It is a bittersweet win for dancing group Mayyas, as their home country of Lebanon has been plagued by disaster after disaster, as well as a series of corrupt governments which have brought the economy there to its knees.
Yet on Thursday night they bagged the top award, winning the TV competition America's Got Talent and the US $1M prize that goes with it. They are the first Arab participants to win AGT and only the third non-American act to ever win the competition.
Of course, as US tax laws go, the actual award they will receive, stated on the show's disclaimer is "the prize, which totals $1,000,000, payable in a financial annuity over forty years, or the contestant may choose to receive the present cash value of such annuity." So they'll hardly get rich, once you divide the earnings among the troupe's thirty dancers, as well as their choreographer Nadim Cherfan.
Mayyas is an all-female dance act and they secured the top spot after they received the most audience votes, beating out the other ten finalists. Their routine incorporated traditional belly dancing movies, with contemporary visuals and a dizzying Arabic sound.
“Lebanon, this one’s for you,” the group said on their Instagram page following their win in the two-hour finale.
Judges on this year's competition were Simon Cowell, Sofia Vergara, Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel -- and they all seemed mesmerized by the dancers.
Founded by Cherfan from students of his dance classes, which he started in 2012, Mayyas appeared on the sixth season of Arabs Got Talent in 2019, where they also walked away with the top prize.