ABU DHABI // The Syrian Hassan Baiti was crowned Prince of Poets last night after winning the television contest and walked away with Dh1 million (US$272,000). In the final episode, he saw off competition from five rivals to take the crown. One of the six finalists, the Yemeni Mohammed al Sudi, stepped aside after he received the lowest points from the judges and audience. The competition features classical Arabic poetry and aims to uncover talent and hone the poetry skills of the young.
Baiti received 56 per cent from the total number of public votes and judge points. Bassam Saleh Mahdi, from Iraq, came second with 55% of the points and took away Dh500,000 while the Jordanian Turki Abdulghani came third with 53% of the points and a prize of Dh300,000. The Iraqi, Walid al Sarraf came fourth and the Syrian Hikmat Hassan Jumaa came fifth. The winner was chosen on the basis of the judges' evaluations and audience votes. People at home were able to vote online or by SMS while those attending the programme at Al Raha Beach Theatre were also able to vote.
More than 7,500 poems were submitted to the show, of which 1,000 were chosen as official entries. The judging committee interviewed 300 poets in May and selected 35 to compete. This season recorded the highest number of female contestants, but none of the six reached the final stage. The contest is named after the late Egyptian poet Ahmed Shawqi, whose peers gave him the title "Prince of Poets" in 1927.
The Prince of Poets is held under the auspices of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage. Last night's finale brought to an end the show's third season on Abu Dhabi TV. email@example.com