A demure young woman in a headscarf and two well-behaved young male singers are battling it out for glory on Afghanistan's answer to American Idol, called Afghan Star.
The show on private Tolo TV is drawing millions of viewers despite being condemned as un-Islamic by Kabul's Islamic council of clerics.
On Tuesday, the three finalists were swarmed by hundreds of fans as they signed autographs during a short news conference in Kabul.
"I am dying to see and get the signature of my favourite star," young fan Natasha told Reuters. "It is a golden chance for fans, especially girls, to meet their beloved stars."
A mark of how far Afghanistan has come is that a young woman, Lima Sahar of Kandahar, has made it to the finals.
The former Afghan rulers, the Taliban, considered it un-Islamic for women to sing, or to show their faces in public. Many women in Afghanistan still wear the concealing burka.
Sahar, 18, wearing a headscarf and glitter in her hair, sings Pashtun oldies, though without any dance moves. She appears in public accompanied by her mother.
No suggestive dance moves
"If I win and become rich, I will give the money to the poor," she said at Tuesday's news conference, winning the hearts of fans. "I want to work hard, serve the people and write good songs."
The two male contestants — Rafi Nabzada and Hamed Sakhizada — are cockier, but perform without any of the suggestive dance moves familiar to Western watchers of reality TV music contests.
Daud Sedeqi, a former TV repairman, is host of the show and now one of Afghanistan's biggest stars.
Fans have voted for Sahar, via text message, despite her dubious musical talent.
They may be voting along tribal lines, with the Pashtuns supporting Sahara, while voters of Tajik and Hazara background are voting for the male singers, who are from those tribes, Reuters reported.
Two thousand performers from all over the nation have taken part in the six-month contest, whose winner will be chosen this Friday.