A contestant in an Afghan talent show has shot to fame thanks to his resemblance to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and even admitted his wife and family members see the likeness.
“I was shocked when I learned I resembled Trudeau, especially when all my friends called and told me that I look like him,” Abdul Salam Maftoon, from the northeastern province of Badakhshan, told CNN.
The 28-year-old wedding singer is currently competing in the television music competition “Afghan Star.”
It was one of the judges on the show who first remarked on Maftoon’s familiar look, turning the singer into an overnight celebrity.
Trudeau is regularly rated as one of the most attractive world leaders. And Maftoon, who has a lot of mouths to feed as a father of four, hopes to gain more business from having a famous doppelganger.
He plans on creating a future “singing act” dressed like the Canadian politician.
Maftoon has been enjoying his new-found fame. “People like to take pictures with me, the media come for interviews with me and they call me Afghan Justin Trudeau,” he said. “I feel very happy about that.”
He also recounted an incident when a complete stranger bought him a suit and said the outfit would help Maftoon look even more like Trudeau.
The singer, who has performed in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and the United Arab Emirates prior to the show, plans on wearing the outfit in an “Afghan Star” episode. “It will be my first time wearing a formal suit,” he said.
As things stand, Maftoon is into the last eight of the competition, with another elimination round to come on Thursday.
If he makes it through, the final will be held on March 21.
Viewers of the show vote for their favorite acts, and so far Maftoon has done well thanks to a selection of romantic folk songs that he performs in both Dari and Pashto, the two official languages of Afghanistan.
His performances have drawn praise from the judges, too.
“His voice is very satisfying. He has that god-gifted vocal ability,” said Afghan-born Canadian musician Qais Ulfat, the judge who first noticed Maftoon’s celebrity doppelganger, according to AFP.
“This guy could be the next Justin Bieber.”
And the singer would also like to meet his lookalike one day.
“I wish to sing a traditional song with our traditional instruments in front of Trudeau,” he said, adding that he hopes the Canadian PM “praises me for it – if I ever met him.”