Iraqis Cheer Talent Show Victory

The announcement from Lebanon, where the final edition of Star Academy was staged, came just after midnight Friday in Iraq, according to the BBC, which reported that Iraqi Shada Hassoun was this year’s winner.

Hassoun burst into tears and fans stormed the stage as the announcement was made in the Middle East’s version of the popular music show American Idol, according to NPR.

Star Academy is broadcast live from Lebanon and is seen throughout the Middle East.

“Middle East: Beyond the Bombs, An Exploding Pop Culture,” a World Politics Review exclusive last August, detailed the popularity of the show produced by the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation.

WPR also produced this podcast about the popularity of reality television across the Middle East, featuring excerpts of an interview that Senior International Editor Guy Taylor had conducted with Karim Sarkis, LBC’s deputy head of broadcasting.