US Singer Reaches Arab Talent Show Final
An American singer who cannot speak Arabic has finished runner-up in the TV show Arabs Got Talent after wooing audiences across the Middle East.
The renditions of classical Arab songs by Jennifer Grout, from Boston, Massachusetts, ensured she was among the three finalists in the popular show.
First prize in the pan-Arab contest went to Syrian dance troupe Sima for a performance portraying the autocratic rule of veteran leaders in the Middle East, the MBC network announced.
But Grout - the only non-Arab to compete - finished close behind along with Palestinian artist Mohammad al Diri, who captured audiences by drawing portraits of prominent Arab and international figures using original and diverse techniques.
"I learnt so much and I never expected to get this far," she said after the final.
"To me, it is just such a privilege to be performing in front of all these people and the judges.
"I am now just enjoying these moments and later I will sit down and think of what to do next."
The 23-year-old, who taught herself to sing difficult and popular Arab songs without speaking a word of the language, impressed audiences with her voice.
She grew up in a musical home and came across Arab music after reading an online article about Arab diva Fairouz from Lebanon.
She was enthralled by her voice and soon discovered other singers.
Grout said that despite not speaking Arabic, she learned the lyrics to the songs after finding translations for them on the internet.
She has also learned to play the oud, a traditional string instrument.