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

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.

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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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