This year I watched the TV show “American Idol” all the way through – from the amusing first rounds (complete with horrendous singing and blindness inducing outfits) to the somewhat disappointing finale (my favourite was out of the running so I wasn’t that interested by then). Despite the fact that the show has now had it’s TWELFTH season it is the first time I have persisted with watching it (no judgements please!) I think I mostly enjoyed Keith Urban’s presence as eye-candy, and the continual bitchiness between Maria Carey and Nicki Minaj. I can’t imagine what it must be like to go from nobody to a household name over a period of a few months. Scary, and exciting, I would imagine.
Of course Idols is a show that has been replicated in several places around the world, I know there is a South African version and one in the UK called Pop Idol. We even have an official Arabic version in the Middle East called Arab Idol. So imagine my surprise this week when I heard about the SEVENTH season of Camp Ka Champ. Yup. A singing competition in Dubai known as “Dubai Idol”. For the Labourers. It kinda sounds like a Bollywood slash Urdu version of the Idols format.
The competition is sponsored by Western Union and takes place over all 7 of the Emirates, and has grown in popularity from humble beginnings (the first year involved just three companies in four camps). The contest lasts nearly four months and is free for all workers, culminating in a grand finale in October. Blue-collar workers belt out Bollywood and other Hindi and Urdu songs as amateur singers, and this year over 3,000 labourers from 80 labour camps (belonging to 15 companies) will be taking part. The two idols who win the competition will be given an impressive array of prizes, including cash, TV sets, music systems and free Western Union cash transfers. Last year a compilation CD of the best singers of the contest was also made and given out to the camps that took part.
In fact someone has even made a documentary about this which I discovered once I Google-d the story; the trailer is here on Youtube.
I am still amazed that this is the first year I have heard about it. But what a great idea!
Good luck guys.