Lebanese Marwan Youssef Wins Star Academy; Arabs Have A Meltdown About It

As blogger Anis Tabet wisely put it, “the year is 2050, and Star Academy is still on TV.”

Yes, it’s become increasingly redundant and unwatchable as it faces competition from more “appealing” shows as The Voice, but here we are and the Lebanese contestant Marwan Youssef just became the second Lebanese to win the show after Joseph Attieh, arguably the show’s most accomplished winner and graduate.

From the town of Obeidat in Jbeil, Marwan is an USEK student in his twenties, and even though I haven’t watched the show, catching up with what he presented over the season on YouTube has shown me that he is immensely talented, and can seriously sing (as can the other 3 finalists).

And since the country had nothing else to worry about over the past week, the ministry of telecommunication slashed voting prices (link) and radio stations as well as LBC led a campaign encouraging people to vote. He ended up getting around 55% of the votes, facing 2 Egyptians and a Tunisian:

But then the drama started.

I inadvertently clicked on the hashtag of the show soon after the announcement of the results only to be inundated by conspiracy theories, a slur of racism, accusations of cheating, mocking of Lebanon and a bunch of other hilarious offerings.

First up there was the news channel speaking about “actual” voting results, except math died in the process.

Star Academy 11 Marwan Youssef Haydi Moussa Mohammad Abbas Nassim el Rayyess Finale - 1

What’s sadder is the amount of people believing the numbers and resharing them.

Then there was the Egyptian who knows about our political problems and who figured Star Academy would be the best way to use them:

Star Academy 11 Marwan Youssef Haydi Moussa Mohammad Abbas Nassim el Rayyess Finale - 18

There were also those who had a problem with the country to begin with and couldn’t wait for such a thing to happen to express their #TeamAntiLebanon attitude:

Star Academy 11 Marwan Youssef Haydi Moussa Mohammad Abbas Nassim el Rayyess Finale - 21

Some were also very confused:

Star Academy 11 Marwan Youssef Haydi Moussa Mohammad Abbas Nassim el Rayyess Finale - 7

Egyptian journalists with verified twitter accounts were also not that happy:

Star Academy 11 Marwan Youssef Haydi Moussa Mohammad Abbas Nassim el Rayyess Finale - 20

It’s safe to say a lot of people were not happy at all:

There’s a whole lot of those where they came from.

Leave it to a talent show to show exactly how fond Arabs are of each other. We’re all good at playing nice with each other as long as no one’s beating the other country’s participant at a talent show. If that occurs, claws are out. Be afraid Israel, be very afraid!

If a useless singing show on its 11th season can elicit such a reaction, what have we left to the things that actually matter? I almost forgot we are dealing with a thing called the Arab Spring/Winter, and that there’s a little thing called ISIS that exists among us.

In the spectrum of Arab priorities, clearly the participant coming from a small country winning a talent show is ranked up high. It is then that they cry foul and cheating. But when their governments do it to them daily, everyone just hits the snooze button and goes about their days daily. Perhaps we went about these revolutions the wrong way? Maybe the best way would have been to hold a phone voting competition and be done with it?

One thing is clear, however: better math is needed in the land that invented algebra.

Middle Eastern Talent Show Overdose: Star Academy Is Back

Star Academy Arabia

Just when you thought saturation was reached with Arabs Got Talent, The Voice, X Factor Arabia and Arab Idol, Star Academy decides to return to the singing show scene after a two year hiatus, fully-rebranded as Star Academy Arabia.

Casting for the show has started in Jordan and will continue across countries of the region. Lebanon will have its share next week at Monroe Hotel. And to re-assert itself as the most popular of the bunch, its Facebook page – started less than a month ago – already has north of 50,000 likes (link).

A source has told me the show will start this coming October on a yet-to-be-chosen TV station although I think we can assume it won’t be MBC who should have its hands (and schedule) full with both The Voice and Arab Idol. Dutch company Endemol is currently at the helm.

Toni Qahwaji has been tipped off to direct the show. He was a regular when the show aired on LBC in 2011 and earlier.

So in case the other twenty three talent shows weren’t enough to satisfy this apparently incessant need among the public, another one will be launching yet another “winner” to forget about.

I, for one, had thought Star Academy decided to call it off – similar to what happened to the French version – after its last lackluster season. I figured people may have gotten tired of it. It seems I was extrapolating based on what I felt towards these shows now that I’m not thirteen anymore.

I bet these shows have lost track of the participants they can’t wait to make millions off then forget about the moment the season wraps.  I don’t know about you but I’ve lost track after Joseph Attieh.