Dubai labourers enjoy the spotlight at Smart Idol talent show

The 2017 finale of Smartlife’s talent competition, Smart Idol, saw representatives from facility management firms Farnek and Transguard come out on top

The Smart Idol 2017 winners, Pankaj Singh from Farnek and Zulfiqar Ali from Transguard.
The Smart Idol 2017 winners, Pankaj Singh from Farnek and Zulfiqar Ali from Transguard.

Dubai’s unsung heroes enjoyed the spotlight at Smart Idol, a competition organised to showcase the talents of emirate’s blue-collar labourers, with representatives from facility management firms Farnek and Transguard coming out on top in the Dance and Singing categories at the 2017 finale.

Organised by SmartLife, an NGO licensed by the Community Development Authority, Smart Idol took place over nine months, an involves the auditioning of more than 1,500 labourers for their singing and dancing talent from across over a dozen labour camps in Dubai.

At the finale, however, the day though belonged to Pankaj Singh from Farnek who emerged winner in the Dance category and Zulfiqar Ali from Transguard who triumphed in the Singer category. Each winner also walked away with a cash prize of 5,000 dirham.

All of the finalists will now become a part of the SmartBand, which will give them the opportunity to perform at various corporate events and functions. For all of the talent, it was about self-realisation and the opportunity to build up a greater sense of self-esteem and self-worth.

Ali, commented “SmartIdol was an opportunity beyond my wildest dreams. Once chosen as a finalist for the finale, I waited impatiently all through the week for the practice sessions and the big day.

“The training I got, and the way my singing has changed make me feel so blessed. Smart Idol gave me the feeling that I too am somebody and for that I feel grateful.’’

Singh said: “It was like a dream come true when I walked on to the stage and saw 1,000 people. It has always been my dream to show my talent to a larger audience, but never knew how to reach there. SmartLife and Smart Idol gave me this stage and this win has reinforced my confidence in myself.”

Indrani Dasgupta, project lead for Smart Idol, also found it enriching, and noted: “I worked alongside an amazing team, and we unearthed some impressive talents from the labour camps in Dubai.

“I can say with pride that this will prove to be a journey of complete transformation for not just the winners, but for every finalist who went on stage during our Idol finale.”

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