Syrian Hazem Sharif crowned Arab Idol 2014
DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 15 December 2014
Syria's Hazem Sharif has won this year's edition of the most popular TV show in the Middle East and North Africa – Arab Idol – which reached an audience estimated at over 100 million viewers.
Sharif was crowned season-three winner of the MBC show, based on the successful international format from Simon Fuller and FremantleMedia, on Saturday 13 December. The 21-year-old, who hails from conflict-ravaged Aleppo, beat fellow contestants Majid Al Madani of Saudi Arabia and Palestinian Haitham Khalailah, following a final live performance broadcast across the region via satellite the previous day.
Favourite to win, Sharif received applause from judges Ahlam, from the UAE, Lebanese singers Nancy Ajram and Wael Kfouri, and Egyptian producer Hassan Al Shafe'ei, as he emerged victorious.
"I just want to address the Syrian people and all of Syria. It would be my honour, and I wish, to have my first performance in Syria," Sharif told reporters after the show.
He wins a cash prize of 250,000 Saudi riyals (US$66,000), and a three-single deal with Dubai-based Platinum Records. Sharif will also be flown to the Seychelles courtesy of series sponsor Emirates