Nedjim Maatallah performs on The X Factor. Courtesy MBC
Nedjim Maatallah performs on The X Factor. Courtesy MBC

The X Factor: who will beat the rest and be the best?

With only six acts remaining on The X Factor, excitement is mounting as the grand finale draws ever closer.

But who is in with the best chance of going all the way? Here is our guide to the hopefuls and what they need to do to keep the fans happy and secure those all-important votes.

International soloists, mentored by Ragheb Alama

French-Algerian Nedjim Mahtallah is easily the best dancer of all the remaining contestants.

The 27-year-old has impressed the judges every week, yet none of his, admittedly excellent, performances compare to the raw energy of his audition, during which he sang Etre un Homme Comme Vous, the French version of I Wanna Be Like You, from Disney film The Jungle Book.

Since then, he has only sung in accented English – we hope he will perform in his native French, which would elevate his performance to the next level. Time might be running out, however – he has already been in the danger zone, under threat of elimination, twice.

LaToya from Lebanon is an established singer in her home country. The 22-year-old, who is studying psychology, has proven herself able to tackle pop, blues and rock music with ease. We hope she’ll tackle something a little different next week, something that demands less aggression in the singing than we have seen and more heartfelt emotion, allowing the beauty of her voice to shine, rather than relying on its undoubted strength.

Hamza Hawsawi from Saudi Arabia can do no wrong. In an ideal world, Jay Z will hear about the 24-year-old and sign him up immediately.

Arabic soloist, mentored by Elissa

Hind Ziadi from Morocco is the only Arabic soloist to make it this far. Her singing is always admirable and she has tackled some difficult songs by greats such as Thikra and Warda. She has done extremely well for a 20-year-old with little musical background. We have yet to hear her sing an Umm Kulthum number, which might solidify her status as a capable and mature singer. Having been in the danger zone once, Ziadi needs to raise her game to remain on the show.

Groups, mentored by Donia Samir Ghanem

The 5 need no introduction. Algerian duo Said Karmouz and his rapper friend Mohamed “BMD” Bouhezza were teamed during the audition phase with soloists Ahmed Hassan from Egypt, Adil Echbiy from Morocco and Kazem Chamas from Lebanon to become one of the first Middle East boy bands.

Their signature sound is Arabic pop, and every song includes an original rap verse written by BMD, with some input from the rest of the group. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that the band will perform anything in English on the show – despite how well Karmouz and BMD sing in the language – mainly because band member Chamas doesn’t speak the language at all.

More complex harmonies that showcase the timbres of their very different voices are due soon, and members Echbiy and Hassan have to push themselves a little harder because the stronger vocalists are Chamas and Karmouz.

If this was purely a popularity contest, then there would be no contest.

GuitaNai are a band of Syrians and Jordanians who favour a style that incorporates touches of flamenco, rumba and salsa into traditional Arabic folk tunes. They released an album of live cover songs in 2011 and enjoy playing music by the Gypsy Kings, Fairouz, Ziad Rahbani, Aziz Maraka and Yazan Al Rousan. So far, they have performed a variety of Arabic tunes, but always in their signature, upbeat, energetic style. It would be nice to see something a little softer and calmer, to find out whether they can inject as much feeling and passion into a slow piece as they do with their more finger-snapping numbers.


Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2



AC Milan v Sampdoria (2.30pm kick-off UAE)

Atalanta v Udinese (5pm)

Benevento v Parma (5pm)

Cagliari v Hellas Verona (5pm)

Genoa v Fiorentina (5pm)

Lazio v Spezia (5pm)

Napoli v Crotone (5pm)

Sassuolo v Roma (5pm)

Torino v Juventus (8pm)

Bologna v Inter Milan (10.45pm)

Florence and the Machine – High as Hope
Three stars


Who: France v Italy
When: Friday, 11pm (UAE)
TV: BeIN Sports

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

Engine: 3.5-litre V6

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 290hp

Torque: 340Nm

Price: Dh155,800

On sale: now

French Touch

Carla Bruni


Company profile

Name: Maly Tech
Started: 2023
Founder: Mo Ibrahim
Based: Dubai International Financial Centre
Sector: FinTech
Funds raised: $1.6 million
Current number of staff: 15
Investment stage: Pre-seed, planning first seed round
Investors: GCC-based angel investors

And Just Like That...

Director: Various

Stars: Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis

Rating: 3/5


Display: 6.1" Super Retina XDR OLED, 2778 x 1284, 458ppi, HDR, True Tone, P3, 1200 nits

Processor: A15 Bionic, 6-core CPU, 5-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine 

Memory: 6GB

Capacity: 128/256/512GB

Platform: iOS 16

Main camera: Dual 12MP main (f/1.5) + 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.4); 2x optical, 5x digital; Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4, Portrait Lighting

Main camera video: 4K @ 24/25/3060fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, HD @ 30fps; HD slo-mo @ 120/240fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

Front camera: 12MP TrueDepth (f/1.9), Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4; Animoji, Memoji; Portrait Lighting

Front camera video: 4K @ 24/25/3060fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, HD slo-mo @ 120fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

Battery: 4323 mAh, up to 26h video, 20h streaming video, 100h audio; fast charge to 50% in 30m; MagSafe, Qi wireless charging

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Apple Pay)

Biometrics: Face ID

I/O: Lightning

Cards: Dual eSIM / eSIM + SIM (US models use eSIMs only)

Colours: Blue, midnight, purple, starlight, Product Red

In the box: iPhone 14, USB-C-to-Lightning cable, one Apple sticker

Price: Dh3,799 / Dh4,199 / Dh5,049

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are tokens that represent ownership of unique items. They allow the tokenisation of things such as art, collectibles and even real estate.

An NFT can have only one official owner at one time. And since they're minted and secured on the Ethereum blockchain, no one can modify the record of ownership, not even copy-paste it into a new one.

This means NFTs are not interchangeable and cannot be exchanged with other items. In contrast, fungible items, such as fiat currencies, can be exchanged because their value defines them rather than their unique properties.

Paris Can Wait
Dir: Eleanor Coppola
Starring: Alec Baldwin, Diane Lane, Arnaud Viard
Two stars


Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates


Name: Carzaty, now Kavak
Based: Dubai
Launch year: Carzaty launched in 2018, Kavak in the GCC launched in 2022
Number of employees: 140
Sector: Automotive
Funding: Carzaty raised $6m in equity and $4m in debt; Kavak plans $130m investment in the GCC

Where to buy and try:

Nutritional yeast


Organic Foods & Café

Bulletproof coffee

Wild & The Moon


Comptoir 102


Organic Foods & Café

Charcoal drinks and dishes

Various juice bars, including Comptoir 102

Bridgewater Tavern

3 Fils


Supermarkets across the UAE

The specs

Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 620hp from 5,750-7,500rpm
Torque: 760Nm from 3,000-5,750rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh1.05 million ($286,000)


Power train: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and synchronous electric motor
Max power: 800hp
Max torque: 950Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed auto
Battery: 25.7kWh lithium-ion
0-100km/h: 3.4sec
0-200km/h: 11.4sec
Top speed: 312km/h
Max electric-only range: 60km (claimed)
On sale: Q3
Price: From Dh1.2m (estimate)

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