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Norway's Kurt Nilsen wins 'World Idol' as contest favorite Kelly Clarkson places second

By Reality TV World staff, 01/02/2004 

In a surprise upset, Norwegian Pop Idol Kurt Nilsen, a former plumber, defeated competition favorites Kelly Clarkson and Will Young and won World Idol's clash of the world's Idols.

American Idol Kelly Clarkson finished second in the competition, while Belgian rocker Peter Evrard - who sang a cover of the Nirvana song "Lithium" - was third. South Africa's Heinz Winkler followed next in a distant fourth place. Britain's Will Young, who was considered along with Kelly to be a favorite to win the competition, only managed to muster a fifth place finish, while Canada's Ryan Malcolm placed sixth.

Kurt, the singer who one judge had commented had the "voice of an angel but looked like a Hobbit" earned maximum points in almost every country, winning the maximum points from nine of the eleven countries which voted.

After being announced as the winner, a tearful Kurt said "This is totally amazing," told the other ten idols "I love you guys," and then launched into an encore performance of U2's "Beautiful Day" that he'd sang during last week's World Idol performance show.

Kurt ended up with 106 out of a maximum 112 points that were available. Clarkson placed second to Kurt in the majority of each country's voting and finished in second place overall with 97 points. The number of votes cast in each country weren't released.

Kurt won the Norwegian version of Pop Idol in May 2003. His single "She's So High" went straight to number one in the Norwegian singles chart and is the country's biggest selling single to date.

The full order of finish was:

1. Kurt Nilsen (Norway)
2. Kelly Clarkson (USA)
3. Peter Evrard (Belgium)
4. Heinz Winkler (South Africa)
5. Will Young (UK)
6. Ryan Malcolm (Canada)
7. Guy Sebastian (Australia)
8. Alex (Poland)
9. Jamai (Netherlands)
10. Alexander (Germany)
11. Diana (Jordan)

While Kelly and Will were considered the competitions heavy favorites by oddsmakers due to their chart success, Kurt had emerged as a dark horse candidate during the performance show. After his "Beautiful Day" performance, even judge Simon Cowell was impressed, although he chose a backhanded way to express his compliments: "We've allowed a lot of ugly people to become recording artists, and that's not a bad thing," Simon said, while flashing a rare smile. Kurt, replied in turn, noting that "It's not a modeling contest."

Following last week's performance show broadcast, Antigua gambling website BetWWTS,com had set new odds. The U.S.'s Kelly Clarkson had remained the favorite at odds of 5/4 (i.e., win $5 for every $4 bet). The U.K.'s Will Young remained second at 2/1. Rising to third was Australian Guy Sebastian, making a major jump to 4/1, while Canadian Ryan Malcolm took fourth at 10/1. Rounding out the top 5 was Norway's Kurt Nilson at 12/1, who had moved up from last in the pre-show odds after the reaction to his strong performance.

The rest of the field was handicapped as follows:

6 (tie). South Africa's Heinz Winckler and Germany's Alexander Klaws (15/1),
8. Holland's Jamai Loman (20/1),
9. Poland's Alicja Janosz, simply called Alex , who performed the old Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice song "I Don't Know How To Love Him" from Jesus Christ Superstar (25/1),
10. Belgium's Peter Evrard (25/1), and
11. Jordan's Diana Karzon (30/1).

Visit our World Idol photo gallery for photos of all the Idol competitors.

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