Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Nancy Ajram. Courtesy MBC
Nancy Ajram. Courtesy MBC

Nancy Ajram new judge on Arab Idol

Nancy Ajram is the new judge on season two of Arab Idol, which will return to TV screens next month. Arabic satellite channel MBC announced the inclusion of the Lebanese superstar.

Nancy Ajram is the new judge on season two of Arab Idol, which will return to TV screens next month. Arabic satellite channel MBC announced the inclusion of the Lebanese superstar in a high profile press conference at Dubai's Zabeel Saray hotel this afternoon. Present at the launch was Ajram as well as last year's debut season judges Emirati singer Ahlam, Egyptian music producer Hassan El Shafei and Lebanese crooner Ragheb Alama. “At first I was a little nervous on joining such a platform,” Ajram said. “But after watching how the show developed last year I really felt comfortable with it and I am so happy to join.

”With Ajram joining, the judging panel will now consist of an even number, a situation remedied with the contestant qualifying if they receive at least three yes votes from the judges. Such a development guarantees to unleash some excitable exchanges from the judging panel, some of which gave the press a taste of what's to come. It seems like the time off hasn’t cooled the friendly but feisty rivalry between Ahlam and Alama.

The duo wasted no time in stating they were looking forward to their on air squabbles.“The thing with Ahlam is she likes to argue,” Alama chuckled.“Even if it’s with her self.”

Ahlam said their on-screen rivalry is not merely for entertainment. Instead, it comes from a deep-seated concern for the contestants.“Yes we may not see eye to eye on a lot of things,” she said. “But at the end of the day, all we care about is the future of the contestants. As judges, that is what we are here for.”

El Shafei explained the success of the debut season allowed for a higher caliber of contestants to audition this year.“ We were surprised by how good some of them were,” he recalled. “It was because of that the decisions became more unanimous during those early stages because the quality was there.”

MBC spokesperson Mazen Hayek explained the programme will not undergo many changes from the previous season, with the exceptions of Ajram’s addition and the judging panels not traveling to every major Arab city for auditions. “Like the American format we sent a production team to some destinations for the auditions before we brought them to the judges,” he said.

Whatever the level of talent, Alama explained, he is looking forward to offering some help.“You know, it has always been a dream of mine to do something like this,” he said.“I have achieved a level of success and the opportunity to give back and help find the next level of stars is something I always wanted to do. I think it is something that a lot of us who reached a certain level must do.”Ajram is not the only new face to hit our screens this season.

Egyptian singer and actor Ahmad Fahmy has been tapped to co-host the weekly program with Lebanese model Annabella Hilal.

He is looking forward to using his musical background to help contestants.“I first started out as a musician and I also studied in a conservatoire,” he explains. “Also I feel that I wanted to show my fans a new side of me and judging from the feedback, they seem very supportive.” Ahlam also revealed a juicy piece of backstage information in that she admitted to signing on as judge on the debut season at literally the last minute. “The press conference and the journalists were taking their seat,” she recalled.“I signed the contract backstage just before I walked on to stage to be announced.”

* Arab Idol will appear on MBC 1 and MBC Masr in March. The date and broadcast time will be revealed soon. For more details go to www.mbc.net


Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Hajer Almosleh, the winner of the last year's short story competition, at her home in Dubai. Duncan Chard for the National

Get involved with The National’s short-story competition

Writers have two weeks to craft a winning submission, under the title and theme "The Turning Point".

 It is believed that the desert-like planet of Tatooine is being recreated for Star Wars: Episode VII. Could that be where filming in the UAE comes in? Courtesy Lucasfilms

Could the force be with us? The search for Star Wars truth

On the hunt for the Star Wars: Episode VII set, which a growing number of people are sure is in Abu Dhabi, but no one can seem to find.

 With an estimated 18,000 comic and film fans having already paid a visit to this weekend’s Middle East Film and Comic Con, organisers are hopeful they will have surpassed last year total, of 21,000, by its close. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

In pictures: Middle East Film and Comic Con in Dubai

Dubai's World Trade Center was awash with people visiting this weekend’s Middle East Film and Comic Con. Here's some of our best pictures.

 Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, presents Quincy Jones with the Abu Dhabi Festival Award as the Admaf founder Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo applauds. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Festival.

A candid talk with Quincy Jones about the UAE, Lil Wayne and the Abu Dhabi Festival award

The Abu Dhabi Festival honoree Quincy Jones discusses his legendary career as a music producer, the return of Dubai Music Week and why he can’t handle the rapper Lil Wayne.

 Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge arrive at Wellington Military Terminal on an RNZAF 757 from Sydney on April 7, 2014 in Wellington, New Zealand. Chris Jackson / Getty Images

In pictures: Will and Kate visit Australia and New Zealand

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge are on a tour Down Under for three weeks.

 A protester gives a victory sign during clashes near Tahrir Square in Cairo in November 2011. Goran Tomasevic / Reuters

Street life: humanity’s future depends on ability to negotiate and sustain public space

Negotiating our ever more crowded cities and maintaining vibrant public spaces are among the major challenges facing humanity in the coming decades.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National