Maori boy takes Australian Idol!

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Soul singer Stan Walker has triumphed over rock chick Hayley Warner to be crowned the seventh Australian Idol. Walker, 19, was the favourite to win the grand final of the Network Ten singing contest and said he felt “blessed” to win.

“I just want to thank God, man. Hey, I want to thank my family for coming and supporting me. My family they came from New Zealand,” he told the crowd on winning.

Walker, who was born in Melbourne, raised in New Zealand and is now a shop assistant in Coolangatta, Queensland, wins a $200,000 artist’s development fund and a recording contract with Sony, with his single Black Box to be released soon.

Judges Ian Dicko Dickson, Marcia Hines and Jay Dee Springbett praised both contestants, saying it didn’t matter who won because they would both have great careers. Springbett said to Walker after performing: “You’re Stan-bloody-tastic – you’re a star in the making.”

Stan has used music as a way to find redemption. Australians respect that,” Dickson said.

The grand final at the Sydney OperStanWinsCa House saw the top 12 reunite to perform. The two finalists sang with Canadian star Michael Buble, performing his hit song Feeling Good as 6000 fans watched on in the sweltering heat. Last year’s Idol winner, Wes Carr, and singer Mika also performed.

His crowning was met by fireworks and screams from the 4000-strong crowd, but Stan Walker’s Maori family chose a traditional, passionate way to pay tribute to their golden boy.

As the 19-year-old wept on stage, his family burst into an impromptu haka at his feet, celebrating their favourite son from the Gold Coast, via New Zealand. Their sheer numbers would have got him over the line against Sydney runner-up Hayley Warner, with 300 of Walker’s relatives flying in to support his final run at this year’s ifIdolnf title.

You’ve got to remember six months ago this kid was working in a menswear store on the Gold Coast,” his cousin Tama Ohia told The Daily Telegraph.

“This opportunity has changed his life and it will change his family’s life now. We’re so proud of him.”

Walker shared his painful family history during the competition, likening his upbringing to the violent scenes from Once Were Warriors. Winning Idol, he said, would be his “great escape.”
Australian Idol host Andrew G confirmed the show will be back next year despite rumours suggesting it was in its last year.

Source: AAP & Herald Sun

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