Dubai: 6 blue-collar workers win Dh30,000 in popular talent show

Around 2,000 workers auditioned in singing and dancing categories for the 10th edition of SmartIdol 2021.


Saman Haziq

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Published: Fri 12 Nov 2021, 6:17 PM

Last updated: Fri 12 Nov 2021, 8:27 PM

UAE’s hugely popular talent show for blue-collar workers called Smart Idol recently concluded its grand finale on a high note, distributing a total prize money of Dh30,000 among six talented workers in different categories of singing and dancing.

From auditions to the grand finale the contest was hosted on a virtual platform, keeping in mind Covid-19 precautions. Registered under the Community Development Authority (CDA) - Dubai, SmartLife along with SmartIdol 2021, was a tribute to the hardworking blue collar workers, who still in these troubled times continue to contribute to Dubai’s infrastructure aspirations.

This year, around 2,000 workers across 30 labour camps auditioned in singing and dancing categories before they reached the grand finale. The show aims to find the finest talent among aspiring male and female blue-collar workers in the UAE through a virtual platform. Auditions for the contest began on August 5, 2021.

After the virtual auditions and quarter finals, ten most talented workers (five in the singing category and five in dancing) were selected for the semi finals. A high-profile jury panel selected the top semi-finalists, who were then trained and mentored for six weeks by industry professionals to fine tune their skills before the grand finale. Out of 10, six semi-finalists made their way to the grand finale.

Hundreds of people watched the grand finale through Smart Life’s Facebook Live platform. While two winners – one from dancing and one from singing category – won Dh10,000 each; four runner ups (two in each category) took home Dh2,500 each.

All six have now become part of a SmartBand, which gives them the opportunity to participate and perform at corporate events.

Indian expat Jayashri Thapa, Smart Idol Season 10 winner in the dance category, works as a reliever/security officer in Transguard: “It is a dream come true and taking home a huge prize money is really great! I will send the whole amount of Dh10,000 to my mother, as I am the only breadwinner of my family. How I wish my dad was still there, but deep in my heart I know he would be so proud of me.”

Bilal Alvi, a Pakistani expat, who has been working as a safety officer at Al Shafar General Trading for the last two years, was crowned Smart Idol Season 10 winner in the singing category.

An excited Bilal said: “I love music. Singing is my passion since my school years. I have improved my singing and gained a lot of confidence from my online training through Smart Idol. Winning Dh10, 000 is another blessing in my life. I will use the cash prize to take care of my parents, who are back home in Pakistan and mean the world to me.”

Expressing his love for music, Umair Maqsood, runner-up in the singing category, said: “I love singing and playing musical instruments. I have participated and won in several competitions and this was the first time that I participated in Smart Idol. Performing on the virtual platform was a great experience.”

Puja Polharel, a Nepali waitress, and Arun Kumar, an Indian support staff both were runners-up in the dancing category.

Calling it an unforgettable experience, Puja said: “I love dancing and always dance in my room whenever I get the chance. This experience will forever remain with me and is something I will cherish for life. I reached the final round in the dancing category and that in itself is an achievement for me.”

“I feel so alive and full of energy when I dance,” exclaimed Arun. "Everytime I hear music, I immediately dance to the tune. Now I always feel like dancing with or without tunes because I can still remember the tunes I danced during the Smart Idol. I want to thank my trainer, who was very patient with me throughout the training period.”

All companies, whose staff participated in the talent show, supported their contestants from the start of auditions till the grand finale. Leading names in the industry like Baseline Sports Academy, DHL, Western Union, Tristar , Lamprell, Pinnacle Hub supported the hugely popular annual programme.

Manjula Ramakrishnan, President, SmartLife said: “Now in its tenth edition, the decade-long program has humbled us as we watch our blue collar friends finish a long day at work, but still show up for our training with a child-like enthusiasm to sharpen their talent and compete. The programme has thus given us more than we can ever give to our friends in labour accommodations.’”

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