Published On: Sun, Apr 26th, 2015

The 5 is no. 1 in the Middle East

The 5: From left, clockwise: BMD, Said Karmouz, Adel Echibi, Ahmed Hassan and Kazem Chamas Courtesy of MBC Group

The 5: From left, clockwise: BMD, Said Karmouz, Adel Echibi, Ahmed Hassan and Kazem Chamas Courtesy of MBC Group

They’re a young and talented group of singers who originally auditioned forThe X Factor Middle East as soloists. The 5 are Ahmed Hassan from Egypt, Adel Echibi from Morocco, Kazem Chamas from Lebanon and the Algerian duo Said Karmouz and BMD. Young girls across the Arab world are already crazy about them; declarations of love abound on their YouTube videos, Instagram pictures and Facebook updates. Their selfies are shared no less than 500 times in the span of a few hours. And we’ve discovered five Facebook pages created by fans – two of which are closed and require a membership request – and all of which have members in the thousands.

The 5, who were one of the most popular acts on the first live episode ofThe X Factor that was broadcast on April 18, talk to The National about their newfound game, adding a dance element to their performance, and the inevitable comparison to One Direction.

What was your initial reaction to the news that the judges wanted you to join together as a group rather than continue as solo performers?

At first there was disappointment, it was so scary and weird. But now we are The 5.

Do you think of yourselves as the Arab version of One Direction?

We like this comparison with One Direction but we are not a copy and we are not trying to be the same. We are not fans, but we like their stories and music.

How do you choose what songs you will sing as a group?

We choose our songs that show our voices the best. And at the same time we change the subjects. And not all of us speak Arabic very well.

What’s the best part about being part of The X Factor?

Becoming The 5.

How is Donia Ghanem helping you out as your mentor and coach?

She gives us new ideas and she always makes sure that the songs are perfect for us. We learnt from Donia how to be famous and down to earth.

Did you expect to have such a huge fan base going crazy over you, and so quickly?

No, we didn’t expect that. It makes us feel happy. And sure we are worried about our privacy but it is a nice feeling being a public figure.

Will you stick to singing in Arabic?

We hope to try English and French.

How well do you all get along?

We are doing very well. And it is normal to have small conflicts with your brothers.

What’s your biggest wish for The 5 moving forward – other than winning The X Factor?

Winning a music award.

Who do you all agree is the best-looking one – the lady’s man – in the group?

All of us.

The second live episode of The X Factor, which will determine whether The 5 will continue in the competition or be voted off, will air on Saturday April 25 at 10pm on MBC4

Above article originally appeared in The National by Hala Khalaf


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