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Lebanon’s Hiba Tawaji stuns on France’s The Voice



Prominent Lebanese singer Hiba Tawaji’s dazzling debut Saturday on the French version of The Voice granted her a standing ovation from all four judges, who showered the performer with praise.

Tawaji, who shot to fame after collaborating with renowned composer Oussama Rahbani in 2007, hushed the crowd after starting her audition with a sultry performance of Michel Legrand’s Les moulins de mon cœur (The Windmills of my Heart).

Judges Mika and Zazie shot up to their feet and pressed the buzzer the moment the Lebanese signer shifted in to a melodious Arabic rendition of the song. Not long after the other two judges followed suit.

The singer capped her performance by holding a twenty-second long falsetto note that brought all four judges to their feet.

“I’m blushing because you are a great singer,” Mika, who is coincidentally of Lebanese origin, told the singer. The judge lauded the contestant for an “audacious” performance that defied the conventional approach to Arabic music.

Zazie hailed the singer for her style and technique, while Jennifer said: "We want to hear from you again and again, and it's too much."

After being showered in praise by all four judges, the Lebanese singer chose to stick close to home and went with Mika as her mentor. The famous mastermind behind songs like “Relax,” was the most vocal of all the judges in his praise for Tawaji, acknowledging that he had followed her progress on the Lebanese music scene for years.

Tawaji is widely known in Lebanon for her sultry voice and has three albums produced by Rahbani: the most recent album was released in 2014 titled “Ya Habibi.”

Support for the singer surfaced across the country with #HibaIsTheVoice trending on Twitter over the weekend.

Tawaji surfaced in 2007 when she collaborated with Rahbani on several songs. She also showcased her acting skills during an acclaimed musical play in 2011 "Don Quixote," by Marwan, Ghadi and Oussama Rahbani.

Tawaji is not the first Lebanese to audition for The Voice in France. Aline Lahhoud auditioned for the third season in 2014 and won the judges over with her rendition of Lebanese song “Khdne Maak.” Lahhoud, the daughter of prominent singer Salwa al-Katrib, was eliminated in the second round.

Before Lahhoud, Anthony Touma, a French-born Lebanese, also auditioned for the show and progressed far.