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American singer loses 'Arabs Got Talent' to Syrian dance troupe

UPI News Service, 12/08/2013 

A 23-year-old American singer, who won praise for singing traditional Arab songs, lost the top prize in "Arabs Got Talent" to a Syrian dance troupe.

Jennifer Grout, of Massachusetts, was one of the top-three finalists Saturday in Beirut, Lebanon, but ultimately lost to the Sima dancing group, CNN reported Sunday.

"I'm really happy I was in the top three and it was such a good experience, but I'm so happy for Sima because they deserved it," Grout said.

Grout earned support for choosing to sing classic Arabic songs even though she barely sings the language. Most singers in the competition chose to perform more Western music, CNN said.

"Jennifer's achievement is something that's made me very happy," said Lebanese singer Najwa Karam, one of the show's judges. "It shows music is universal. When it comes to the arts, there are no barriers between us and any other people in the world."

The fact that Grout is American caused some to question why she was allowed in the competition.

Grout said she first began singing Arabic music three years ago, and moved to Morocco to learn Berber music and sing in Marrakesh's Jemaa el Fnaa Square, CNN said.

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