Afghanistan music fans hail trailblazing talent show ‘Afghan Star’

Source:AFP Published: 2017/3/23 18:33:40

Music fans in conservative Afghanistan Wednesday hailed the finale of a popular television singing competition, in which the first woman to reach the last round lost to another avant-garde competitor. 

Afghan Star, an adaptation of American Idol, has become a huge hit in a nation where the Taliban regime once confined women to their homes and banned music and cinema.

But since its launch in 2005, four years after the fall of the Taliban, it has also suffered a backlash from mullahs for the way it features unveiled women singing and dancing.

Zulala Hashemi, 18, burst into tears as the result - decided by public vote - was announced during the final aired Tuesday.

Her rival Sayed Jamal Mubarez, a 23-year-old from the persecuted Hazara minority who became the first rap artist to win the contest, was gallant in victory.

As Hashemi took refuge in the arms of her biggest supporter, Afghan pop star Aryana Sayeed, Mubarez dismissed his own achievement to praise the young woman.

"I am very happy I won the first position, but would have been happier if Zulala had come first, because the women here live with a lot of restrictions," he told an audience sprinkled with celebrities as he accepted his award.

Mubarez then turned to Zulala and, to wild cheers from the audience, handed her the award.

A woman came in third place in 2008 but since then no female singer has gone beyond eighth position.

The 12-week competition was watched by millions of viewers and fans on social media Wednesday said the final had been groundbreaking, no matter who won.

"By giving the award to Zulala, Mubarez said no to the face of all those who are against women and national unity," wrote Facebook user Nasima Sadat.

Posted in: MUSIC

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