The Late Movies: Un-American Idols

Ransom Riggs

It's easy to forget, what with the iron grip American Idol seems to have on our airwaves every year, that the series is a franchise reproduced in a lot of other nations. In fact, there are dozens of Idol shows around the world (a friend of mine used to edit New Zealand Idol) and I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some winners from other countries. How do you think they stack up?

I'll start with Raffi Ohanion, the latest winner of Armenian Idol.

Kim Verson recently won Croatian Idol (known locally as Hrvatska traži zvijezdu).

Elie Bitar was recently crowned Arabic Superstar, which is the Arab world's version of Idol.

Hady Mizra won Asian Idol in 2007 (after winning Singapore Idol the previous year).

Serbian Idol? Yep, they've got that, too.

There's even a Vietnam Idol.

Amarkhuu Borkhuu is a Mongolian singer who won Russian Idol in 2006. Does it say something sad about the homogeneity of Western culture that this sounds pretty much identical to something you might hear on a pop music station in the U.S.?