Predicting who will fill the final concert slots at Abu Dhabi GP 2017

We select a quintet artists who are most likely to fill the two remaining headline slots at this year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after-race concerts

Rapper Drake arrives on the red carpet for the film "The Carter Effect" at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), in Toronto, Canada, September 9, 2017.    REUTERS/Mark Blinch

With the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November fast approaching, it is time to begin the guessing game on who will perform as part of the after-race concerts at the Du Arena during the racing weekend. What we already know, courtesy of an earlier announcement by promoter Flash Entertainment in July, is that dance producer Calvin Harris will kick off the series on November 23, while American pop star Pink is the choice for the prestigious race day concert on November 26. This leaves November 24 and 25 open – and judging by previous years, we reckon it will be filled by either big urban-music name, a heritage act or rockers.

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While we wait for the imminent official announcements, here are our picks on who may arrive in the capital for the big race.

Drake

We got this half right last year. While The National did predict the hip-hop heavyweight would be attending the Abu Dhabi F1 for a performance, we didn't expect that it would be for a series of intimate gigs in Abu Dhabi and Dubai clubs. We are confident to make the same claim again this year, tough, thanks to the fact that Drake announced an Australian and New Zealand tour a fortnight ago, a jaunt that ends a few days before the race weekend.

Duran Duran

SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 17:  In this handout photo provided by Singapore GP, Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran performs on stage during day four of the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 17, 2017 in Singapore.  (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Singapore GP via Getty Images)

The Abu Dhabi F1 crowd loves a good singalong, and Flash have duly obliged over the years by hosting some vintage acts with enviable hits catalogues, ranging from Paul McCartney and Kylie Minogue to last year's stellar performance by Lionel Richie. We expect this year to be no different, with a heritage act likely to be added to the bill. Judging by what we saw at the Singapore F1 Grand Prix over the past weekend, Duran Duran would be an ideal choice. Touring their new album Paper Gods, the band are in top form, with frontman and 1980s icon Simon Le Bon relishing big-crowd events such as the F1. The band have yet to announce shows for the rest of the year, so another race concert could be on the cards.

The Weeknd

Canadian singer/songwriter The Abel Tesfaye a.k.a The Weeknd performs during the 2016 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at the Grand Palais in Paris on November 30, 2016.  / AFP PHOTO / Martin BUREAU / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE

The Canadian has a large fan base in the region and what better way to perform his debut full Middle Eastern concert than the Formula One. It is well known that the R&B star has an affinity for supercars – his growing collection includes a McLaren P1 – so an opportunity to attend the big race and party with the likes of driver and urban-music lover Lewis Hamilton could be a consideration. Best of all, there is an intriguing gap in The Weeknd's tour diary, with the vacant Abu Dhabi dates arriving just a few days before the beginning of an Australian and New Zealand tour – will he make a pit stop on the way?

Foo Fighters

epa06196847 Singer of US band Foo Fighters, Dave Grohl performs at the Lollapalooza Festival in Hoppegarten near Berlin, Germany, 10 September 2017. The event runs from 09 to 10 September.  EPA/CLEMENS BILAN

A long shot admittedly, but local promoters have been chasing the rock giants for a UAE performance for the past four years – maybe this will be the opportunity. The band, led by a once-again fully walking Dave Grohl, have just released new album Concrete and Gold, and the band are raring to go, with a large world tour in the works. The F1 dates fall in a two-week break before the six-piece kick off a mammoth North American tour. What better way to blow off those cobwebs than with a raucous show in Abu Dhabi.

Metallica

US band metal band Metallica's lead singer James Hetfield performs at the l'AccorHotels Arena a Paris on September 8, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCOIS GUILLOT

Look, if it ain't broke why fix it. The two times that promoters Flash brought Metallica to the capital, the group were greeted by a regional audience of more than 20,000 people. With the group taking off the last two months of the year, maybe they were persuaded to end their working year in style with an F1 show. If that is the case, then the gig should be the loudest concert Abu Dhabi has seen since the last Metallica performance in 2013.

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