Now United, the global pop group formed by “American Idol” creator Simon Fuller, has added a new member: 18-year-old Nour Ardakani from Lebanon.
Ardakani will become Now United’s 16th member following a Pepsi-sponsored search for a new member from the Middle East and North Africa that began last year. The group has a following of 20 million fans worldwide, and scored a best group nomination during the MTV Video Music Awards in New York last month.
Thousands of candidates from across the MENA region were reviewed before 13 hopefuls were invited to participate in a virtual audition last week under Fuller’s guidance, according to a Now United statement.
Fuller, choreographer Kyle Hanagami and casting director Kerrie Mailey then picked Ardakani after hearing her perform a new Now United song titled “Habibi.”
Ardakani, who currently lives with her family in Beirut, will join other Now United members later this week in Dubai to record and film new music to follow the group’s hit “Feel It Now.”
“In Nour, I have found a remarkable young performer,” Fuller said in the statement, in which he went on to praise her as “a wonderful, pure singer with gentle emotion and warmth.”
“However, it is her personality that impressed me the most,” Fuller added. “She has a calm confidence, a maturity and intelligence far in advance of her age.”
“I’m so grateful for this opportunity to join Now United, to do what I love and represent the country that I love,” said Ardakani.
“Singing and dancing is my passion and to be given the chance to do that with so many amazing talents from different countries and cultures is a dream come true for me,” she added.
Introduced by Fuller in 2017, Now United’s existing group members represent 15 different countries across the globe: Mexico, Brazil, South Korea, Russia, China, U.K., India, Philippines, U.S., Germany, Finland, Japan, Canada, Senegal and Australia. Lebanon now joins as Now United’s 16th represented nation.