x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Mohammed Assaf won by more than a million votes

Plus: J Lo guests in Turkmen leader's birthday; Saif Ali Khan to take on triple roles for new comedy; Pras Michel talks new album and Fugees reunion; Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger wed.

Jennifer Lopez. Rick Scuteri / Invision / AP Photo
Jennifer Lopez. Rick Scuteri / Invision / AP Photo

The Arab Idol winner Mohammed Assaf won the talent show by more than a million votes. The revelation came yesterday in a press conference held in Dubai featuring Assaf and the broadcaster MBC. While not revealing the final voting tally or who came in second and third place, the MBC spokesperson Mazen Hayek admitted Assaf won by a resounding margin. “The gap between first and second place was not hundreds of thousands but it was by over a million votes,” he said. Being a fan of his fellow finalists, Egypt’s Ahmad Gamal and Syria’s Farah Youssif, Assaf said he would have voted for Youssif if forced to make a choice. “I am a big fan of Farah and I respect her voice,” said the 23-year-old. “Ahmad has a great sensitivity to his voice but if I wasn’t involved in the show and I was a television viewer I would have voted for Farah.”

– The National staff

Saif Ali Khan to take on triple roles for comedy

Saif Ali Khan has signed on for triple roles in a comedy titled Humshakals (Doppelganger), directed by Sajid Khan. The film, co-produced by Fox Star Studios and Vashu Bhagnani’s Puja Entertainment, offers a brand of comedy synonymous with Khan. It will also feature two other male leads. IANS reports that Ram Kapoor and Riteish Deshmukh also have triple roles in the film. – The National staff

J?Lo guests in Turkmen leader’s birthday

Jennifer Lopez sang Happy Birthday on Sunday to Turkmenistan’s leader Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov in a lavish celebration at a Caspian Sea resort in the Central Asian state. J?Lo is believed to be the first major western star to visit the isolated former Soviet republic. The singer sang and danced in the rare performance, watched by ministers, ambassadors and chief executives of state-owned companies, all of whom applauded enthusiastically. She later appeared in a traditional Turkmen dress to sing Happy Birthday, Mr President along with stars from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and China. Ahead of the show, members of Lopez’s entourage were busy tweeting. “I wonder where all my Turkmenistan followers are!? Hit me up!” her choreographer J?R Taylor wrote on his Twitter account, noting that: “The Turkmenistan breeze feels amazing at night.” – AFP

Pras Michel talks new album and Fugees reunion

Pras Michel is open to a Fugees reunion. The American rapper and one third of the seminal hip-hop group performed at Dubai’s People by Crystal on Saturday. He said his performance was part of his musical comeback, which includes a new album to be out later in the year. The release would mark his first album in more than eight years. “I want to make it a surprise when it comes out,” said the 40 year old. “It will be something that people won’t expect and that really excites me.” As for the Fugees reuniting, Pras said he’s always up for it. “I thank God for the Fugees every day because I wouldn’t be here without them,” he said. “Wyclef [Jean] and Lauryn [Hill] are both in a good place right now. So if the time and the vibe are right, then I say why not?” – The National staff

Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger wed

Avril Lavigne married the Nickelback vocalist Chad Kroeger on Saturday in Cannes, France, reported Us Weekly. A source described the wedding as a “very intimate affair”. Lavigne told reporters at a Nylon magazine event earlier this month that their wedding song would be a new track that they wrote together. “We’ll have to release it after,” Lavigne said. This will be Kroeger’s first marriage and Lavigne’s second. She filed for divorce from the Sum 41 singer Deryck Whibley in October 2009 after three years of marriage. – The National staff

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