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Last updated: 26 april, 2010 - 11:53 GMT

The sensation at Saudi Arabia's Pop Idol for poets

Hissa Hilal (left) and other poets on TV show Million's Poet

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The Saudi Arabian poet Hissa Hilal caused a sensation in the Arab world when she appeared on the TV talent show Million's Poet.

The format is a kind of Pop Idol for poets.

Dressed in a full burqa, with only her eyes showing, Hissa performed poetry that attacked religious extremism. She also denounced conservative clerics for their stance on women's rights, freedom of the press and their message on terror.

Hissa Hila on TV show Million's Poet

Hissa Hilal in full burqa on TV show 'Million's Poet'

Despite receiving death threats from some viewers, Hissa was praised by the all-male panel of judges.

She went on to win a place in the final, where she gained the highest marks from the judges but was reduced to third place after a viewers' vote. Even so, she took home prize money of more than $700,000.

Matthew Bannister spoke to Hissa on the line from Riyadh about the competition.

Hissa Hilal on Saudi Arabia's TV talent contest Million's Poet

Hissa Hilal on Saudi Arabia's TV talent contest Million's Poet

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