x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Today's entertainment: Arab Idol controversy continues

Arab Idol is causing some religious controversy (see video); The Help wins big at the SAG awards (see our photo gallery); Winfrey and Walters both want Middleton; Billy Ocean still to perform in Dubai, but a day late; and so much more in today's round up of entertainment news.

The first cut on Arab Idol causes some consternation. Courtesy MBC
The first cut on Arab Idol causes some consternation. Courtesy MBC

The Middle East show Arab Idol, the "most watched" in history, according to the show's producer and network MBC Group, is not immune to controversy.

The word "idol" has raised much concern since the end of last year, as some believe it contradicts Islamic beliefs. Abu Omar, who is from Saudi Arabia and describes himself as an "English teacher on YouTube", posted a video on the video-sharing network explaining the meaning of the word "idol", and urging men and women to boycott the show and spread the message.

He uses a number of reference books including Webster's Dictionary and the American Heritage Dictionary to back up his claim and as evidence of the translation of the word "idol" as "a picture or an object of worship". He also gave examples of websites that explore the meaning of the word in greater detail.

However, the news channel Al Arabiya argues that when used in the right context, the word could simply refer to a "role model".

Omar's video has already been seen by close to 1.5 million viewers. Arab Idol is broadcast across more than 40 countries worldwide.

The Help wins big at the SAG awards

Christopher Plummer (Beginners) and Octavia Spencer (The Help) won supporting-acting honours at Sunday's 18th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, firming up their Academy Awards prospects next month.

In fact, The Help was the big winner of the night; in addition to Spencer, Viola Davis received the best actress award, and the big-screen drama was awarded best ensemble.

The film was co-produced by Image Nation International, a company owned by Abu Dhabi Media, which also owns The National.

The French actor Jean Dujardin was honoured as the best leading actor for his role in The Artist, which is seen by movie critics as a favourite for winning an Oscar next month.

On Saturday, the French filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius won the top honour from the Directors Guild of America for The Artist, an award that has also traditionally been a strong indicator of Oscar glory. The lifetime achievement award was presented to Mary Tyler Moore, 75, who as Mary Richards "turned the world on with her smile" in her groundbreaking 1970s sitcom. She was celebrated for her legacy as an Oscar-nominated actress, a dancer and a Hollywood executive whose MTM Enterprises has produced several other hit TV shows.

* Associated Press

Pippa Middleton in the middle

The talk show hosts Oprah Winfrey and Barbara Walters are reportedly involved in a £300,000 (Dh1.7m) bidding war to land the first US TV interview with Pippa Middleton.

The younger sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, who is about to start promoting her forthcoming book about how to be the perfect hostess, is considered to be the pair's "dream guest" for 2012, according to the Sunday Mirror.

Both Winfrey and Walters want to secure Middleton as a guest for an hour-long special.

Middleton, 27, who will donate any fee she receives to charity, is a professional party planner who last year signed a publishing deal to write a book on party etiquette, for which she reportedly received a £400,000 advance.

Fourth Mission: Impossible film sets franchise record

Deadline.com reports that as of this past weekend, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, in which Dubai's Burj Khalifa has a starring role, has made US$571 million (Dh2.1m) worldwide. That marks a record for the Mission films, which began 15 years and four instalments ago, topping Mission: Impossible 2's $546.4m global take. This latest version has revived the career of its 50-year-old star, Tom Cruise, and boosted the profiles of its supporting actors Paula Patton, Simon Pegg and, in particular, Jeremy Renner. Renner is filling Matt Damon's shoes in the latest instalment of another spy series and is currently in the Philippines shooting The Bourne Legacy.

Madonna's new single to hit iTunes Friday

MTV.com reports that the American queen of pop, who is still rumoured to be making a tour stop in Abu Dhabi sometime this year, has chosen to debut a video tease for her forthcoming single Give Me All Your Luvin on American Idol on Thursday - one day before the single will be available on iTunes. MDNA, the singer's 12th studio album, is due out on March 26.

Indian filmfare awards celebrate 2011's best

Bollywood celebrated on Sunday night with the 57th Filmfare Awards. In a lavish ceremony in Mumbai, the awards celebrated the best offerings from the past year with the films Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Rockstar sweeping the boards.

The former coming-of-age drama picked up seven gongs, including best film and best director for Zoya Akhtar. Ranbir Kapoor picked up the best actor award for his role as the aspiring musician Jordan in Rockstar while Vidya Balan was awarded best actress for The Dirty Picture in her dramatic turn as a young actress in love with her experienced director.

Ocean's Dubai show pushed back a day

The 1980s pop star Billy Ocean's forthcoming Dubai show has been pushed back a day to Saturday, February 4. As a result, The Christians were forced to pull out of the bill due to performing commitments. The reason for the date change is out of respect to the Prophet Mohammed, whose birthday will be celebrated nationwide on Friday. The performance venue, The Irish Village in Dubai's Garhoud, has not changed, nor has the Dh120 ticket price. Doors open at 6pm with the Caribbean Queen singer to hit the stage at around 8.30pm. For more information and tickets, visit www.timeouttickets.com.