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

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A Massachusetts woman is getting a lot of attention in the Arab world where she's advanced to the final of Arabs Got Talent. Jennifer Grout can't speak Arabic, but she sings flawlessly in 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")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Foreign language spoken)

JENNIFER GROUT: Sorry?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What's your name?

GROUT: Jennifer.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: How old are you?

GROUT: I'm 23.

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")

GROUT: (Singing in foreign language)

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.

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