Get to know the three Arab Idol 2014 finalists

We evaluate the performance of the finalists so far in the third season as the show nears its wrap up this weekend.
The Arab Idol finalists, from left, Majed Al Madani, Haitham Khalailah and Hazim Sharif. Courtesy MBC
The Arab Idol finalists, from left, Majed Al Madani, Haitham Khalailah and Hazim Sharif. Courtesy MBC

Arab Idol has always been entertaining, but the third season wrapping up this weekend has been positively thrilling thanks to the unpredictable nature of the votes.

The three finalists are a case in point. Saudi Arabia’s Majed Al Madani survived a mediocre start to make his way to the last stage. Palestinian Haitham Khalailah’s Arab Idol journey has been best described as topsy-turvy, but he delivered the right performance at the optimal time last week to make it through to the final. Which brings us to the suave Hazim Sharif: the Syrian crooner has been the only steady performer, having continuously wowed television audiences since the first episode aired in September. While all three singers are unique in terms of style, they need to deliver the performance of their lives to land the big prize.

Hazim Sharif

Syria

Age: 21

Perhaps acknowledging that he cruised through to the finals, Sharif tells viewers that he’ll deliver his best performance this weekend.

“What they have seen so far is only 50 per cent of what I can do,” he says. “I am saving the remainder for the final episode where I will try my absolute best to prove that I can be the new Arab Idol.”

Pros: Sharif has a natural stage presence. With his quiet confidence and film-star looks he is set for stardom no matter what happens on the weekend.

Cons: Sharif’s progress has been largely down to a dedicated fan base, but he needs to convince other viewers that he is simply more than a pretty face.

Haitham Khalailah

Palestine

Age: 23

Khalailah was a standout during the auditions but ended up giving a few patchy performances during the series. “It’s more about the responsibility of making it to the finals that’s on my mind,” he said. “I acknowledge that I came here because many people voted for me and I thank them for their confidence in me. I just hope I can repay their faith by performing at my best.”

Pros: He possesses a passionate voice that can transfix the crowd. Give him the right ballad and you can expect a few sniffles from the television audience.

Cons: Which side of Khalailah will take centre stage at the finale – the powerful singer or the uncertain performer? Hard to tell. What we do know is the judges and the audiences may not be as accommodating as before.

Majed Al Madani

Saudi Arabia

Age: 26

The Saudi has won over the crowd slowly but steadily in addition to revealing a genuinely endearing personality. “I can’t describe the feelings of making it to this stage, to be honest,” says Al Madani. “In the finals my goal is to make my family and my country proud. I will get on stage and give a fresh performance.”

Pros: Al Madani only needs a little more experience before taking his place as one of the region’s brightest new talents. A Gulf country is yet to win Arab Idol, so expect a sizeable GCC audience texting their support for Al Madani.

Cons: He may be Mr Nice Guy but he doesn’t have the most thrilling persona on stage. Al Madani will have to produce a galvanising performance to win over the doubters.

•The Arab Idol finale will be broadcast live on MBC1 on December 12 and December 13 at 10pm

sasaeed@thenational.ae

Published: December 10, 2014 04:00 AM

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