The winner of the third series of New Zealand Idol was announced by host, Dominic Bowden during a live two hour special at a packed Saint James thearte and the winner was Matt Saunoa from Levin, 21-years-old, who cried when the announcement was made.

Matt beat other finalist, Indira Moala from North Shore, Auckland, who is also 21-years-old.

Matt Saunoa receives more prizes than the other two idols before him, including NZ$50,000 cash, a Daihatsu Terios car and a recording contract which includes a guaranteed single release.

Matt said: “I just want to thank everyone so much. I didn’t think I would make it past the first round and I won the competition.” Matt was lucky to make it past the first round one of the judges, Frankie Stevens, only allowed Matt to progress on in the competition after Matt assured Stevens that he would win the competition. He also didn’t make it past the first round in the first season of NZ Idol.

Before the announcement Indira said: “I had no idea I’d make it this far. You have no idea how excited I am. Whatever happens tonight I’m going to rock it out.” And then Matt said: “If you make me New Zealand Idol I will work my ass off to make sure there are singles and albums out there that do it justice,” referring to past winners, Ben Lummis and Rosita Vai who both had no commercial success.

Centrebet, online betting service, said that their odds on Matt were $1.90 while Indira’s were at $1.80, the first time Matt hadn’t been favoured since September 18.

The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark, made an appearance and applauded the success of the two for getting this far in the competition. And the rest of the final ten also made a brief appearance.

TVNZ, the broadcasters of NZ Idol, are yet to confirm a fourth NZ Idol even though the ratings were excellent. TVNZ will be speaking to South Pacific Pictures of the future of NZ Idol.

Yesterday’s reject voted today’s Idol (New Zealand Herald)
Matt wins third season of NZ Idol

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