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Last Updated: Monday, 18 August, 2003, 23:38 GMT 00:38 UK
Jordanian wins Arab 'Idol'

Jordan's Diana Karzon
Millions of viewers watched Jordan's Diana Karzon win the show
Jordanian fans poured into the streets and let off fireworks on Monday in honour of a teenage singer who won a televised Pop Idol-style contest that has gripped the Arab world.

Jordan's Diana Karzon, 19, became a national celebrity by winning the Superstar talent show run by Lebanon's Future Television.

At the final in Beirut on Monday, Karzon beat Syria's Rowaida Attiyeh, 20, thanks to viewers' votes by telephone, text message and online via the internet, according to the Associated Press.

Karzon won 52% of the 4.8 million votes after day-long coverage of the contest's final programme on Future Television, owned by Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The show has been a big hit among Arabs worldwide, but temperatures have run high.

Last week about 150 angry fans of Lebanese contestant Melhem Zein gathered outside a Beirut television studio after he lost out in the semi-final.

Moving success

The two female finalists fainted during the fracas and were taken to hospital, according to witnesses.

The contest lasted 21 weeks, with the thousands of contestants from all Arab countries being voted down to 12 finalists from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, and a Palestinian.

Ali Jaber, executive manager of Future Television, told AP that the huge success of the programme had put the station ahead of others in the Arab world.

"There isn't a television programme that moved the Arab world like that," he said.

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