American Singer Wows Arab World

She is American, speaks little Arabic, and has never been to Egypt, says The Guardian. But Jennifer Grout (pictured), 23, has wowed Middle Eastern audiences by reaching the final of “Arabs Got Talent” – the spin-off of the British and US shows of similar names – with a near-perfect rendition of a song by Egypt’s best-loved singer, Umm Kulthum. Born and raised in Boston, Grout’s Arabic accent has inspired debates about whether she is merely pretending to be a westerner. Her fellow contestants are from different parts of the Middle East, and include Mayam Mahmoud, 18, billed as Egypt’s first hijab-wearing rapper.

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