After taking the West by storm, hit singing talent hunt show The Voice has found its way into the Arab world. Starting tonight, auditions to scout for the perfect-sounding voice will begin on MBC, the channel that has clinched its broadcasting rights.
"It's not about the way you look, it's all about the way you sound," said Ali Jaber, Group TV Director of MBC, echoing the central theme of the original format.
He was speaking at a press conference to announce the show.
But unlike the show's original version, there will be no judges, only coaches.
"Tomorrow we will have a rigorous session of sifting through names of popular Arab singers. The coaches should have time to spend with the talent and coach them well. They should have the ability to nurture them and hone their talents," said Jaber.
The US version of The Voice has pop star Christina Aguilera, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, country singer Blake Shelton and singer-rapper Cee Lo Green as judges. Originally based on a reality singing competition from Holland created by Dutch television producer John de Mol, The Voice's stupendous success has spawned several franchises across the globe.
The Arab format is the latest entrant in that bouquet, slated to be aired on MBC 1 in September, post-Ramadan.
Surprisingly, the latest development also means that the MBC group, which also airs Arabs Got Talent (launched in January 2011 on MBC 4) and Arab Idol (launched in December on MBC 1) will now have to compete with The Voice to grab eyeballs. So, is the in-fighting healthy?
"The formats are entirely different and we believe in providing variety to our viewers. Each of our shows has its own strengths. Also, The Voice is unique, and so are the others. There will be no clash," said Jaber.
Starting tonight, a 250-strong team will embark on a region-wide search to scout for amateurs who are yet to get their "big break".
"There's a lot of potential in the Arab world and all these shows help in bringing them in the spotlight," said Jaber.
To be a part of the Arabic version of The Voice, log on to mbc.net/TheVoice.
- The contestants cannot be seen, they can only be heard.
- The programme consists of three phases: blind auditions, battle rounds and live performances.
- If a coach is impressed by a contestant's voice, he/she pushes the "I Want You" button to select the contestant. At this point, the coach's chair will swivel to face the contestant selected. If more than one coach selects the talent, the power shifts to the contestant, who may choose which coach they want to work with throughout the competition.
- If none of the coaches presses the button, the candidate is eliminated.
- At the end of the blind auditions, each coach would have picked 12 contestants.
- During the battle rounds, the coaches with the help of their professional dream teams will put two of their own team members against each other to sing the same song together in front of a studio audience. After the vocal face-off, the coach must choose which singers will advance and which singers will be eliminated.
- At the end of the battle episodes, only the strongest members of each coach's roster remain and proceed to the live stage shows. In this final performance phase of the competition, the top contestants from each team will compete against each other during a live broadcast.
- The public will vote for the most beautiful and talented voice from among the four candidates who have been selected by the coaches. The winner will sign a contract for a new album and a video clip with the production company.
Auditions for The Voice will be held in countries including the UAE, Egypt, Kuwait, Tunisia, Lebanon and Morocco.