ARY Digital launches 2-nation hunt for Bollywood's singing sensations

MUMBAI: Looks like Sony Entertainment Television's Indian Idol was not the last of the talent hunts launched in search for singing sensations. The latest to join the bandwagon is Dubai based television network ARY Digital. The network has announced the Wannabees, which is a two nation hunt (United Arab Emirates and Pakistan) for Bollywood's two newest singing sensations - a male and a female.

This is for the first time ever that the common man in Pakistan will have the opportunity to directly be scouted into Bollywood.

ARY Digital Network CEO and president Salman Iqbal said, "We are proud to organise and be part of such a stepping stone in Indo-Pak entertainment. Music is one form art and talent that is promoted, supported and appreciated by members of an entire family, we maintain that our programs and events do not alienate any demographic and are genuinely entertaining together for the entire family."

Wannabees has been presented by Saha Dubai Eggs and is supported by Panasonic and Arabian Automobiles, Altima cars in association with Hum FM and Red Square.

As an Indo  Pak venture, the preliminary rounds of Wannabees will be judged by icons of the Pakistani Music Industry  notably the duo of music band Strings and Sajjad Ali among others. The auditions will be open for anyone above 16 years of age.

The schedule of Wannabees is as follows:

* 23 -24 September - Walk in auditions in Karachi Pakistan, where 36 people will be short listed.

* 25 September - Karachi, Pakistan, six finalists selected for Grand final in Dubai to be held on 20 November.

* 28 - 29 September - Walk in auditions in Dubai, UAE, where 36 people will be short listed.

* 30 September - Dubai, UAE, six  finalists selected for Grand final in Dubai to be held on 20 November.

* 19 November  Dubai, UAE. Grand finale between six finalists from Pakistan and six finalists from UAE to crown one female and one male winner.

The winners will get a chance to sing a song in a Bollywood movie, the music of which will be composed by music director Anand Raaj Anand. "This is a landmark event and Im thrilled to be part of it. Music has no limits or borders. No matter where you are from, if you are gifted with sur and taal then we want you! Bollywood music has always been popular among our Pakistani brothers and sisters, I think there is immense talent that just needs to be tapped and promoted further, with the help of our counterparts in Pakistan," says Anand.

"This sure is a first and Strings is honored to be a part of music entertainment history," said Bilal Maqsood of Strings. "Its always great to use music to bridge any gap. Its going to be a blast. If you can sing come sing for us," added Faisal Kapadia of Strings.

The entire event including the auditions in both the countries, as well as the finale in Dubai will be aired around the world in a series of episodes in the coming months on ARY Digital. The television program version will allow viewers to voice their views on the talent being displayed via emails and calls.

Wannabees is the first of a line-up of events that will include promotions, events and shows with the top film stars of Bollywood and then lead into the Bollywood Asian Music Awards to be held in Dubai on 2 December. As the highlights of this years awards, along with the best in Bollywood music and the best in the Pakistani music industry will also be honored.

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