Image 1 of 16: Arabs Got Talent 2: It all comes down to the buzzer. Those X's that flash red when activated. To buzz or not to buzz! And the judges are being labelled according to their buzzing habits. Ali Jaber has been christened 'Mr. Buzz.' The buzz 'infection' is spreading to Najwa, a potential Mrs. Buzz, warns MBC. The buzzers determine the talent!
Image 1 of 16: Season 2 of the talent trove soon uncovered entrenched alliances on the judge panel (where the real drama takes place). Najwa Karam & Nasser Qasabi as a duo tag-team form the softer touches of the jury and like to see the best in the talent. Ali Jaber in his own camp as a buzz-a-lot Simon Cowell had Najwa remark: You really don’t like very much.
Image 1 of 16: Najwa Karam, our Lebanese hostess, with the mostess, is a class act who brings a dab of elegance to her sound judgement, drizzled with irresistible charm. And she graces the show with the cutest signature comments in her rich sonorous voice: 'habaitak!' – I liked you! Her remarks and repeat refrains are delivered with passion & conviction.
Image 1 of 16: Nasser al-Qasabi puts his money where his mouth is, when the Judge took the mic, and the stage...Once challenged by Najwa, Judge N-Q did not shirk the bait, but bit the biscuit and took to the stage with the flashy performance batons he had just buzzed off. With typical comedic aplomb, he reminded us why he was the Saudi star of Tash ma Tash.
Image 1 of 16: 'Arab Eagle' or Epic Fail? This Syrian bombastic act failed to own the title, setting us up for an impressive show that left us deflated. The mighty bird of prey promised grandeur & lofty flights of fancy, but showed no magnificence by any species standard. The man who'd promised to make Arabs everywhere proud said this was the tip of the iceberg.
Image 1 of 16: This Tunisian circus act paid the price in stitches of scraping through his audition. Performing crazy acrobatic feats, in a breath-stopping spectacle, he crash landed, falling down from a daring height onto the stage. The second timer's determination paid off however. Back from last year, he made it, with a relieved audience & a badge of honor.
Image 1 of 16: UAE barbershop quartet "Sama Quartet" with a grey lackluster performance dashed the jury's hopes and great expectations for Arab pioneers attempting a North American genre. This marked the first Arab male barbershop quartet. The pressure was on, but they fell short of bringing the harmony of the chords to life, even after a second improv chance.
Image 1 of 16: The Jordanian wonder-boy dribbler restored the 'Jordan' into basketball legend Michael Jordan and gave it some Arab Kingdom truth! The boy of 5 got to work with his basket ball talents, and as well as overcoming the odds of height to score in succession, he performed tricks and charmed the audience.
Image 1 of 16: All smiles on judge deck: Maher al Sheikh was the Syrian success story in perfect synch with the music. He went down a treat with his sensational blend of 'comedy, hip-hop, body-pop, sound effect, break dancing, beat-box, free-style dance'. Nasser complimented his hair that complemented the seamless production - the fruits of 12 years dedication.
Image 1 of 16: The Lebanese sandwich man had us all charmed with his words, and just as loud, his actions. The preamble dedication to peace and Lebanon (in the same strand) had Najwa's hopes running high, as the tubby round man took to the stage.
The man from "Lebanon Snack" got Ali's vote, "You dance badly in a funny way". And with Ali on side, he was through!
Image 1 of 16: The 29-year old female Tunisian poet who wrote her performance piece on the night ex dictator Ben-Ali's fleeing did not disappoint the judges poetic passions. Hanan Al Awadi did her bit for the Arab woman, expressing her pride in Arab women for retaining their femininity, softness, and beauty, yet proving to be strong and capable in revolution.
Image 1 of 16: Girls were the big talents of the show if YouTube traffic is anything to go by. Top watched videos on YouTube included Algerian teen Dalia Sheeh, Widad Siri the Moroccon who danced Indian, and the female Saudi rapper. That is not to sideline the male talent. With their fancy footwork, flourishes and crooning songs, men have stolen the show.
Image 1 of 16: I love you, Nasser: The beautiful Moroccan lady Widad, ahead of her Indian dance spectacle, sneaks in an 'I love you' to her favorite judge, Nasser al-Qasabi. An admission that proves once again that ladies really do love the funny men!
Image 1 of 16: Lady Gaga goes Syrian and male. In his performance, 'Lord Gaga X' produced some of his own Lady Gaga effects. But sadly for him, and the Gaga-lovers, the male version did not cut it with the Arab audience, nor impress those hands on the buzzers.
Image 1 of 16: The Chinese dragon band from KSA: We had Arabs doing Indian, so this time a bit of the Oriental flavor of China was introduced into the mix. Saudi band 'Starsilat’ captured our imagination with their Chinese-styled choreography, that found the audience wondering if they were at Chinese New Year celebrations rather than on an Arab talent show.
Image 1 of 16: Judges Jewels have a face-off: Najwa Karam's dragon-set arm-piece jewelry takes on Ahlam's gaudy crocodile diamond encrusted bracelet that had been subject to commentary on Arab Idol.
The second season of the pan-Arab hit talent contest Arabs Got Talent, already underway, has been causing more than its fair share of buzz lately.
Just ahead of today's final auditions rounds, we bring you the juiciest auditions so far. We've been spoilt for choice in creative talent stakes at this early stage of the game.
From 'Lord Gaga' to a Tunisian revolutionary female poet, here's a reminder of what's already passed, whether as Arab talent history or through to the next round. Not without a few judge antics included, in the show that's often just as much about the jury (Nasser, Najwa, Ali) as the judged. Similar to the Arab Idol case, still fresh in our spectating minds, when the jury become as much the 'show' as the spotlighted contestants. Alliances, intrigue, thrilling banter, and ganging up on the harsher judge Ali Jaber, form the back-bone as a Judges Got Talent, to Arabs Got Talent.
The audtions have aleady more than got us in the mood for Arabs Got Talent (leaving us almost feeling that Arab Idol was just a warm-up exercise for this crazy often bizarre talent fest).
With our appetites well-whetted for more to come, let's be reminded why we all love Arabs Got Talent. Perhaps it's something to do with it being more of a variety show than the one-trick singing contest that is Arab Idol. There's something for everyone, and here's some of the moments enjoyed or marvelled at so far.
Keep tuned for more. And don't forget, with some of these audtions, seeing really was believing!
What do you think so far? Any favorites in the judge panel or in the race? Share your comments in the 'Comment' space below.