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Former student in 'Arab Idol' trials

by Shelly Awaya, Business editor


American Idol reject William Hung did an appallingly bad rendition of a song by Ricky Martin called “She Bangs,” and achieved instant fame, a record deal, an album, and fans who are going crazy over him. In contrast, last spring Hawai‘i’s genuinely talented Jasmine Trias trod a long, bumpy, and “pitchy” road every Tuesday and Wednesday nights on Fox, and despite having thousands of Hawai‘i fans rooting for her, she was bumped from the finals.


A member of HPU’s own extended ‘ohana, Ranine El Chaar, 22, a former economics major now living at home in Lebanon, has been pursuing her own shot to be the next Arabian Idol. She has made it to the third and final round of Superstar, a Middle East franchise spin off equivalent to our American Idol.

Chaar attended HPU from fall 2000 through fall 2001. She had to return home without finishing her degree, but she enjoyed Hawai‘i and HPU so much that she’s been telling reporters about her time at HPU since making it to the Superstar finals. “HPU has been a big part of my life,” said Chaar on Lebanese television.

Chaar was one of 82 talents who made it through the long process of auditioning 60,000 Superstar hopefuls. In April, she proved her staying power by progressing to the third and final found of the competition.

“ Whatever you can do or dream you can do,” Chaar said. “Start it now because your heart is in your dream and no request is too extreme.” She believes this positive frame of mind is what has taken her so far in life, despite the struggles, as well as motivated her in the Superstar competition.

Although Chaar has been away from Hawai‘i for a while, she still misses it a lot. “It was always my dream to graduate from the land of beauty and a university with such cultural richness,” said Chaar. “I hope someday I will return to Hawai‘i.”

Superstar scoured more than 15 Arabic states for singing talents worthy enough to hold the title.
Instead of being critiqued by a panel of judges such as Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, and Simon Cowell, Chaar had to sing in front of two juries: one comprised of teachers from the Lebanese National Conservatory, the other comprised of three great oriental musicians.

Chaar said she’s not thinking too much about her future after Superstar because she lives for today. Currently a law student in Lebanon, she knows that dedication to the task at hand is what takes you to the next level.

“ I always think only about the step I am living right now,” she said, “because as much as I focus on the present moment and do it well, I will harvest the good fruits of my labor later on.”

For more information on Char’s progress, and photos, visit Superstar’s Web site at

Editor’s note: The Web site is in Arabic, without English translations.



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