Mayyas make triumphant return to troubled Lebanon

Their arrival was a bright spot in an otherwise bleak week for the country

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Mayyas landed triumphantly in Lebanon on Friday following the dance troupe's victory in series 17 of America’s Got Talent.

The group's arrival was a cheerful end to an otherwise troubled week in the country, after a series of armed bank hold-ups dominated headlines.

A large crowd of family, friends and fans welcomed the victorious Mayyas upon their landing at Rafic Hariri International Airport. The group arrived to screams and cheers, receiving a seemingly endless stream of flowers and balloons.

“I can't describe it, their win is a miracle for Lebanon, considering the calamity in this country,” the father of one of the performers told local media. “There aren't any words.

“We feel pride. They’ve raised our heads high.”

The dance troupe’s victory is a ray of hope for an otherwise dreary nation that for the past three years has endured a severe economic crisis that the World Bank has called one of the worst in modern history.

The financial collapse has pushed more than 80 per cent of the population into poverty while inflation and living expenses have reached record highs.

Public institutions have all but collapsed, while basic goods and services such as electricity, water and bread have become scarce commodities.

The struggling nation has previously made international headlines due to its economic problems, armed sectarian clashes and the deadly port explosion that ripped through Beirut two years ago.

Fans in the ailing country have welcomed Mayyas' critical acclaim as a breath of fresh air.

The troupe first made international headlines during the AGT auditions, when judge Sofia Vergara slammed the golden buzzer in the midst of their performance, thus ensuring their slot in the semi-finals.

Mayyas' 'America's Got Talent' audition

“Fabulous!” Vergara exclaimed “It was the most beautiful, creative dancing I have ever seen.”

Mayyas’ winning performance on Wednesday was a mesmerising routine in their signature serpentine style that received a standing ovation from the crowd.

Dressed in white costumes accented with sequins and feathers, their winning routine at one point featured the troupe merging into the shape of the cedar tree found on Lebanon’s national flag.

Mayyas — in pictures

Judge Simon Simon Cowell called the performance “astonishing”.

Several of Lebanon’s political leaders — including caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati — have jumped on the bandwagon of acclaim to congratulate Mayyas on their win.

The troupe’s choreographer Nadim Cherfan told local media their win was an “artistic revolution”.

“Now maybe the politicians will be moved towards another revolution — to give people their rights.”

Updated: September 26, 2022, 10:15 AM
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