Band members to bathroom singers across the UAE will converge at Chi @ The Lodge this weekend for a chance to croon their way to the American Idol finale in Los Angeles on May 22.
Star Middle East, which is the live broadcaster of the reality-based singing show in the region, is organising a mock Dubai Idol competition that will see hopefuls singing in front of three judges to vie for this top prize. Dubai-based DJ Charl Chaka, along with 92 FM's Mark Huggins and Pakistani singer Ali Zafar will fill-in the shoes for Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. And in case you're wondering, Huggins is pencilled in to pull a Cowell, complete with the infamous wit and the biting comments.
Saadia Bokhari, Star ME Vice-President, Middle East and Africa, tells Emirates Business: "This competition is being held to create an awareness for the show on Star World. We wanted to create an opportunity for local audiences to connect with the show and the Idol competition in LA."
Anyone could register by logging on to www.starselect.com, as long you are over 21 years and can sing in English. Bokhari says more than a 1,000 entries poured in from around the world.
While everyone could not be accommodated, Bokhari says there are plans to expand the competition to other Middle East countries.
Talking about the travel restrictions imposed by the United States on some nationalities, Bokhari says: "We do not take responsibility for visas. Star picks up the airfare and accommodation expenses but they need to arrange their visa's themselves. We will help but we can't guarantee they will be awarded a visa as that's at the discretion of the consulate."
As many hopefuls fine-tune their vocal chords, we caught up with Chaka to give us the inside scoop.
He says: "About 140 people have been short listed to perform and I fully expect to be surprised by the talent."
An inside source also tells us that depending on time, the judges will accept walk-ins on both days. The auditions begin on Friday at 2.30pm.
Talking about the future of reality shows in the region, Chaka says: "The day isn't far when we have a full-fledged Dubai Idol competition. In Dubai, anything is possible."