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Arab Idol's Syrian contestant disappears in Aleppo


09:41, February 07, 2013

DAMASCUS, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- A Syrian singer auditioning for the Arab Idol music show has disappeared after heading to the battered city of Aleppo in northern Syria, the MBC TV said in a statement posted on its website Wednesday.

Without revealing the young man's name, the MBC said the Syrian singer had auditioned for the program in the Lebanese capital Beirut and performed a number of national songs in a "superb voice. "

The Saudi-funded station said the man had asked for a three day "emergency" visit to Aleppo, where he hails from, and was given the consent by the producer on condition to return within three days as the program's new season is set to start soon.

Aleppo, Syria's largest city and economic hub, has been devastated with ongoing clashes between rebels backed by radical groups and the government troops. The rebels' choice for Aleppo was due to its strategic location near the borders with Turkey, the patron of the rebels on ground. The rebels tried to control the city and secure the flow of cash and weapons across the country.

"The program's management is looking for the missing contestant, " the MBC said.

Quoting an employee tasked with communicating with the contestants, the TV said the guy's cell phones are shut off as well as his Facebook page, which is abandoned except from his friends' posts asking about him.

The MBC said that Arab Idol has previously received more than 2, 000 Syrian contestants, most of whom managed to made it through despite the crisis in Syria.

Arab Idol is an Arabic television show based on the popular British show Pop Idol. The first season premiered in December 2011 and was broadcast worldwide on MBC and simultaneously aired on the Lebanese LBC. The live shows are recorded in Beirut, Lebanon.

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