he move on to the next level.
In Tunisia, the Libyan contestants got the bulk of the attention. One of the memorable contestants was a man who was very oddly dressed and when he appeared in front of the judges, his claim was the previous regime under the rule of Al Qadafi killed all the talent. The icing on the cake came when he actually performed and quickly proved to be dreadfully unimpressive.
The end of the trip to Tunisia wasn't all laughs. The last contestant of the day, Mohammad Amer, had an interesting story. In a bit of sad irony, the sweet mother of this aspiring singer could not even hear him sing because she was deaf. This made judges Nancy and Ahlam cry and moved Judge Hassan to write a note on a piece of paper and show it to the camera. The note was to Mohammad's mother telling her what a beautiful voice her son had.
The judges then moved on to the city of Luxor in Egypt and were disappointed by the lack of outstanding talent there. The number of rejected contestants was much higher than those accepted. Perhaps the one shining moment was when a contestant, who appeared in Season One but wasn’t chosen, won over the judges and was selected to move on to the next round.
Finally and for the first time ever, the judges travelled to Irbil in Iraq, which caused a media frenzy with the multiple Iraqi TV stations who wanted to cover the event. In the end however, the judges were extremely disappointed by the level of talent to the point that they became disinterested. Eventually, Ahlam had to step in and motivate the judges.
Irbil had one superstar- a Haifa Wahbe wanna-be. This Idol hopeful considered Haifa to be her Idol and the judges got a good laugh when she imitated the Lebanese singer and sauce-pot Wahbe.
The Irbil visit culminated with a Kurdish contestant who did not speak a lick of Arabic and had to have a friend translate for her. Despite this disadvantage, she was accepted to move on to the next phase, along with her translator friend.