In this photograph taken on March 9, 2017, young Afghan singer Zulala Hashemi (R) stands alongside competitor Sayed Jamal Mubarez as they perform during the television music competition 'Afghan Star' in Kabul. / AFP / Anne CHAON /
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Smokey-eyed Zulala Hashemi, standing tall in four-inch gold heels, wants to sing for women.Hashemi, a native of eastern Jalalabad -- a stronghold of Taliban and Islamic State insurgents -- will face off against the first rapper of the competition in Monday's final.Their clash will be one of the most trailblazing in the popular show's 12-year history.Afghan Star, Tolo's adaptation of "American Idol", has been a huge hit in conservative Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime that banned music and cinema.A woman came in third place in 2008, and since then no female singer has gone beyond 7th or 8th position, said Omid Nezami, the show's presenter and a former contestant.In the semi-finals, Aryana Saeed took to the stage, intoning a new song dedicated to Farkhunda and Rukshana -- two Afghan women who were beaten to death and became a symbol of endemic violence against women.The final of the show will be live Monday, on the eve of the Afghan New Year.
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