Arabs Got Talent: Second Scintillating Semi of Showmen
Last week's second semi-final of Arabs Got Talent was a veritable variety show of Arab ability. From football ball skill, to a human word-counter, to Arabia's Whitney and lots more to chose from, the judge's were left in a bind, unable to dream of satisfying the disparate Arab world.
The second semi-final run of Arabs Got Talent ended on a Lebanese note with one Manal Mallat - who won a convincng viewer majority - and Saudi contestant Mohannad Al Jamilli, the judges' pick in favor of Moroccan Haspop for the finals. Some deemed the judge's choice an upset with respect to the overlooked Jordanian Mohammad Sahayeen dubbed, "Father of letters" who astounded judges with his computer-perfect 'character'-counting talent. What follows is a recap of last week's talent mix.
Moroccan group Ahbab Family, failed to impress media man Ali Jaber with their show. The group presented a 'song and dance' about the freedom of the Arab nations. the lyrical value of the song was undermined by the unspectacular performance itself. Nasser was candid," Truth be told, I did not see anything different, lyrics are not everything, you cared a lot about the lyrics, I did not feel the show did them service." Najwa Karam, often the partner in crimes of passionate judging with Nasser al-Qasabi, expressed her disappointment simply,"I hoped to see better".
The talented Saudi Mohanad Al Jamilli was able to bring the audience to its knees with laughter with his stand-up, unpretentious act. He even managed to secure a part on Nasser Qasabi's new comedy series with his giggle-inducing performance. The act began with him in bed on stage, grumbling that he could not get any privacy after becoming a famous Arab star. He then read out newspaper headlines, including a reminder to Nasser of his 'promise' of a part in his comedy series, (at which point he was assured by a humored Nasser that he would be getting a big part.).
Moroccan energyball Haspop lit up the stage with his unique comic style dancing, borrowing strains of Aladdin and his magic lamp. He left Nasser less than satisfied, considering that he was billed as one of the shining talents in this competition. Najwa however praised his presentation, not leaving out her catch-phrase, "You are a creative person, your eyes are always on the audience, I won't forget to say that "I liked you". Ali Jaber praised the Arabian notes to his dance that were healthy for the Arab pride in the competition.
Lebanese contestant Manal Mallat managed to revive the soul of the departed international super star Whitney Houston. She sang one of Whitney's greatest love-hits, and our greatest love of all - I Will Always Love You, in a sensational swing-entrance. Najwa Karam added to the big drama by committed to committing suicide if Manal Mallat didn't make it to the finals.
Tunisian child contestant Ahmad Al Treki promised that the audience wouldn't leave their seats during his performance, and so it was. Treki, performed his muti-coordinated act on stage while suspended in the air. His drumming soon had the audience taken over by the ryhthm and mood. He won high praise from the jduges- with Najwa declaring him at the level of an adult, with technique, tempo, and concepts. She was confident that his was not an easy nor imitable feat. To play off Ali Jaber's negative feedback, Naser Al Qasabi returned in kind with "I see that Ali was harsh, you are an exceptional drummer, you are quite confident in your ability".
Football is not just about the goal as they say. And it certainly wasn't for the budding baller Ammar Al Khudairi of Yemen. This football artist showed off his tricks Ronaldo-style with the football to the tunes of Tunisian singer Saber Al Rubai'i. His performance however, did not qualify him to move ahead in the talent tournament, given the negative feedback from both Ali and Najwa, and Nasser's sympathetic comment was not enough to push him through, "I see that you are capable, you presented us with new moves, I enjoyed the show".
Egyptian Mohammad Al Biyeh was eliminated from the competition after he failed to make it to the top three. Mohammad played a double instrument blow-out of his musical beat-boxing mix, with the harmonica and flute, and while Ali Jaber and Najwa approved his performance, it was too bad for him that the Egyptian public was too diverted with voting in the presidential elections to spare patriotic votes for this non-politician!
Jordanian contestant Mohammad Sayaheen surprised Najwa Karam by telling her that she had one million and 85,422 hairs on her head. Najwa was quick off the mark to joke back, "Does that include my hair piece or not", he replied by saying, "do you believe me?" she rejoinded, " of course..... no" (using her typical refrain); he went on to insist," well if you don't believe me count them". Sayaheen has the mind-boggling talent of being able to count the letters in a sentence within a mere few seconds of hearing the sentence. This of course requires a lot of concentration and wit. He was able to keep up with the judges who tried to trick him twice. (with English and with a tongue-twister).
After a heated episode, Lebanese contestant Manal Mallat scored the highest amount of votes, qualifying her for her place in the finals. Saudi Arabian Mohannad Al Jamilli and Moroccan Haspop came in second and third, leaving the judges to choose between them. They plumped for Jamilli, and with that the dream of Haspop gaining the Arabs Got Talent crown dissipated into the air.
Manal and Mohammad move through to the finals where they will compete against Lebanese Maxim Al Shami and Egyptian Hussein Rasmi from last week's semi-final.