australian idol 2006: damien leith
The usually sedate Sydney Opera House surrounds were filled last night by a six thousand strong Idol-mad crowd. 3000 luckier fans were crowded into the concert hall inside. A few stars of previous Idol series performed and then Jess and Damien, who arrived by horse-drawn carriage (it's something different each year), took the long walk up the red carpeted Opera House steps. The whole top twelve sang a gorgeous, haunting version of Coldplay's Fix You.
After recaps and songs from both of the top 2, Damien became the Australian Idol for 2006. He was stunned silent by the announcement. There's been way more hype over Jess and I think he had convinced himself not to hope too hard. It made him that much more emotional when the news finally hit home. It really was a beautiful moment. Even though I voted for Damien, I had decided that I didn't really mind if Jess won, but I must say it was so cool to see him win. It was easy for him to doubt himself along the way: Mark told him at his audition that he was ugly (how rude is that?!) The judges told him to try something new and then when he did told him it was the worst and most bizarre thing they'd ever seen on TV. The magazines made the most of the younger idols and Jess and Dean's faces were everywhere to be seen. There was also a lot of criticism floating around because he is a permanent resident but not a citizen (he plans to become a citizen in 2007 when he's been a resident the required amount of time (his wife is Australian)). For all these reasons, it was nice for him to have that moment when he could stop pinching himself to see if it was all a dream and know that Australia really does want to hear his music.
Jess handled it like a pro, smiling big, congratulating him and even stepping back a little to make sure he had the spotlight. Damien was lovely - he immediately acknowledged Jess, saying:
...this has been the greatest time of my life being in this show and everything that's come my way through this show...I thought that was very gracious at a moment when he really could have just been basking in his own glory.
I'm speechless. I should have thought of something to say.
All I can say is first of all to Jessica, she is the most beautiful, the most fabulous singer I've ever come across. I've been saying it all week, if I wasn't in the contest I would have been voting for her. I think she's absolutely amazing, and I really do mean that.
Damien Leith: Australian Idol. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. I'm so looking forward to hearing his first album.