x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Arabs Got Talent co-host Raya Abirached is excited about the final

"It feels like we are reaching the end of a marathon," says the Lebanese television presenter.

It is not only the performers tasked with providing the entertainment on Friday night. Raya Abirached, one of the hosts, will attempt to take us through the anxiety and tension during what is destined to be her biggest television moment yet.

The popular Lebanese presenter is a familiar face to Arab television audiences – she's the host of MBC's entertainment news programme Scoop. However, the move from the relative safety of a pre-recorded, 30-minute programme to live weekly broadcasts that are two hours long was a major jump for the 35-year-old. She says Friday's final will prove to be both a physical and emotional release.

"It does feel like we are reaching the end of a marathon," says Abirached, laughing. "You really do need a break, a big final to end it all in a spectacular way, so everyone can be excited again when the show returns."

With the Saudi rapper Qusai Kheder as co-host, Abirached explains her position gives her a unique vantage point regarding the competition because she often rubs shoulders with both the judges and contestants.

She describes the mood as tense in the contestants' camp. All 12 performers are presently in Beirut, working on their final performances before rehearsals and Friday's live show.

"They are very nervous and stressed," she confides. "After all, we may be witnessing what could be the turning point of their lives."

Abirached says she's pleased with the quality of this year's contestants. While the first series was surrounded by a sense of novelty, she said the new batch of contestants is serious about making a mark on the entertainment industry.

"We have discovered a new underground generation of singers, rappers and breakdancers," she says.

"We had never heard of them before, and now they are exposed at such a magnitude."