Expect the whole of Abu Dhabi to rush home for a night in front of the telly on Tuesday, as the emirate’s very own reality TV show draws to a nail-biting climax.
Five finalists picked from 7,000 hopefuls will recite their own original compositions on The Million’s Poet, airing on Abu Dhabi TV at 10.30pm. Think of it as American Idol – with traditional poetry. Now in its second season, contestants on the show must compose poems in a traditional Bedouin style called Nabati, which dates back to the fourth century, for a shot at the million-dirham prize.
Over the course of the season’s 15 episodes, participants can write their own poetry – dominant themes include Iraq, Palestine and the UAE’s growth – while in later episodes, the poets are given themes such as love, and honour.
In the two years it has been on air, it has revitalised this dying poetry form, with an estimated 70 million viewers tuning in each week to choose the winner by text message. The die-hard fans simply fly in to the Al Raha Beach Theatre to watch the show live.
The show is produced by Abu Dhabi media house Pyramedia and has been commissioned by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage in line with Abu Dhabi’s efforts to position itself as a global cultural hub.
Surprises, singing and standing ovations were all a part of last week’s show, where judges placed their votes out of 25 for the five remaining contestants. The top percentage of 23 per cent went to Nasr Al Fara’anu, while Khalil Al Tamimi, Aydah Al Thaqafi and Mohammed Al Kaabi each received 22 per cent and Yemeni favourite Amr bin Amru was trailing with a still impressive 21 per cent.
The surprise was last year’s winner, Mohammed bin Fteis, who turned up for a performance and asked to keep the Million’s Poet flag he received as winner. He said he had become so attached to it he would not be able to part with it.
Repeats air on Abu Dhabi TV on Sunday at 8pm, while repeats and behind-the-scenes footage can be viewed on the Million’s Poet channel.
Millions up for grabs in UAE’s Poet Idol