x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

X Factor Arabia welcomes new judges

Plus: Tina Fey to work with Pitch Perfect director; Groban offers edge on new album; Courteney Cox and Matthew Perry reunite; Dujardin to return to Oscars stage; New Zealand to remake Thunderbirds.

The Lebanese pop stars Wael Kfoury, right, and Elissa, centre, with the Emirati singer Hussein Al Jasmi. AFP
The Lebanese pop stars Wael Kfoury, right, and Elissa, centre, with the Emirati singer Hussein Al Jasmi. AFP

X Factor Arabia welcomes new judges

The X Factor Arabia, the Arab version of the hit global talent franchise, is set to return to screens soon with a new set of judges and on a new network, the Arab satellite channel CBC. Sitting on the panel are the Emirati singer Hussein Al Jasmi and the Lebanese pop stars Elissa and Wael Kfoury. Auditions have already been held across 15 major cities in the region; the Dubai stop was held on November 6 at the Dubai Community Theatre and Art Center at Mall of the Emirates. Details of broadcast times will be announced soon. – The National staff

Fey to work with Pitch Perfect director

After her hit TV show 30 Rock ended last week, Tina Fey has turned to films. Deadline reports that her next project is The Nest, a comedy about two sisters who spend one last weekend in their childhood home before selling it. The film will be directed by the Pitch Perfect director Jason Moore, while the script was written by the Saturday Night Live writer Paula Pell, who recently produced This Is 40. – The National staff

Groban offers edge on new album

Josh Groban is embracing an edgier sound for his latest record, All That Echoes, which showcases his usual smooth vocals against a more energetic, live-concert sound. “It’s not about walking out of your lane and scaring people. It’s about slightly expanding your lane,” said Groban, 31. Along with covers, including Stevie Wonder’s I Believe, Groban wrote original songs that “emerged from frustration”. “It was the frustration of hearing songs that were maybe written for me after a little bit of success, going ‘Ah, is that really what you think I do?’ Yes, I know the other thing was kind of cheesy, but that’s really cheesy,” he said. The album features songs such as Below the Line, which draws in Latin jazz beats. – Reuters

Courteney Cox and Matthew Perry reunite

The NBC series Go On is staging a mini-Friends re-union. Courteney Cox is guest-starring in the comedy, headlined by Matthew Perry, who played her husband Chandler in the television series. It’s the duo’s first reunion since Friends ended its 10-season run in 2004. Cox’s guest stint also marks a reunion with Scott Silveri, a former Friends executive producer. – IANS

New Zealand to remake Thunderbirds

The classic British sci-fi series Thunderbirds will receive a high-tech reboot at the hands of New Zealand’s Oscar-winning Weta Workshop. The special effects company, which worked on The Lord of the Rings and Avatar, said Britain’s ITV had commissioned 26 episodes of the hit 1960s show. The series, with the working title Thunderbirds are Go!, will be screened in 2015. Weta’s chief Richard Taylor said he was looking forward to introducing a new generation to the show. – AFP

Dujardin will return to Oscars stage

The French actor Jean Dujardin, the star of last year’s Oscar-winning The Artist, will return this year as an Academy Awards presenter, along with his fellow laureates. Meryl Streep, who won Best Actress last year, will present awards at the show, as will Octavia Spencer and Christopher Plummer, Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor respectively. “We are honoured to have them return to the Oscars stage,” said the show’s producers. – AFP