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10 December 2023

Arab Idol's Ahlam Al Shamsi plans to be Arab World's Oprah Winfrey

Emirati singer and host of MBC’s Arab Idol Ahlam Al Shamsi. (TWITTER)

By Roopesh Raj

The 12th Arab media Forum has likely given birth to the next TV superstar – the Arab World’s own Oprah Winfrey.

Speaking as a panelist at the last session of the two-day meet Ahlam Al Shamsi, host of MBC’s Arab Idol, told the audience, “I plan to be the next Oprah with a similar show.”

Emirati singer and host of MBC’s Arab Idol Ahlam Al Shamsi. (TWITTER)

Fellow panelist Ali Jaber, group TV Director MBC, was listening carefully and having earlier noted that “Ahlam had made not fatal mistakes as host of the popular Arab Idol”, might well have a production team in place soon.

Ahlam had the 1,000-strong audience on her side and every time moderator Wafaa El Kilany attempted to push her on a strong question, fans from the audience would jump in with applause and echoes of support.

Ahlam did not need it though. “I have come ready for a fight,” she said, much to the delight of the crowd and the fear of El Kilany.

Emirati singer and host of MBC’s Arab Idol Ahlam Al Shamsi. (TWITTER)

Ahlam wore her heart on her sleeve the whole session, defending her love for jewellery by drawing on her tough rise to the top. “We did not even have Dh500 to pay the electricity bill,” she declared.

At the suggestion that her opulent fashion sense distanced her from her grassroots following, she quipped, “What, is it because I am elegant? Must I be shabby to connect to with people?”

When asked about her million dollar wardrobe she countered that people were obsessed with her and while these same people were one day in London the next in Paris, she was only at home.

That Ahlam has a following is not in doubt. This, by her own admission.

As much as Arab Idol has made Ahlam, Ahlam has made Arab Idol thanks to the social media explosion.

“I only joined social media a year ago. Now I am social media,” she said, adding, “I have 15 million followers on Twitter and a million followers on Instagram. I have to block some people otherwise I will have 5 million followers on Instagram.”

The Arab Oprah already has the audience. All she needs now is the show.


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