Nearly one million viewers tuned in to watch Marlborough teenager Clara van Wel be crowned winner of New Zealand's Got Talent.
The TVNZ talent show has been the most-watched show of the decade with nearly one million viewers per episode.
The final episode on Sunday evening attracted half the nation's TV viewing audiencewith 930,000 people watching as 15-year-old van Wel was presented with the winning Toyota Corolla and $100,000 cash.
Since New Zealand's Got Talent debuted in September, most episodes have attracted close to a million viewers.
Before Sunday night's episode more than 854,000 streams had been played on TVNZ Ondemand for the series.
Jeff Latch, head of TV One and TV2, said the broadcaster always thought the show would be a success.
"From the outset the goal was for New Zealand's Got Talent to be the biggest entertainment event of 2012," he said.
"For it to become the biggest show of the past 10 years shows that viewers have embraced the format which gives talented Kiwis the country over a platform from which to shine."
Nielson said the series was the most-watched in the past decade, but that excluded one-off special events.
CRAZY TIMES FOR TEEN STAR
Clara van Wel's dreams may have come true, but the Blenheim teenager is looking forward to going home, hanging out with her best friend and getting some much-needed sleep.
The 15-year-old New Zealand's Got Talent winner was up at 6am yesterday and was whisked off to do media interviews.
"It's been pretty crazy, but I can't complain - I'm living the dream," she said last night.
"I'm so, so grateful for the support I've got, especially from Marlborough."
Despite her young age, she is not fazed by the media attention.
"I quite like interviews," she said.
"I like talking and it's good to be able to get to know people through TV."
Clara has had to cope with a barrage of media interviews and well-wishers since the screening of the television show's grand finale on Sunday and the whirlwind will continue through the week, with her winning single, Where Do You Find Love, to be released on Friday.
The final show was filmed on Thursday and she was grateful Sunday's screening ended the suspense.
"On Thursday it was all very full-on, but last night it kinda hit home that all of New Zealand was in on it, too, and they could share it with me and know about it."
She said the victory had not sunk in yet.
"I never could have believed that something like this could happen. I don't think it ever will to be perfectly honest, it's just a dream come true."
Clara received a cash prize of $100,000, a recording contract and a new car.
A prolific songwriter with nearly 50 tracks written, Clara has been singing and playing guitar from a young age.
She has been recording her single for the past three days in Auckland.
The digital bundle to be released would include Where Do You Find Love and acoustic recordings of Between The Lines and Lines You Traced - two further original songs Clara performed as her semifinal and audition pieces in the series, Sony Music New Zealand said.
Clara would record a full-length album in the new year, which should be released in February.
She said inspiration for her first single came from the perception of love that books and movies often peddle.
"I think it came from, you know, all the books that I read and fantastical stories and romance and stuff like that, and wondering if anything like all those fantastical elements can exist in the same way."
Talks about a tour had not yet happened "but I'm sure we'll have some stuff nailed down in the future".
Record producer Paul Ellis said Clara was the real deal.
Known for his harsh criticism of contestants when he was a New Zealand Idol judge, Ellis said Clara deserved to win the show which aired on Sunday night.
"She stood out head and shoulders above the rest. She had so much poise."
He said it was really smart that Clara's single Where Do You Find Love? was being released so quickly.
"That is the way the industry works. Get something out as quickly as possible to capitalise on her success. I would hope for her sake that she will get an album out by February, but it means she won't have much of a summer," he said.
Ellis was a judge on the first series of New Zealand's Got Talent in 2008.
Sony Music New Zealand said Where Do You Find Love? would be available for download on Friday, with a CD single released on Monday. A full-length album has been scheduled for release in February.
Singer-songwriter Sarah Brown said Clara had an amazing opportunity to succeed in the music business, but needed to keep her focus on the music.
Clara should stay at school while exploring the options available to her now she was a household name.
"It would be crazy not to take the opportunity and run with it. Everyone in the whole country knows who she is now. But there is no harm in getting an education," she said.
Brown, who like Clara is from Marlborough, released her Sydney-recorded album The Great Heart Robbery earlier this year. She thought Clara deserved to win the competition.
- The Press
Should residents do more to help maintain the city's parks and reserves?Related story: Christchurch citizens to mow parks?