The Joy Awards were a hive of activity both in and outside the Baker Al Sheddi Theatre in the Boulevard in Riyadh.
With the event forming one the biggest gatherings of the Arab world's entertainment industry, more than 100 actors, singers and cultural personalities strolled the lavender carpet before meeting the regional press to share their career updates.
One person that was not at the ceremony to play around was Ahlam Alshamsi. In trademark fashion, the Emirati singer was bullish when it comes to her thoughts on the Joy Awards.
“I came here hoping to win, of course,” she remarked when it came to her nomination as Best Female Artist. “I worked really hard last year and I hope I can win the trophy. There is nothing wrong with saying that, as competition helps us create even better work.”
Here are four other things celebrities said in the run-up to the 2022 Joy Awards:
1. Nadine Njeim will not appear on the small screen in Ramadan
After starring in back-to-back ratings hits since 2017, including last year's Salon Zahra and 2019's Khamsa w Nos, Njeim said she is taking a step back to launch her own line of lipsticks.
“No, I am not taking part in any productions this year,” she said. “I do want to use the opportunity to work on my production which will hopefully launch by the end of the year.”
Njeim offered a preview the coming product, yet to be named, on Monday on her Instagram, with a lipstick tutorial using a peach-nude shade. The move comes after her successful 2020 collaboration with Mac cosmetics for a collection including lipsticks, mascara, highlighter and eyeshadows.
2. Actor Ahmed Zaher is back with two topical dramas
After a relatively quiet 2021 where he only appeared in the stage show Ailat Lasi'at Jiddan (A Very Crazy Family) Egyptian actor Ahmed Zaher is picking up the pace this year with two major roles in the pipeline.
"Right now, I am working on a film called Fares and that deals with a simple person who goes through everyday struggles just to make ends meet," he said. "I am always drawn to roles that people can identify with."
He is particularly excited about his coming role in the drama series Social, also out later this year.
“I am looking forward to seeing how this will be received, as it’s about the role that social media plays in Arab society,” he said. “While it has amazing benefits, there is also a darker and unjust side to it and this series will hopefully take a good look at that.”
3. All roads lead to Dubai for Melhem Zein
After a sold-out performance at Sharjah’s Al Majaz Amphitheatre in December, the Lebanese crooner confirmed he will return to the UAE with a Dubai show “in the future.”
The reason for the delay is that he is taking the scenic route with a tour of North America and a show in the Bahamas before landing in the emirate.
In the meantime, UAE fans will have time to get acquainted with his new single Rah Halfek, which will surely feature in the show in Dubai.
4. Walid Toufic wants to sing with up and comers
Lebanese singer and actor Walid Toufic wants to work with the new generation of pop stars. The 1980s crooner said veteran artists should step out of their comfort zone and observe the latest trends in popular music.
“A good way to do that is to collaborate with younger artists because I think we can learn from each other,” he said. “I am interested in doing it at any time.”
Toufic also praised the importance of large scale events such as Riyadh Season in bringing people together.
“As musicians, we don’t get a chance to play as we used to, owing to the current situations with the pandemic,” he said. “So large festivals are important because the shows become more impactful and instead of travelling, you get to perform in a multicultural environment.”