Millions Tune In to Afghan 'Idol'
Fans of American Idol -inspired hit back female singer over clerics' objections
By Laurel Jorgensen,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2008 8:40 AM CDT
Rafay Nabzada, left, an "Afghan Star" contestant signs a t-shirt for one of his fans after giving a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan,Tuesday, March 11, 2008.    (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
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(Newser) – More than a third of all Afghans were hooked on this year’s Afghan Star, the nation's version of the TV hit American Idol. Although religious leaders condemned the show for allowing women to perform, viewers voting on cell phones chose a female contestant as one of the top five performers for the first time in the three-season run, reports Time magazine.

“Despite so many decades of crisis and war, Afghan Star proves that we used to have music culture, and we will have it again,” said the female singer, who had never sung before competing on the program. She won third place. The winner, a 19-year-old male singer, won $5,000 and a one-album recording contract.