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Arab Idol

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Arab Idol
GenreReality television
Created bySimon Fuller
Presented byAnnabella Hilal
Abdallah El Tulehi (1)
Ahmed Fahmi (2)
JudgesRagheb Alama (1–2)
Ahlam (1–4)
Hassan El Shafei (1–4)
Nancy Ajram (2–4)
Wael Kfoury (3–4)
Original languageArabic
No. of seasons4
ProducerArab world
Production locationsBeirut, Lebanon
Running timeVaries
Original release
NetworkMBC 1
Release9 December 2011 (2011-12-09) –
25 February 2017 (2017-02-25)

Arab Idol is an Arabic television show, based on the popular British show Pop Idol created by Simon Fuller's 19 Entertainment and developed by Fremantle Media and recorded in Beirut, Lebanon. The first season premiered on 9 December 2011. The show was broadcast worldwide on MBC 1 and simultaneously aired on LBC. The second season debuted on 8 March 2013, the third season on 5 September 2014, and the fourth season on 4 November 2016 on MBC.


Arab Idol is the successor of a previous pan-Arab rendition of the Idol series called Super Star, which aired on the Lebanese Future TV for 5 seasons, beginning in 2003. MBC 1 expressed desire to revive the show in a revamped version. The concept is still the same: ten young contestants from all over the Arab world are selected after many auditions, and perform songs on stage in front of a live audience and the judges on the main weekly show every Friday. Then there is a 24-hour time period during which the viewers can vote for their favourites by SMS. The contestant who receives the fewest votes is eliminated during the results show. This elimination process continues weekly, until a winner is crowned on the show's finale. The winner receives various prizes, including but not limited to a recording contract with Platinum Records (recording label affiliated with MBC) for a debut album, and a Chevrolet Corvette. The show was unveiled to the public on 21 July 2011 when MBC 1 began airing the first advertisement. The name was changed from Super Star to Arab Idol and a new logo was launched.


Season From To Winner Runner-up Host(s) Coaches
1 2 3 4
1 9 December 2011 23 March 2012 Carmen Suleiman Dounia Batma Annabella Hilal
Abdallah Tulehi
Ragheb Alama Ahlam Hassan El Shafei N/A
2 8 March 2013 22 June 2013 Mohammed Assaf Ahmad Gamal Annabella Hilal
Ahmad Fahmi
Nancy Ajram
3 5 September 2014 13 December 2014 Hazem Shareef Haitham Khalayla Annabella Hilal
Ahmad Fahmi
Wael Kfoury
4 4 November 2016 25 February 2017 Yacoub Shaheen Amir Dandan Ahmad Fahmi

Season 1 (2011–2012)[edit]

The first season was hosted by Kuwaiti actor Abdallah Tulehi and Lebanese model Annabella Hilal. The judging panel consisted of

On finale night, 24 March 2012, Carmen Suleiman from Egypt was crowned the winner of the first season of Arab Idol in a tough competition against Dounia Batma from Morocco.

Season 2 (2013)[edit]

The second season was hosted by Egyptian singer and actor Ahmed Fahmi and Lebanese model Annabella Hilal. The judging panel consisted of:

The second season premiered on 8 March 2013.

On finale night, 22 June 2013, Mohammed Assaf from Palestine was crowned the winner of the second season of Arab Idol in a tough competition against Farah Youssef from Syria and Ahmad Gamal from Egypt.[1][2][3][4]

Season 3 (2014)[edit]

The third season premiered on 5 September 2014. Auditions were held in Beirut, Bahrain, Kuwait, Algeria, Cairo, Alexandria, Dubai, Morocco, Palestine, the Kurdish city of Erbil and on the European continent, notably in Paris and Berlin. Emirates Airlines was a major sponsor of season 3.

Three of the four judges returned with Ragheb Alama being replaced, after two consecutive seasons, by another well-known Lebanese singer, Wael Kfoury, who was recently a judge on the pan-Arabian version of The X Factor. The judging panel comprised:

Season 3 was notable because of the presence of non-Arabic-speaking contestants at the auditions including a Japanese and two Indian contestants.[5][6][7] The Japanese Koyasu made it through to the group challenge, though she did not proceed any further and was eliminated before the Final 26.[8]

On finale night, 13 December 2014, Hazem Shareef from Syria was crowned the winner of the third season of Arab Idol in a tough competition against Haitham Khalaily from Palestine and Majed Madani from Saudi Arabia.

Season 4 (2016–2017)[edit]

The fourth season premiered on November 4, 2016. Auditions were held in Beirut, Bahrain, Kuwait, Algeria, Cairo, Alexandria, Dubai, Morocco, Palestine, the Iraqi-Kurdish city of Irbil and Turkey.

The judging panel comprises:

On finale night, 25 February 2017, Yacoub Shaheen from Palestine was crowned the winner of the fourth season of Arab Idol in a tough competition against Ameer Dandan also from Palestine and Ammar Mohammed from Yemen. For the first time in Arab Idol history, two of the last three contestants were Palestinian.


  1. ^ "Could this American singer be the next Arab idol? - Video on". Nbcnews.com. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  2. ^ Yolande Knell (2013-06-22). "BBC News - Gaza singer Mohammed Assaf wins Arab Idol contest". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  3. ^ "Lessons from Arab Idol | Nushin Arbabzadah". Huffingtonpost.com. 18 December 2013. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  4. ^ "Arab Idol tries to make it in America - CNN.com". Edition.cnn.com. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  5. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Arab Idol - ناو كوياسو - تجارب الأداء". YouTube.
  6. ^ "Japanese singer is a standout contestant on new series of Arab Idol". 6 September 2014.
  7. ^ "Beyond academics | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN".
  8. ^ "Arab Idol's Japanese contestant vows to 'never stop singing Arabic songs'". 23 September 2014.

External links[edit]