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Afghan Version of American Idol Creates a New Superstar

Najibullah Mahmoodi will always remember the night of Feb. 6, 2007, the night he became the new Afghan Star. Narrowly beating runner up Surosh Nawa Mahmoodi, Najibullah is the winner of the second season of the nation’s popular talent competition, Afghan Star, broadcasted on TOLO TV.

Najibullah is a 25 year old student at Balkh University. He received 150,000 Afghanis (US $3000), a Barbud Music recording contract plus professional and academic scholarships, a new wardrobe, mobile phone and a winner’s tour of neighboring Kazakhstan. Nawa, 22 from Kabul, also leaves the show with prizes that include: 100,000 Afghanis (US$2000), a Barbud Music recording contract and other prizes.

“I would definitely say that Afghan Star is the best way for the young to prove themselves in their musical talents, and I thank TOLO TV for making this program” said Najibullah. “I have to thank the viewers who voted for me, my family and TOLO TV for the opportunity and their support over the last few months”.

The second season of Afghan Star had over 1800 audition hopefuls from six cities, including Kabul, Kandahar and Peshawar. The show’s final had an estimated 90% of the viewing population plus millions more from neighboring countries, such as India, Pakistan, and the UAE, who this year was able to choose their favorites by SMS voting.


But Mahmoodi and Nawa weren’t the only ones to gain a record contract from the show. Contestant Farida Tarana was acknowledged as the best female Afghan Star contestant and was awarded 25,000 Afghanis (US$500) and a Barbud Music recording contract. Farida is a high school graduate from Heart and is on her way to recording her first single. “I want to be a good singer in order to communicate to the world the oppressed voices of my fellow countrymen and women,” she said.

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