x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

The 11 acts Hamdan is competing with, and the judges panel

With acrobats, drummers and stand-up comics from Tunis to Saudi Arabia, the latest series of Arabs Got Talent has lived up to its name. Here is a rundown of the other acts in the final, and the celebrity judges panel

Ridwan Shalbowey

A case of never say never. After getting eliminated in the early stages of last season, the Tunisian gymnast returns with an energetic performance that mixes dance with circus acrobatics.

Hussein Ramsy

An Egyptian acrobat famed for his balancing act, including standing on top of cylinders with trays of tea tumblers.

Maher Al Sheikh

A Syrian dancer whose thrilling routines incorporate elements of breakdance, martial arts and street mime.

Manal Malat

An accomplished Lebanese singer who has been performing since the age of five. She has already performed songs in English and French.

Makseem Al Shamy

A rounded artisan. Makseem is an accomplished painter. However, the Syrian is showcasing his operatic voice in this contest.

Hassen Maynawy

The Syrian multi-instrumentalist went one step further and created his own straw-shaped instrument that sounds like a horn.

Khawater Al Thalam

The Saudi magician makes use of light and dark to create nifty illusions.

Manhal Al Jameely

A Saudi stand-up comic whose charming routines have him dressed like a simpleton – but with razor-sharp wit.


A 10-piece Moroccan drumming crew guaranteed to get your pulse racing.

La Hala King Zoo

A colourful Moroccan dance crew whose genre-bending routines mix breakdancing, Arabic pop and Bollywood costumes.

Dalia Sheikh

An Afro-haired Algerian singer who likes keeping things retro. She made it to the finals with a storming rendition of Aretha Franklin's Respect.


The Judges

Nasser Al Qasabi

The trailblazing Saudi comic and star of the comedy series Tash Ma Tash. Having run for two decades already with no signs of stopping, the show is renowned for its satirical take on Saudi Arabian life, winning as many admirers as critics. Qasabi's insights have proven useful, especially for non-musical acts.

Najwa Karam

One of the biggest Arabic pop artists from Lebanon. With more than 50 million albums sold, Karam has been credited for bringing together Arabic and Western pop traditions, with hit albums including Rouh Rouhi (1999), Nedmaneh (2001) and Sahrani (2003). Karam is a feisty judge, both compassionate and quick to show her displeasure.

Ali Jaber

Every talent show needs a bad guy and Ali Jaber fits the bill. While he is not as surly as his British counterpart Simon Cowell, the Lebanese journalist and academic's scowl and icy tone can send shivers up the spine of those performers he deems unsatisfactory.