As one of the Arab world’s most prolific singers, Amr Diab is also one of the most private. Yet the singer decided to engage with his fans through a YouTube competition that ended with a male and female winner from Morocco and Egypt. The winners, Moroccan Wafaei Chikki and Egyptian Mohanad Zoheir will sing live on stage with the pop legend at one of his upcoming concerts.
The competition invited fans to record their version of a favourite Amr Diab song and upload it on YouTube. Entries from all over the Arab world and beyond featured on the channel.
The competition was created as part of the Amr Diab YouTube Academy. Amr Diab created the academy to reach his fans through the internet. His YouTube channel currently has over 156,000 subscribers and over 63m video views.
YouTube is one of the most popular websites in the Middle East and Africa region and has the second highest viewership worldwide after the United States, with more than 260m views per day. Amr Diab’s decision to engage with his fans comes after a long silence from the pop star, who has traditionally refused to speak on important issues even when urged by fans.
The online platform meant that the talent competition was accessible from all around the world and nearly 100,000 votes were cast throughout the campaign since it was launched in June 2012, while 1,000 participants entered their versions of an Amr Diab song.
The final 30 contestants were selected based on voting by the public and received workshops via Google+ with the jury. The panelists included notable music industry veterans such as composer/singer Hamid El-Shaery.
Amr Diab  said: “The public response to the YouTube competition has been extremely positive and some true talents have been found, I can’t wait to share the stage with Wafaei and Mohanad during my upcoming concert. The whole process has been amazing from screening the first video entries to the mentoring stage, and I truly hope that participants will continue to nurture and grow their talent.”
After the top 30 were whittled down to 10 by the jury, Amr Diab selected the best five. Chikki and Zoheir were chosen as the winners by YouTube users in a public vote on Amr Diab’s channel.
“The Amr Diab Academy proves that the opportunities are endless with YouTube,” said Haisam Yehia, Strategic Partner Development Partner for YouTube in MENA.
“YouTube has made leaps and bounds since the original video-sharing platform was founded and users are finding unique ways to interact with their target audience. The Amr Diab Academy on YouTube is the first time such an initiative has been launched in the region. The positive feedback from the community highlights the public’s eagerness for more talent competitions and creativity.”