An American woman from Massachusetts is wowing the judges and audiences of “Arabs Got Talent” with her singing, despite the fact that she understands very little Arabic.
Jennifer Grout, 23, has moved into the finals of the competition which is shown throughout the Arab world and has been competing with performers from across the Middle East and North Africa. This season has featured a Saudi stand-up comic, a karate-performing trio from Kuwait and a hijab-wearing rapper from Egypt, among many others.
Grout, who is from Cambridge, Mass., is getting ready to return to the Lebanese capital, Beirut, where she will be one of 12 contenders in the finals of “Arabs Got Talent.”
“The first performance, nobody really took me seriously before I went on stage, just an American girl singing Arabic,” she said of her Susan Boyle moment. “About 30 seconds into it, I think everybody was very surprised. I felt really proud, because the audience went from not taking me seriously to like, wow she’s good.
“My second performance, I got really positive feedback from the judges as well as some of my fans online,” she said.
Her participation marks the first time a singer doesn’t speak Arabic has performed in Arabic on the show, which is in its third season, according to MBC Group, which airs the show on two of its channels across the Arab world.
Grout’s performances have brought her some degree of fame in the region. She said people in Morocco have come up to her saying they know her from the show.
“It was so impressive for everybody that there was an American who’s not an Arabic speaker who’s interested in Arabic music,” Motasem Isied, 26, a graphic designer in Hebron, in the West Bank, told ABC News. “She was really impressive. She got all of the letters, the song, the tune.”
Grout, a classically trained singer more attuned to the likes of Bach and Mozart, came across a video online of the famous Lebanese singer Fairouz, and in early 2010 decided to explore Arabic music, she told ABC News. see more