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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 October 2018

The Iraqi singer Sattar Saad has won Season Two of The Voice Arabia

The Iraqi singer Sattar Saad has won season two of The Voice Arabia. Here's the full report from Beirut.
Sattar Saad from Iraq poses with his trophy after winning The Voice. Courtesy Anwar Amro / AFP Photo
Sattar Saad from Iraq poses with his trophy after winning The Voice. Courtesy Anwar Amro / AFP Photo

Sattar Saad, the new winner of The Voice, has vowed to repay the fans who voted for him.

One hundred million people watched the broadcast live from Beirut on MBC 1 and MBC Masr on Saturday night. The 20-year-old Iraqi edged out Iraq’s Simor Jalal, Egypt’s Waham and Syria’s Hala Al Kaseer.

As well as landing a record deal with Universal Music Group, Saad also won a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro and a cruise.

His achievement was shared by his proud coach Kadim Al Sahir, who was also honoured for his mentoring services.

“I am truly humbled,” Saad said in his winning address.

“I would like to thank everyone who honoured me by voting for me as The Voice. Starting from today I am going to work hard to bring back the same amount of happiness to the fans that they have given me.”

It was an epic three-hour broadcast that not only saw each contestant and coach perform, but boasted a special appearance by The Voice Australia coach and international superstar Ricky Martin.

The Latin pop-star used the slot for a debut performance of his latest single Adrenalina.

Winning edge

Saad’s victory is a case of peaking at the right time.

The contestant was solid throughout the series but found it hard to steal the limelight from his compatriot, the hot favourite Simor Jalal.

His victory was down to the tough vocal coaching regimen set by Al Sahir and braver song choices in the final.

Saad opened his account with an old Iraqi folk tune, the key feature being the mawal, an introduction sung a capella, which was an arresting showcase of his elastic vocals.

While Jalal’s first performance was rather pedestrian, his singing did enough to keep the audience and Twitter-sphere on his side.

After Wahm and Kaseer produced a pair of rousing Arab power-ballads, Saad returned to deliver the knockout blow with a stunning take on the Khaleeji spiritual Sali ala’ Nabeena.

Saad’s take on the song, which has been sung by many of the Gulf’s leading lights such as the UAE’s Hussain Al Jasmi, had the crowd – including the Egyptian pop-queen and rival coach, Sherine – on their feet.

In what he described as “one of the most difficult songs to sing,” Al Sahir tasked Saad with the track to demonstrate to the audience the full range of his voice.

“This is exactly what I wanted,” Al Sahir said after the performance.

“You know, the thing about Saad’s voice is that it not suited to sing simple ditties. He can take an average song and make it better, but his true skills lie in these complex pieces. It is through these songs and mawals that he shows his poise and sensitivity, which is what I loved about him in the first place.”

Ocean of talent

Speaking at the press conference after the broadcast, all four judges, including the Tunisian superstar Saber Al Rebai and the Lebanese singer Assi Al Helani, agreed the standard of contestants had improved from the previous season.

That said, Sherine argued the turmoil in Egypt was partly to blame for the country not boasting a winner thus far.

“It is kind of strange for us not to have a winner in the first two seasons of the show,” she said. “What is happening there right now does have an effect. People’s minds are elsewhere at the moment, so it is understandable.”

Al Sahir hopes Saad’s victory will pave the way for more Iraqi singers to be discovered.

“There is such a deep ocean of talent out there,” he said.

“Music from Iraq is some of the most poetic and complex and I hope we will see more of that in shows like The Voice and many other platforms.”

• For more details, visit www.mbc.net

sasaeed@thenational.ae