Marlborough teenager Clara Van Wel has been named the winner of TV ONE’s New Zealand’s Got Talent.
In tonight’s Decider episode, New Zealand’s Got Talent host Tamati Coffey revealed the 15-year-old singer/songwriter was the favourite after public votes from last week’s Grand Final were counted and collated.
Wellington’s Jessie Hillel was named runner-up, and Auckland teen Evan Sinton was placed third.
Van Wel was briefly overcome by tears as she struggled to digest the news she had beaten more than 5,000 other acts to win the competition.
In front of an elated audience and judges Jason Kerrison, Rachel Hunter and Ali Campbell she said she felt as if she were dreaming.
“This whole journey has been incredible,” she said.
“Can someone pinch me, please?!”
Throughout the competition Van Wel was a popular contestant, singing original compositions and accompanying herself on guitar in each round.
After her first audition, Ali Campbell described her as a serious talent. During the semi-finals, Rachel Hunter told her she ‘oozed’ the superstar factor.
And at last week’s Grand Final Jason Kerrison was convinced the Year 11 student would be ‘it.’
“Clara, you touch the minds of people, not just in this room but watching their televisions around the country,” he said.
Van Wel has been singing since she was a toddler, as well as playing the acoustic guitar and ukulele.
She is also a prolific songwriter, with a catalogue of over 50 original tracks.
She says she draws inspiration from the many books she loves to devour in her spare time.
“I think the music I write is really special and different,” says Van Wel.
”It comes from the heart and I’m totally committed to it.
“I have my own style and to be able to share that is a beautiful thing.”
As part of her prize Van Wel receives $100,000 and a brand new 2013 Toyota Corolla.
She is also headed into the studio to record her first single, ‘Where Do You Find Love?’, which will be released before Christmas.
Results of public voting for New Zealand’s Got Talent 2012
1. Clara Van Wel
2. Jessie Hilel
3. Evan Sinton
4. J Geeks
5. Fletcher Oxford
6. ‘Big Dane’ Moeke
7. Mihirangi Fleming
8. Olivia Turner
9. Dudley Fairbrass
10. Tawaroa Kawana
11. Logan Walker
12. Zane and Degge