Last Friday concluded the final auditions for the hit talent show Arabs Got Talent, marking the beginning of the final stage that switches to the format of viewers voting via text messages for their favorite contestant. Just as riveting as the fifth episode, the sixth and final round of the audition stage was full of talent, entertainment and surprise segments. The eclectic jury of Lebanese media man Ali Jaber, multi-platinum best-selling Lebanese singer Najwa Karam and Saudi comedian Nasser Al Qasabi faced the challenge of reaching enough consensus between them to pick 48 auditioners to go through to the next frontier.
Judge Najwa Karam did not hold back with her exuberant admiration for first-up contender,18 year-old guitar playing Shaher Althari, from Yemen, who was light on his fingers, but intense with the emotion. Najwa was so captivated that she deemed the two minute segment stingy, and suggested that next time she wanted him to play his enchanting love-inducing melodies for a whole half an hour at least.
Najwa Karam and Ali Jaber's approval of the 7-member Egyptian group, Swaggers Crew, who danced hip hop was not enough to bend Nasser Al Qasabi's will, as he remained un-convinced by their performance. The usually lenient judge flagged his disagreement that they should not move on to the next level. But he was outweighed.
Not skipping a beat
An 11-year old Tunisian boy, gained the unanimous approval of the jury of Arabs Got Talent, after wowing them with his talent of playing an impressive kit of drums. Ali Jaber remarked on Al Teryki's act by saying, "When I saw them set up the drums on stage, I thought, oh no, we have a date with a headache! You surprised us with your talent, bravo."
The judge panel set a record for the first time ever - with the joint consent of Ali and Nasser for the Egyptian brothers Ahmad and Mohammad Yasin, who performed an acrobatic act. This sibling duo did not cut the mustard for Najwa on the other hand, but of course they floated through without the need for her female vote.
The Lebanese boy-wonder Jad Subaih, returned to the stage of Arabs Got Talent's second season, after his failure to qualify the first season round. This time however, he lit up the stage with his hip-hop and rap performance. He astounded the judges with his strikingly mature mix of diplomacy, wit and cheekiness. Najwa commented on his performance by saying, "only stars light up the stage".
Talent versus Nature?
Moroccan malleable contestant, Abdul Mogheith Zaiati surprised the judges with an act saturated with limberness and dexterity - witnessed in his ability to manipulate his body which ever way he pleased. He twisted and turned his legs and arms in bizarre ways, which made people whince. This show-piece did create a bit of a conflict of opinion between the judges, as Nasser and Najwa saw that the contestant's ability to twist and mold his double-jointed body warranted his place in the next level. Ali on the other hand, begged to differ, saying, "I believe that there is a difference between being limber and having a talent; you are limber but I do not believe that what you presented is a talent that deserves to move to the next level."
"You wouldn't think that you lived in reality when you see this show..." That was the caption of the act performed by Saudi group "Dark Thoughts", a band of 13 members. The group used a black light in addition to some snazzy hi-tech lighting effects that transported us into a dream. The act was subject to much respect and commendation from the jury who knew best: Ali Jaber commented, "I think it's a very impressive show, it could go as far as Las Vegas, if you work on yourselves - the sky's the limit!"
Emarati 17 year-old contestant, Shama Hamdan, captured the hearts of the judges with her Gulf style-singing and guitar act. She shone and left no doubt in the judge's minds that she deserved her place in the next round as a semi-finalist.
Unlucky in Talent
Of course, the judges were hard-hearted when they had to be, and eliminated those who lacked the talent. They did, that said, allow Syrian contestant, who goes by the name of "Lord Gaga" to slip through the net and into the semi finals. His audition piece was felt by more than a few to be quite low in talent.
Do you think we've seen the most entertainment in the show in the auditions, or will there be better to come as the chosen talents step up their acts?