UAE: Over 2,000 labour camp workers audition for talent show

Saman Haziq /Dubai Filed on August 17, 2021
Supplied photo

The show aims to find the finest talent among aspiring male and female blue-collar workers in the UAE through a virtual platform.

Labour camps in the UAE are once again abuzz with dancing and singing blue-collar workers. They have begun participating in auditions (virtual) for the 10th edition of the hugely popular talent show for workers in the country - Smart Idol, a unique platform to unearth some super performing stars from among the unsung heroes.

This year, around 2,000 workers across 30 labour camps are auditioning in singing and dancing categories before they reach the grand finale where they will get the chance to win cash and fame at the talent hunt. 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 this year and will conclude on October 8 with the grand finale.

An excited participant from Uganda, Sarah Apio, who works as a facilities supervisor, said: “I started singing at the age of 9 and was in the church choir. Since then, I developed a passion for singing. ‘Smart Idol’ helps to develop the talent and shy people can become stars. The training imparted through this platform has helped me improve my skills immensely.”

Nirmala Gurung from Nepal, who works as a housekeeping staff in Dubai, said she has been a performer since childhood but wasn’t able to pursue her dreams due to financial constraints.

“I used to dance since a young age and perform at marriages in our villages. ‘Smart Idol’ is an excellent initiative and I plan to participate again this year. Of course, I need to practice a lot to get back. I would like to thank the whole ‘Smart Idol’ team and especially my trainers who have made me the confident performer I am today,” Gurung added.

Indian national Umesh Pal, who works as a metal bending machine operator, said he was participating in the talent show for the second time because of his pleasant experience he had previously.

“By participating in ‘Smart Idol 2020’, I was able to make some new friends and had a great opportunity to learn and interact with people. I was recognised at my workplace and even received an award. It is a welcome initiative in the time of Covid-19 pandemic.”

The prizes

A high-profile jury panel will select the top 12 semi-finalists, who then will be trained and mentored for six weeks by industry professionals to fine tune their skills.

Apart from the coveted title of Smart Idol, winners also stand to win cash prizes worth Dh30,000, exclusive rewards, fame and recognition through intensive media exposure. The winners become part of SmartBand, which gives them the opportunity to participate and perform at corporate events.

Manjula Ramakrishnan, president, SmartLife, the NGO that is hosting the talent show, pointed out: “Knowing how our blue-collar friends wait for this annual event, we are determined to make this a thumping success with huge participation from as many labour accommodations as possible. Through ‘Smart Idol’ when we acknowledge and reward their talents, it leads to greater self-esteem, growing confidence, thus giving them a proud presence in their camps and companies.”

Saman Haziq

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