I love music. Doesn’t matter if I don’t understand the lyrics, because I mostly listen to the melody and voice anyway. But my taste in music is far from cool or alternative – no, I can proudly say that I love mainstream music. Radio stations and top lists on Spotify, that’s all I need!

And I think that’s why I have come to love Afghan Star so much. I may not understand much of what the judges or contestants say, but I really love the music on this TV show, which has become super popular and totally mainstream in Afghanistan.

Produced by and aired on Tolo TV, Afghan Star has been around since 2005, and has since swept away many Afghan (and at least one Swedish) hearts. Much like in any Idol singing show, male and female participants compete to become the next Afghan singing star. Genres range from various classical forms of Afghan music to contemporary Afghan pop.

The show represents not only the increased and common interactions between the genders in Afghanistan, but also promotes positive exchanges between the country’s ethnic groups. All ethnic groups are invited to participate, and may all perform their traditional music genres and dress in their traditional clothes. Afghan Star represents not only the progress of the country, but also a new form of unity for a formerly divided Afghan population. More than that, it represents the normality of a country that is all too often viewed with negativity by Western populations.

I first started watching this show during season 9, in 2013-2014. And ever since then, Rabiullah Behzad has been my all-time favorite.

Now, although I don’t follow the show as regularly as I used to, my dream is still to one day sit in the audience during the recording of an Afghan Star episode!

Totally mainstream, I know. I can’t help it.

Are you as mainstream as I am? Then check out all the Afghan Star videos here!