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RIYADH: The first season of MBC’s “Saudi Idol” kicked off this week with a preview of the first groups of aspiring singers who auditioned for the judges in hopes of being chosen to move on to the next phase of the competition.

As with other editions of the reality TV singing competition around the world, hopefuls from various musical genres began by auditioning for a panel of expert judges who decided which deserved to progress and perform in front of a live audience. .

The UK version of the show is hosted by musician and TV presenter Rajeh Alharthi, and celebrity judges are Yemeni singer and songwriter Aseel Abu Bakr, Emirati singer Ahlam Al-Shamsi, Syrian singer Assala Nasri and singer and Iraqi composer Majid Al-Mohandes. .

The first two episodes, filmed in Riyadh and airing Tuesday and Wednesday nights on MBC1 and MBC Iraq, included emotional moments as the future stars performed in front of the judges in hopes of receiving the minimum three “yes” votes they needed. to move on to the next phase.

The contestants for the first episode included Lamar Ali from Jizan, Khaled Gharibi from Taif and Thikra Al-Hadi from Riyadh, all of whom impressed the entire judging panel and received four upvotes. Issa bin Saleh, 19, advanced with three yeses; the no came from Al-Shamsi, who said she was aiming with her rejection to provide the young singer with an incentive to improve.

Saad Al-Kaltham seemed to be unlucky when he received two refusals, from Nasri and Al-Shamsi, but got a second chance to sing again and this time he was elected for the next stage.

Each contestant had a story to tell about their life and their desire to sing, such as Ali Al-Nimri from Taif, who revealed he had health issues. That didn’t stop him from impressing most of the judges as he claimed three votes in favour, with only Al-Shamsi not convinced he deserved to continue.

Rinad Al-Mahdi from Jizan recounted how she discovered her talent for singing at an early age, but her father insisted that she prioritize her university education. She said she hoped Saudi Idol would make her dreams come true; she got off to a good start, passing the first test with four yeses.

The first episode concluded with Abdullah Al-Amiri from Jeddah, who said he comes from an artistic family and plays several musical instruments. He also impressed the entire panel and received four approval votes.

The auditions continued in Wednesday night’s second episode. Saud Sharif and Monirah Al-Ali advanced with three yeses, while Mouna Khoury, Afnan Abdullah, Fahd Al-Jomhour, Saad Al-Naji, Ziad Lahtha and Ziad Abdul Kader each impressed all four judges.

The episode ended on an emotional note as contestant Bushra Hammoud, a young woman with hemiplegia, who is paralyzed on one side of her body, got the three yeses she needed to continue. Only Abu Bakr voted no. Rakan Al-Harbi, Jaber Othman and Hassan Asiri are other successful candidates.

Saudi Idol airs on MBC 1 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. in Saudi Arabia and on MBC Iraq at 11:00 p.m. Iraq time.

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