Arab Idol winner Mohammad Assaf proved once again to be a fan favourite as he rocked the stage on Thursday during the first Arab Idol live tour concert at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
Runners up Salma Rashid, Ahmad Jamal and Farah Youssuf also gave fans amazing performances, but the excitement that took over the venue when Assaf arrived was like no other.
The evening began, when after a bit of a frustrated wait, Arab Idol host Anabella Hilal appeared on stage an hour after scheduled show time. She introduced the first performer of the night, Rashid.
The Moroccan contestant, known for her strong voice, sang some of her most popular songs performed on the show, starting off with a song by show judge and Emirati Singer Ahlam. Fans enjoyed the singer’s half an hour performance that also included old songs by renowned Lebanese artist Samira Tawfiq.
Next up was Egyptian first runner up Jamal who asked the audience to stop for a moment of silence for those who died in the recent clashes in Egypt. The singer then sang patriotic and folklore songs about his country.
Though the singer gave the audience an outstanding performance, chants of ‘Mohammad Assaf’ could be heard echoing through the venue. Jamal replied to the chanting: “Let’s give a big clap for Mohammad Assaf”, which the crowd happily complied to. But their excitement had to wait because another finalist Youssuf was performing next.
The Syrian second runner up gave an impressive performance of a mix of old and contemporary Arab songs. Fans rushed in front of the stage to cheer her and present her with red roses.
Just as she left the stage, the chants got louder and louder as people rushed in front of the stage and stood on top of the tables to get a better look at the star.
Assaf had arrived.
He first sang the song about Arab Unity which he performed on the show during his coronation as the Arab Idol winner of 2013. He then asked the crowd what they would like to hear next, and everyone yelled Ali Al Koufiyeh (Raise the koufiyeh - the traditional male Palestinian scarf).
The audience sang along and raised their koufiyehs and flags while standing on tables and rushing to the stage. Assaf eventually had to ask them to go back to their seats. His sensational performance continued with more Palestinian patriotic songs.
Following the Arab Idol’s performance show judge and Lebanese superstar Ragheb Alameh took to the stage and sang his top hits.
Judging by the large number of people who began leaving while he was performing, it was pretty clear who every one had come to see on Thursday night.