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Five minutes with Raya Abi Rached

TV presenter Raya Abi Rached talks about the challenge of being impartial on Arabs' Got Talent

  • Agencie
  • Published: 20:30 April 6, 2011

Raya Abi Rached
  • Image Credit: Supplied
  • Raya Abi Rached

Raya Abi Rached is arguably one of the busiest Arab television presenters at the moment, working on AGT in Beirut and flying to London every week to film her weekly entertainment show, Scoop.

Is it challenging being so impartial to the contestants?

No, because the set is like a brotherhood and both Qusai and I are so supportive of all the contestants. We have seen their journey and growth, so I am just immensely proud of them.

AGT debuted on MBC4 at exactly the same time the political protests in Tunisia, followed by Egypt, kicked off. Were you scared of public backlash?

It was heart-breaking, but the audition episodes were filmed back in November so it was before the events. We have been on Facebook and Twitter since the show started so viewers now know, and obviously we did address these issues during the live shows. But there has not been any backlash, because the public is using the show as a means of escapism.

What are the judges really like?

They are like how you see them on TV — they're all with very different personalities, but work great together. I don't think any other three would work the same as Najwa, Amr and Ali do. Qusai and I do not see them a lot, because the judges are not allowed to attend the rehearsals — they just watch the live shows. But we have a great relationship with them.

You're based in the UK. Did you get any tips from the Britain's Got Talent team?

Not as such — we did meet the production team at the beginning, but when Britain's Got Talent started, I was just a viewer just like the million other viewers in the UK, and I loved the show. But it is interesting watching [BGT hosts] Ant & Dec as a viewer, and then watching them from the perspective Qusai and I are doing the same thing now. I love Ant & Dec — I find them highly entertaining.

Auditions for Season Two of AGT are due to begin in May. Are you returning to the show?

Yes, hopefully. This is something I really enjoy working on, and I see the show getting bigger and bigger. We are getting loads of applications already, so Season Two will be very exciting.

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