By Anwar Nizar
By Anwar Nizar
Seattle, Washington – Last Thursday the 12th prime of popular Middle Eastern singing competition, Star Academy, in its 10th season, left Moroccan viewers and most of the Arab world stunned.
The night marked the exit of Moroccan contestant, Ibtissam Tiskat, from the show. She went up against Tunisian contestant, Ghada Jreidi, and was portrayed as having received less votes, leaving viewers perplexed. This triggered vicious attacks against the show and Endemol, it’s production, from viewers who believe the voting process was rigged.
A main debate in this case is that before the results were revealed. CBC, the broadcasting channel and the official Star Academy pages tweeted calling for fans to vote for their favorite contestant. Ibtissam was initially given the number 2 and Ghada the number 1 throughout the week. However, this tweet stated that Ibtissam’s number was 1 and Ghada’s was 2, a last minute switch. The tweets were later removed but the damage had already been done.
Now, bogus claims like these are generated around every show of this nature. When a contestant leaves, his or her following are quick to play the ‘rigged’ card. But this case is different for various pieces of evidence lead to this inevitable truth.
The format of this show places the contestants in a house where they are broadcasted to the Arab world 24/7, with all their words and actions monitored. Last week, a scene was broadcasted with the two nominated contestants speaking in vague terms to try and slip through the censorship. The conversation included Ghada asking Ibtissam if she had told the production ‘of her decision’. Various videos where thus complied on YouTube containing that, and various other clips, which show the contestants implying the process being rigged.
But what’s even fishier is that Endemol Middle East left none of these videos on YouTube and put down each and every one of them, which raises even more questions. What are they trying to hide? The vicious attacks didn’t end there, viewers of the show demanded their countries to bar the show from any forthcoming castings and threatened to stage protests in case the show was allowed to conduct them.
This clearly made an effect on the production, for the eliminated contestant was quickly called in to record an audio message requesting the viewers to stop the attacks; the video was uploaded to the show’s YouTube channel, something that has never happened in the show’s entire history.
But, the protest and attacks did not die down and are still growing. A campaign calling for banning the show has reached over 6,000 likes on Facebook in less than 72 hours and a petition calling for the Moroccan government to prevent the show from entering the country has reached over 1,300 signatures in 24 hours. This greatly tarnishes the image Endemol International boasts around the world. Where Endemol International claims that reliability is greatly important to them, Endemol Middle East clearly does not share the same views as it continues to place entertainment value over credibility.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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