A Lebanese has for the first time won the top prize in the talent show Star Academy after fans voted for Joseph Attieh giving him an overwhelming majority over the other contestants.
Attieh, 19, got 55,15 percent of the votes that qualified him by a large margin to win the title of "Star" in the show’s third year that ended Friday.
The radio and TV production student received a trophy, $50,000 in cash and a brand new car.
Attieh’s competitors Hani Hussein from Egypt and Hana el-Idrissi from Morocco respectively received 29.2 and 16.65 percent of the votes.
The reality TV show, hosted by Lebanon‘s LBCI satellite television network, is an Arabic adaptation of the French television show Star Academy. It was launched in 2003 and has become one of the most widely viewed programs all over the Arab world.
Youth from all over the region participate in the contest that is broadcast to almost all Arab countries. Viewers call in or send text messages to choose their favorite candidates.
After four months of tough competition, a winner is announced. The first year Mohammad Attieh from Egypt grabbed the title and was succeeded by Saudi Arabia‘s Hisham Abdel Rahman.
Lebanese youth jubilated after one of their own was selected as this year’s "star." In Attieh’s northern coastal hometown of Batroun, thousands of people gathered outdoors Friday night anxiously awaiting the news on a huge screen.
When the results were finally announced, festivities spread to neighboring towns and villages where people poured into the streets and celebrated by dancing the traditional Lebanese "Dabkeh" and lighting fireworks.
Star Academy 3 began on December 23 featuring a group of 19 young men and women. Their number declined as each participant was voted out on every prime show aired Friday evening.
Beirut, Updated 10 Apr 06