Hiba Tawaji Wins Her Battle on France’s The Voice

Hiba Tawaji The Voice

Is it me or are Lebanese women on a roll these couple of days? Rima Karaki is now making headlines around the world for shutting up an Islamist (link), and Hiba Tawaji just presented another side of Lebanese women and artists during her battle on France’s The Voice.

On Françoise Hardy’s classic “Mon Ami La Rose” (YouTube link), Hiba battled 41 year old year Nög in an oriental remix of the very-subdued song, allowing her to show a different side of her voice. Nög, Hiba’s challenger, gave her a run for her money. He was absolutely excellent. The level of competition between him and Hiba has showed that there’s no such thing as someone “professional” competing against “amateurs.” They are all professionals who know what they’re doing, and at 41 Nög probably has a lot of experience under his belt that helped him almost beat the Lebanese contestant.

Ultimately, Mika chose Hiba and Nög was taken by Zazie, another coach.

French audiences were also quite receptive to Hiba’s performance:

This is a video of the performance:

Let me know if the video is removed and I’ll find another version. You can also check the video on LBC’s news page (link).

The Point Behind Following Hiba On France’s The Voice:

I saw a lot of people wonder what’s the point behind the interest in Hiba’s path on France’s The Voice and how it reflects on Lebanon or us as people. It’s a certain thing that Tawaji on The Voice ultimately boosts her career as a priority and reflects little on us. But there’s more to it than that, even if it’s a little gullible to think so.

By being “la Libanaise,” she is giving the French a face of the country that they don’t usually see. It’s not much for sure, and it may be part of our collective hopeless thinking of improving our reputation bit by bit at all means possible. Either way, as a country we’ve gotten interested in so many useless things that I honestly don’t get the point in going up in a fit about this just because people are getting excited about a Lebanese being on it.

Good luck to Hiba on the rest of the show. She’s not in the finals just yet, but next time she’s live she will be up for people voting.

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How Hiba Tawaji Completely Owned France’s The Voice

Hiba Tawaji The Voice

Hiba Tawaji just blew everyone away at France’s The Voice, as was expected. She started off singing Michel Legrand’s “Les Moulins De Mon Coeur” before going into her own Lebanese version of the song “La Bidayi Wala Nihayi” prompting all four judges to turn for her.

Hiba then continued singing effortlessly before ending her performance with a high note that got all 4 judges to give her a standing ovation, as well as have the audience attending the taping rise to their feet to applause her.

This is Hiba’s performance:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxXLHjMc02Y

She ended up choosing Mika as her coach for the rest of the show.

Hiba Tawaji - The Voice France

French audiences were also extremely receptive of her. “Libanaise” and “Hiba” both trended on Twitter worldwide. The following is a sample of the tweets that I screenshot as people gushed about her performance:

Even the head of Universal Music France was blown away by her:

Hiba Tawaji The Voice France

I saw a lot of Lebanese people wonder how it makes sense for someone as accomplished as Hiba Tawaji to end up on a French talent show.

I think someone as talented and as vocally adept as Tawaji is limited by the scope of what she can do in a country like Lebanon. Her talent can easily find a place in an international scene, with France being the easiest stepping stone as The Voice has proven to be receptive for Lebanese talents as Hiba Tawaji is the fourth Lebanese in four seasons to participate.

Sure, participating in a talent show doesn’t necessarily translate to instant success, nor does it mean she is sure to win the show. But if there’s any Lebanese that can have a shot at reaching the finals (the best outcome so far was Anthony Touma reaching the semi-finals in season 2), it’s her – and her audition only serves to prove that point: out of all 4 Lebanese, she was the best by far.

Moreover, Hiba Tawaji has been around for several years now, and her state of success, albeit impressive, is easily dwarfed by much less talented but more busted female singers in the country, which means that she is quite under-appreciated here for the level of art she is presenting.

Naturally, there will also be those who tell us that there are more important things to worry about. Of course there are more important things that Lebanese should be preoccupied with. At times like these when our army soldiers are bravely dying to let us watch such TV shows safely in the confines of our homes, and when there’s little to be optimistic about at the state of the country actually, such a moment can serve to unwind. And that’s not really a bad thing.

The French are referring to Hiba as “la Libanaise.” She represents us and is doing so extremely well. As such, Hiba Tawaji has made us all proud today and best of luck to her progression on the show.

 

Lebanese Anthony Touma Rocks France’s The Voice

Anthony TOuma The Voice France

Young Lebanese musician Anthony Touma took it to the stage of France’s version of The Voice – titled in typical French as La Plus Belle Voix – to become the first candidate of the show’s second season that gets the approval of all four judges, causing them all to turn their chairs to face him signaling them wanting him after his rendition of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean. He was even introduced as Lebanese, his nationality front and center.

Apparently Anthony Touma had attempts at breaking into the Lebanese music scene but they weren’t very successful which caused him to leave the country to France where he pursued the dream. He is now the second Lebanese to be on the show after Johnny Maalouf (link) almost reached the quarter finals last year.

I will update this post when I stumble on a video of the performance that is functional in Lebanon. If you are in France, this will work for you (link).

Update: the video –

However, as a testament to how good Anthony Touma was, he trended on Twitter in France minutes after his performance:

Anthony Touma The Voice France Twitter - 1

And he eventually trended worldwide on Twitter as French people spoke about him him and Lebanese people gushed over how proud he made them:
Anthony Touma The Voice France Twitter - 3

Notable Lebanese journalists and entertainers also tweeted their support of Anthony Touma:

Anthony Touma The Voice France Twitter - 2

“Me who thought Billy Jean was American when it came from Beirut”

I’m really glad that Anthony got his break into the music business, something he would have never gotten had he stayed here. He now joins a long list of Lebanese shining abroad, bettering our image as a people and making us proud with what they do (link).

You can follow Anthony on Twitter (here).

Jhony Maalouf: A Lebanese Contestant on French Singing Show: The Voice (La Plus Belle Voix)

Johny Maalouf is a Lebanese contestant who recently made it to the second round of the newly launched French version of the American TV Show The Voice, La Plus Belle Voix, airing on TF1. Leave it to the French to make a two letter title a whole phrase.

The premise of the show consists of three phases: a blind audition where the contestant sings with the judges having their chairs turned away from him (this is the phase Jhony got past). The second phase is called the battle phase where contestants face off in duets and the third phase is the live performances show, which is judged according to audience voting.

Jhony still has a long way to go and it’s our duty as Lebanese to support him. He’s actually quite good, although he seemed very nervous (and justifiably so).

Good luck to Mr. Maalouf on his future progression on “La Plus Belle Voix.”