Syria’s Hazem Sharif was crowned on Saturday Arab Idol 2014, the most watched show in the Middle East, beating off his two rivals Palestinian Haitham Khalailah and Majid Al Madani from Saudi Arabia.
Judges Ahlam, from the United Arab Emirates, Lebanese singers Nancy Ajram and Wael Kfouri and Hassan Al Shafe’ei, an Egyptian music production expert, all cheered as Sharif accepted the award, the third to be given since the popular contest came to television screens in 2011.
On Friday, the contestants sang one last time at the Beirut studio staging the MBC program, scrambling for votes from audiences across the region.
The winner of the Arab world’s leading singing competition will be awarded a cash prize of 250,000 Saudi riyals (just over $66,000), as well as a contract with Platinum Records, production of three singles, a video clip.
The winner will also get a trip to the Seychelles courtesy of Emirates airline, a main sponsor of the show this year.