'America's Got Talent' Season 17: Lebanese all-female dance troupe the Mayyas take top prize
Season 17 of the popular talent TV show 'America's Got Talent' just got its winner. Lebanese all-female alternative dance troupe called the Mayyas took the top prize. They beat other finalists to clinch the the trophy, which included Sara James (a young Polish singer), Avery Dixon (a saxophonist), Chapel Hart (a three-member country music vocal group), Metaphysic (an AI group), and Krisy Sellars (an Aussie pole dancer). Sellars was the runner-up. As part of their win, the Mayyas took home $1 million and also got an opportunity to headline a show at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The dance troupe was founded by Lebanese choreographer Nadim Cherfan.
With this win, the Mayyas have created history. They are the first act from the Middle East and only the third non-US act to win in 'America's Got Talent'. In their performances, the Mayyas paid a tribute to their home country. Their styles bring together traditional belly dancing and influences from India, the US, and the UK.
In the performance that got them the top award, they were clad in bright, gilded costumes. The victory has come at a time when Lebanon is suffering from economic slumps, political tensions, and corruption. If only for a moment, the whole country united to congratulate the Mayyas.
A fan of the Mayyas called Marie Ziyade told the Associated Press, "I am among Lebanese citizens who over the past three years went through severe financial, psychological, and social crises. I have always had hope in the people of my country, but Mayyas brought me joy.”
'America's Got Talent' was conceived by English TV personality and entrepreneur Simon Cowell who initially pitched it to British television network ITV. But it was 'America's Got Talent' that first came into existence in 2006, and the British version, 'Britain's Got Talent' followed a year later in 2007.
Since then the 'Got Talent' franchise has spawned 69 local versions, including one in India called 'India's Got Talent'.