The youngest and the cutest (Elissa has made no secret of her crush on him), Said Karmouz is 19 years old. Born on March 29, 1996, the Algerian teenager is still in high school and speaks English and Arabic. Basketball, he says, is his passion. He plays the guitar exceptionally well. Said auditioned for The X Factor as a duo with his rapper friend BMD. The two have known each other for six years. But the good old days of singing with BMD are behind him now. “I prefer being The 5,” he says, and the “love of fans” has been the most incredible part about the whole experience for Said. Still, he is officially labelled as the most nervous one in the group, both by himself and by his bandmates.
Favourite singers: Jesse McCartney, Maher Zein and Babylone.
Favourite songs: Just So You Know by Jesse McCartney, Home to Mama by Justin Bieber, Just Go by Lionel Richie and Akon, Zina by Babylone.
The Lebanon-born singer can speak only Arabic, but that doesn’t hold Kazem Chamas back. The group has reached a unanimous decision: Kazem is the “funny one”. Born February 20, 1996, he is 19 years old and has not yet enrolled in university or college after graduating from high school. Everyone thinks Adil is the “party animal”, but Kazem insists that BMD, the group’s rapper, has some love for a good party as well. Football is one of his many loves, as well as the fact that he’s part of a band. His favourite contestant on The X Factor? “Nedjim. Latoya and I are good friends as well.” (Nedjim and Latoya are soloists in the international category.)
Favourite singers: The Lebanese trio Wael Kfoury, Melhem Zein and Ragheb Alama.
Favourite songs: Kel Shi Hwalayi and Safha w Twayta by Wael Kfoury, Enti Baghya Wahed by Saad Lamjarred.
Born on May 26, 1993, Ahmed Hassan is 21 years old. Born and raised in Egypt, he is studying commerce and business at Helwan University in Cairo, and speaks four languages: Arabic, Russian, English and Serbian. He’s passionate about football and dance, and is especially close to his mother. How does his mum feel about his newfound fame? “She loves it a lot,” he says. Ahmed admits that he tends to get a bit more nervous than the rest of his bandmates, but the highlight of this experience so far has been learning about the differences in culture between him and the rest of the young men.
Favourite singers: Bruno Mars, Amr Diab and Saber El Rebai.
Favourite songs: Ez El Habayeb by Saber El Rebai, Moghram Ya Leil by Ragheb Alama and Rag’een by Amr Diab.
Adil Echbiy has firmly established a reputation of being the “party animal” in the group. Born on March 20, 1986, the 29-year-old from Morocco is the oldest in the group, and graduated from Morocco’s Écoles Supérieures de Technologie with a degree in computer science. He speaks Arabic, English and French, considers himself something of a fitness fanatic and describes the rest of the members of The 5 as “amazing guys”. “We can sing the same style in different accents and languages,” he says, describing the fact as a strength of the group. The first song the group ever sang as The 5 – Mohamed Hamaki’s Ahla Haga Fiki – is one of Adel’s favourite songs.
Favourite singers: Amr Diab, Mohamed Hamaki and Cheb Khaled.
Favourite songs: Cheb Khaled’s Didi and Amr Diab’s Tamally Maak. Instagram: @adilechib
Mohamed Bouhezza (BMD)
The 21-year-old rapper from Algeria goes by the name BMD. Born on January 16, 1994, he is studying at college and speaks Arabic, French and English and can rap in all of them. He loves basketball and kickboxing, and describes the band’s first live performance on The X Factor as one of the top moments of his life. Forming the band and learning how to work with four others rather than with just Said, hasn’t been smooth sailing. “At the beginning it was hard but it’s getting better every day,” he says.
Favourite singers: Eminem, B.O.B, and Maher Zein.
Favourite songs: Written in the Stars by Tinie Tempah, Awaken by Maher Zein, Zina by Babylone.