Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat—The X Factor is making a comeback to screens across the Middle East on Saturday evening on MBC after several false starts.
“There is no comparison between a TV show produced by MBC and a show by any other TV channel,” said PR manager and spokesman for MBC Mazen Hayek.
The talent show was previously aired by Saudi channel Rotana in 2006 and Egyptian broadcaster CBC in 2013 but both shows were discontinued after flopping in the rankings against competitors Star Academy and Arab Idol.
The contestants will be divided into three categories: Arabic music, Western music and bands, Hayek told a press conference on Wednesday night in Dubai to announce the show’s launch.
The judges on the latest edition of the show will be Lebanese singing sensations Elissa and Ragheb Alama, and Egyptian actress Dina Samir Ghanem.
The X Factor Arabia was first aired on Rotana TV for two seasons with a jury consisting of singers Khaled Al-Sheikh, Michel Elefteriades, Anoushka and actress Nelly.
The 2013 version on CBC also saw Elissa as judge alongside Wael Kfoury, Hussain Al-Jasmi and Carol Samaha.
Hayek dismisses claims that the show will once again bomb against more popular competitors, “We in the Arab world and Gulf region adore these sorts of shows, especially those that can impress viewers and attract new genuine talents.”
The PR manager hopes the show will serve as a catalyst for promoting musical talent in education across the Middle East. “In the West, when they notice an exceptional talent in some field, they adopt and cultivate it until the individual becomes a star.”
Hayek hinted that ten stars will attract viewers’ attention from the early stages as he believes they all deserve to qualify to the final rounds.
“Ragheb Alama will be responsible for the Western singing category, whilst singer Elissa will be responsible for the Arabic singing category, and actress Dina Samir Ghanem will be responsible for talented bands.”
Emad Abboud is heading up the production team of the all-new version of the X Factor for Dubai-based broadcaster MBC.
Contestants have been chosen from across the Middle East, from the Gulf to North Africa, the majority of whom are teenagers.
The X Factor will air on Saturday March 14, 2015 on MBC 4 at 9:00 pm Saudi time, and on MBC Masr at 10:00 pm Egypt time.