World interest for the lord of songs

"You have the voice of an angel but you look like a hobbit," Australian judge Ian Dickson said after Kurt Nilsen’s winning performance in the World Idol competition. Now, new markets are opening up for the Norwegian plumber and father of two.

Kurt Nilsen: (cover) I

Kurt Nilsen (25) charmed millions of viewers with his rendition of U2’s Beautiful Day, and got top score from all but the Arabic voters.
"This is amazing," was about the only thing the surprised Bergen plumber turned pop singer could utter after the victory. Nilsen repeated his national success on a global scale, becoming the convincing winner of the first "World Idol" competition on Thursday night last week. What he actually won, besides a massive trophy, remains to be seen, but Nilsen is now close to gaining an international recording contract. And important doors seem to be opening up for him.

Germany next
Tonight, a program about Nilsen will be aired on Germany’s largest commercial tv channel, RTV. Multinational BMG has ordered 20 000 copies of Nilsen’s album I, which will be shipped as soon as possible to Germany, the third largest music market in the world. 19 Management, the pop star factory that developed and promoted stars such as Spice Girls and S Club 7, is interested in Nilsen, according to Norwegian daily, Dagbladet. 19 Management’s owner, Simen Fuller, is also the man behind the Idol concept. He has become famous for his unique ability to spot stars, and according to BBC, he is worth more than £ 90 million.
”My business is creating fame and celebrity, and I'm one of the best in the world. I know it to the finest detail,” Fuller recently said to BBC.

Idol has been aired in Britain, the US, Germany, Poland, South Africa, Belgium, Canada, Holland, United Arab Emirates, and Norway. More countries are soon following. The World Idol competition consists of winners of 11 national Idol contests. American Idol Kelly Clarkson came second, while Belgium's Peter Everard took the bronze spot.

Voice over looks
Nilsen's unconventional looks were supposed to rule him out of pop stardom, but the power of his voice overcame the obstacles.

“I wasn't taunted (by the judges) so badly. None of them got me for the song. And it seems that those who voted for me ignored the jokes about my looks. People are beginning to understand that it isn't just glamour that sells any more, but the opposite. People listen to the music, the song, and that was lucky for me,” Nilsen said to Norwegian daily Aftenposten.

Impressed Prime Minister
Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik congratulated Nilsen after the victory, stating he was impressed by the Norwegian World Idol. And to add even more momentum to Nilsen’s success, he was nominated for two Spellemann awards yesterday, the Norwegian Grammy.

Nilsen’s next big showcase is at Rockefeller, Oslo, January 28. People from the music industry from all over the world have accepted the invitation to see ”the Norwegian hobbit”, manager Jan Fredrik Karlsen told Norwegian daily Bergens Tidende. The concert, which is also open for the general audience, is another great chance for the plumber to show off his talents.

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