By Michael Ireland, Chief Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
BETHLEHEM (ANS — March 7, 2017) – A Palestinian contestant from Bethlehem has won the Arab Idol contest.
Millions tuned in to watch Yacoub Shahin crowned the fourth Arab Idol as he competed against fellow compatriot Amir Dandan and Yemeni singer Ammar Mohammad.
Shahin followed in the footsteps of compatriot Mohammed Assaf, the winner of season 2 in 2013, and has become the second Palestinian to win the title.
Thousands showed up in Bethlehem where a screen was set up at the Nativity Square, according to Assyrian International News Agency (AINA).
The Syriac-Palestinian grew up in Bethlehem and is part of a small community of Assyrians. He quickly became an audience favorite during the early weeks of competition given his polished look and soulful voice.
“This title is just a name for me because my idols are my compatriots Ammar and Amir. Ammar you’ve raised your country’s name, Yemen, very high and I’m sure they are all proud of you,” he said as the show closed for a final time this season.
The show’s host confirmed the season 4’s finale had the largest number of votes in all seasons that show has run.
The Arab Idol winner’s prize will include a chance to join the Arab world’s biggest celebrities on the entertainment cruise ship Stars On Board, and a recording contract with Platinum Records.
“I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to make Yemen happy today with a win but I’m very happy for Palestine, they deserve it a lot,” Ammar Mohammed told Al Arabiya’s Jamil Daher immediately following the end of the show.
Photo Captions: 1) Yacoub Shahin, an Assyrian from Bethlehem, won the Arab Idol competition. (Photo: Reuters via AINA). 2) Michael Ireland
About the Writer: Michael Ireland is a volunteer internet journalist serving as Chief Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, as well as an Ordained Minister who has served with ASSIST Ministries and written for ANS since its beginning in 1989. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China, and Russia. Please consider helping Michael cover his expenses in bringing news of the Persecuted Church, by logging-on to: https://actintl.givingfuel.com/ireland-michael
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