BEIRUT — Iraqi singer Sattar Saad was crowned winner of the “The Voice Arabia” on Saturday during an intense finale which drew millions of viewers across the Middle East and saw guest star Ricky Martin take the stage to perform his new songs “Adrenalina” and “Come With Me.”
Aired by satcaster Middle East Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), The Arab version of “The Voice” wrapped with Saad draped in an Iraqi flag on stage receiving the trophy from his coach, Iraqi pop music sensation Kadim Al Sahir.
Saad’s victory, which sparked celebrations in the streets of Baghdad, earned him a record contract with Universal Music Group.
The second season of “The Voice” in the MENA region saw escalating ratings, driven by young auds “which was reflected by the voting and the social media platforms in the Arab world,” said MBC spokesman Mazen Hayek.
Martin, who arrived by private jet to Beirut where he made an overnight stop, offered the winner some advice before exiting the stage amid an audience frenzy and vowing to back in the Arab world “very soon.”
“My advice to the artist who wins tonight is: keep your focus, be surrounded by good people, and fight to bring your music to the rest of the world,” he said.
Young Iraqi singers featured prominently on “The Voice Arabia” this year. Two out of four finalists were from the country which has a rich musical heritage, a revival of which could help it rise from the ashes of war.
“It’s something that gives them more hope,” said the show’s host, Egyptian actor Mohamed Karim.
But Karim pointed out that several countries across the Arab world, from which the show’s 100 participants were selected, are enduring very rough living conditions. One of the finalists was from civil war-torn Syria.
Karim also underlined the pan-Arab nature of the show.
“The good thing about ‘The Voice” in this region is you’ve got more than twenty Arabic countries involved. All these countries speaking the same language, it’s kind of hard to find that anywhere else around the world,” he noted.
Though the Middle East does not have an exact TV ratings metric system, Karim said the finale’s audience is estimated to have scored 100 million viewers.