While deadly street battles raged across Lebanon on Friday, a studio audience gathered in the hills above Beirut to watch a live broadcast of “Star Academy”, one of the country’s biggest reality shows. The program, aired on LBC, opened with a patriotic song by pop sensation Carol Samaha–pictured above speaking to the show’s host. When asked to comment on the situation, Samaha (in black) was careful to avoid politics. “What is there to say,” she said, before exiting stage left with a smile.
As the evening progressed, RPGs exploded in the Shouf mountains and civil war seemed imminent. The live show meanwhile, featured a choreographed ‘women in leather and chains’ dance:
Normally, “Star Academy” faces fierce competition from “Superstar” the Arab version of “American Idol” But that show never aired because its carrier, Future Television, remained blank throughout the night after being shut down by militants loyal to the Hezbollah-backed opposition, who continue to control the city.
On the other hand, Hezbollah’s TV channel, Al Manar, aired a painfully over-dramatic Syrian soap.