Not one, but two major TV singing competitions will launch this month. It was only last week that Arab Idol’s press conference was held in Dubai to launch Season 2  – now, the producers of the new look X Factor Arabia have announced that the show will kick off on February 21.
Featuring the crème de la crème of stars from the Middle East, X Factor Arabia’s judge line-up is probably the most exciting since Britney Spears  in the American version. Elissa, Wael Kafoury, Hussain Al Jasmi and Carole Samaha have signed on to rival their Arab Idol counterparts. Three of the stars appeared at a media event in Cairo recently to reveal more about the show (Samaha was unable to attend due to a clash in schedules).
“I have always welcomed new ideas or new projects into my career, and if they are suitable for me, then why not take part?” said Elissa. “I had known about the popularity of the X Factor; however, I became really enthusiastic about being part of the Arab version after I knew who was working on it. Add to that the big names on the judges’ panel, and I was completely sold.
“I am so happy to be part of a huge project that will find that one talent who has it all.”
For Lebanese superstar Kafoury, he admitted that X Factor Arabia was something “completely new” to him.
“There is a great responsibility in overseeing the training of the talent, not to mention choosing the best talent that’s worthy of winning the title. So it is going to be a huge job,” he said. “I am really excited about the panel as well, because all of us have tremendous respect for each other, and get on really well. It will be interesting to see how it becomes once we’re fighting for our own categories.”
One star that Showbiz Arabia readers will no doubt look forward to seeing is the UAE’s very own Al Jasmi. The Emirati superstar apparently signed his contract for the show half an hour before the filming of the first episode.
“We started the talent search in Dubai, and I honestly feel that it is time to start sharing my expertise with more home-grown talent, and I’d love to see Khaleeji talent from the UAE and beyond making it into the show.”
He added: “I know this programme will be a huge hit with the audience.”
X Factor Arabia debuts on 21 February, and will be televised every Thursday and Friday on CBC Egypt, Rotana Khaleejiya and MTV Lebanon.
By Rachel McArthur