Arabs Got Talent: the penultimate semi saw Judges agreeing

Published June 23rd, 2012 - 04:11 GMT
Maher El Sheikh and Radwan Al Shilbawi for the final
Maher El Sheikh and Radwan Al Shilbawi for the final

With just one last episode left to go before the final, Arabs Got Talent is heating up in a race where regardless of the countless different Arab country contenders and contestants, only one contestant takes the AGT crown. By the end of last week's 5th semi-final, another two contestants came through, giving us a total of 10 contestants for the final so far. A diverting recap on the highlights of the penultimate semifinal to brinig you up to speed with yesterday's last semi: another rich selection of madness and genius from the Middle East.

Something old and something new

Syrian contestant Maher El Sheik gave us more than his dancing skills this round: he outdid himself by throwing in some visual effects on top of the sound show from previous performances. He had the audience convinced in no time.  He used a recording of Sa'ed Saleh's voice in conjunction with the deceased Younis Shalabi. He had Judge Ali Jaber on side for the new visual component, though Najwa Karam needed some convincing. As for Nasser Al Qasabi, he looked like the cat who had got the cream, reminding Maher that he had bet on him from the very beginning, pleased that he had not let him down.

Hundreds of balloons ushered in a child-Lebanese sensation, falling from the ceiling of Arabs Got Talent, onto a stage complete with festive dancing and smiling faces. This was 'Triumff', the lebanese children group, whose oldest member was 16. The group that considers itself one big happy family said before launching into their performance that, they practiced for long hours in order to impress the audience and esteemed judges. Sure enough they reaped what they sowed, as Ali Jaber declared that their performance touched his heart: "The show was lovely, the energy was great..your smiles filled up the stage". The children curried favor with Najwa who advised everyone to learn from their determination and dedication, while Naser liked their choice of music.

Contestant Abdul Mugheeth Zaiyati began his act by climbing out of a man-made spider web. People marvelled that he must have a boneless body. The performance did not mask the obvious effort that was going into it, however Ali Jaber was not easily swayed, remarking that his first performance was better. Ali's harsh words triggered the usual objection from kind-heard Najwa, who scolded, "shame on you Ali, how do you simplify these moves, you couldn't tell his head from his feet, don't put him down". She then directed her words at the contestant and said, "Abdul Mugheeth, you are an important person, don't let anyone put you down". Nasser seemed to back Ali's verdict "I loved Zaiyati in his first performance, I just wish that this time he had more moves".

Rarely do the judiciary meet in consensus on a candidate, but when it came to Bahraini contestant Mohammad Zowaid, they were unanimous in their distaste. Zowaid sang a song by Mika that managed to disappoint all three judges. Nasser Al Qasabi admitted that he had expected a better show, based on the first strong performance. Najwa stepped in line with Nasser, while Ali applied harsher criticism saying that the singing was below par.

The first audition of Tanja Andalus group had secured them a comfortable place in the semi finals. Their second shot at impressing the judges left no doubts. The 15 member-group, ranging in age, and roles seemed off-balance as the children outdid the adults, according to Ali Jaber's review. It was more than just a Taek Wan Do performance; it was filled with fun and worthy music content some of which was by famous Egyptian artist Hakeem. Their performance prompted Najwa to mention the global merit and potential she spotted in this troupe: "no one can set limits for us [Arabs] one can tell us that people in western countries have more capabilities: this team presented us with an international performance". Nasser Al Qasabi summed up the mood of the reception: "you presented us with an excellent show, which was full of variety and fun to watch".

Tunisian contestant Radwan al Shilbawi 'fell' from strength to strength after plunging from the height of three meters, caused by a tear in the material he was hanging from at his first audition on the show. The judges at the time gave him a second chance, by voting him into the second or semi final round.  Ali Jaber noted that the fall-upset must have been turned to his advantage: he described his performance as being of international calliber. Najwa mentioned how her heart had stopped as he "fell" at the end of the performance, noting, "I am happy that the Arab world has people who are persistent such as yourself, desiring recognition". Nasser confessd that the judges had bet on him going far and they got what they had wagered on.

Iraqi contestant Saher Al Saher, played a very intricate piece by composer Franz Liszt, dubbed the piano's devil. Saher, the nephew of famous Iraqi singer Kathem Al Saher, cut no swathe with Ali Jaber, who went ahead and pressed his rejection buzzer. Niether was Nasser impressed, admitting that he doesn't understand anything about the technicalities of the piano. Najwa praised his skills, conceding that he had chosen a very difficult piece.

Captain Abdul Rahman Al Ajeen from Saudi is the first person in the Gulf to practice the sport of Silat, which hails from Chinese culture. This made the team 'Star Silat' one of a kind in the region. Al Ajeen introduced the sport as being an alternative form of self defense sport, in the variety of Taek Wan Do, Karate and Judo.

It was high praise from the fussy Ali Jaber who called the show better than their first audition. Nasser and Najwa both agreed that they could have used some lighting to their advantage more, in addition to broadening their animal choice to go beyond the dragon.

The two contestants Maher El Sheikh and Radwan Al Shilbawi, were able to book their place in the finals of Arabs Got Talent, especially after such fierce competition between the contestants.

The People Versus the Judges

The Syrian dancer Maher El Sheikh received the highest amount of viewer votes, granting him a spot in the finals. The judges awarded acrobat Radwan Al Shilbawi the chance to compete for the grand prize.

Shilbawi and Tanja Alandalus group came in second and third place. A show for judicial agreement, the judges were unanimous in their final decisions. For the first time since the start of the semis, the judges made the same choice for who should move on to the finals.

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