New talent series 'Saudi Idol' to be broadcast in December

Four Arab artists will judge contestants as filming starts in October

From left, Majid Almohandis, Assala, Ahlam and Aseel Abubakr have been announced as the judges of the first 'Saudi Idol'. Photo: MBC Group
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A Saudi Arabian version of Idol, the international reality music competition series, will broadcast its first season in December.

The new show will be launched in collaboration with Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority and the MBC Group.

Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the authority, announced the news of the partnership through Twitter on Saturday, including the names of the four judges who have the task of discovering local singing talent from Riyadh.

“Happy to announce a new partnership between the Entertainment Authority and the MBC Group to launch Saudi Idol,” Al-Sheikh tweeted.

The judging panel consists of Saudi singer Aseel Abubakr, Emirati singer and actress Ahlam, Iraqi-Saudi singer and composer Majid Almohandis, and Syrian singer Assala.

“I’ll be honest, the most important thing is a good voice,” tweeted Assala in response to Al-Sheikh’s announcement. This will be the first time the Syrian singer will enter the world of reality music talent competitions."

Ahlam, however, was previously a judge on all four seasons of Arab Idol, which was shown between 2011 to 2017, and on season four and five of The Voice Arabia, which was also on air for four seasons between 2012 and 2019.

“I am a graduate of Idol School and The Voice. Welcome to my guests, Assala, Majid and Aseel to the land of Saudi Arabia,” the Emirati singer tweeted as a response to the announcement.

MBC’s Entertainment news show Trending announced that filming of Saudi Idol is scheduled for October.

However, MBC is still encouraging singers to participate. “Do you have a beautiful voice and would you like to sing?" tweeted the company's official account. "Do you like competition and want to enter the world of limelight and fame? Participate in the largest singing programme. Don’t miss the chance, register now.”

The Idol franchise was originally created by Simon Fuller, with its many international spin-offs including Arab Idol. The pan-Arab show was a version of the Idol series SuperStar, which was broadcast on Lebanon's Future TV for five seasons between 2003 to 2018.

While Arab Idol produced popular artists such as Palestinian Mohammed Assaf, and auditioned hopeful singers from across the Arab world, this will be the first time the franchise will be focused solely on Saudi Arabia.

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Updated: September 25, 2022, 1:38 PM