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Meet The 'Arabs Got Talent' Star Who Doesn't Speak Arabic

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The American singer wowing the Arab world right now isn't Miley Cyrus or Taylor Swift.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

It's Jennifer Grout on "Arabs Got Talent." And she's not exactly fluent in Arabic.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "ARABS GOT TALENT")

BLOCK: There were sideways glances when this blonde-haired woman from Massachusetts appeared. Judges joked that her English and the oud - the instrument she was holding - didn't quite compute.

CORNISH: Then she started to play.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "ARABS GOT TALENT")

CORNISH: Jennifer Grout is a fresh graduate of the music program at McGill University in Montreal. Her voice teacher tells us she wanted Grout to sing opera but...

THERESE SEVADJIAN: She came up with saying, you know, I'm working in a restaurant and I'm singing. It's an Arabic restaurant. I was surprised, you know.

BLOCK: Therese Sevadjian says after graduation, her student left for the Middle East.

SEVADJIAN: So I wished her good luck and I said, let me know about it.

CORNISH: Then came the video of her student on TV in Lebanon.

SEVADJIAN: I watched it and I was completely in the shock. It was so beautiful.

BLOCK: Now, Jennifer Grout is the American in the finals of "Arabs Got Talent." And it's not just the Arab world that is watching.

CORNISH: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.