Clara Van Wel wins New Zealand's Got Talent

Last updated 20:28 02/12/2012
WINNER: New Zealand's Got Talent winner Clara Van Wel.
Fairfax NZ
WINNER: New Zealand's Got Talent winner Clara Van Wel.

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Marlborough teenager Clara Van Wel has been crowned the inaugural winner of New Zealand's Got Talent.

The 15-year-old Blenheim schoolgirl wins a cash prize of $100,000 as well as a recording contract and a new car.

The winner was chosen by a public vote, which included tens of thousands of text votes in the last days before the cut-off.

The final was filmed on Thursday and the winner kept under wraps until the show aired tonight.

Early in the show the top thee were named which along with Van Wel, included singers Jessie Hillel and Evan Sinton.

Judge and former UB40 frontman Ali Campbell earlier said the New Zealand voters "got it right".

Throughout the first half of the series, Campbell and fellow judges, Kiwi supermodel Rachel Hunter and Opshop frontman Jason Kerrison, selected the acts who were to make it through to the semi finals.

The show has been open to public voting from the semis on, and after Van Wel was crowned, Campbell said New Zealand had "made the right decision".

In the one-hour finale, more than a dozen acts took to the stage, including the top three who together performed Gotye and Kimbra's hit Somebody I Used to Know.

Kiwi Artist Dane Rumble performed his latest single Tonight, and Campbell also took to the stage to perform Jackson 5 classic Maybe Tomorrow with a reggae twist.

Some of the more memorable earlier contestants, such as Billy the one-man-band and 9-year-old Ashburton yodeler Ocean Waiokia also gave final performances.

The show's host, Tamati Coffee, did his best Psy impersonation, almost taking a dancer out in the process, as he and Hunter performed the world-famous horse dance from the video for Gangnam Style.

This was the first ever season of New Zealand's Got Talent. Since its inception in 2006, the show has become one of the fastest growing television franchises in the world.

New Zealand's version has not been without its drama - favourite Dunedin singer Kylie Price was dumped from the show after she refused to sign an exclusive contract preventing her from taking part in other performances.

According to TVNZ, ratings for past episodes have topped one million, but figures for tonight’s show were not expected to be known until tomorrow morning.

Neilson figures suggested the debut episode pulled in an average audience of 934,820 viewers at any one point, but TVNZ said the first episode attracted all up over 1.4 million Kiwis, making it the most watched debut episode of a TV entertainment series in the past eight years.

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