A Derry teenager has beaten off competition from more than 40,000 other hopefuls to win a role in the US hit TV series Glee - and his parents say they “never doubted” his ability to make his dream come true.
Eighteen years-old Damian McGinty from Woodbrook was revealed as the joint winner in the reality TV series ‘The Glee Project’ on Sunday night and will commence filming for the third series of Glee - which has become a worldwide phenomenon - in the coming weeks.
“No, there’s no rest,” Damian’s proud mum Joanne told the ‘Journal’, “It’s straight into filming and he will be making his debut in the show in week three of the new series.”
Glee is one of America’s top rated shows, attracting an average audience in excess of 10 million viewers in the US alone. Celebrity A-listers such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Josh Groban and Britney Spears have all had cameo roles on the show.
“Damian is a huge fan of the show. When he heard of the opportunity to be a part of the Glee Project he jumped at it. He auditioned on MySpace and was invited to meet the producers and really that is where things started.”
Securing a place in the final 12 of the competition, TV audiences have watched as the talented Derry crooner impressed the show’s producer Ryan Murphy week in and week out with his confident performances.
“He was just true to himself, and he did himself proud,” Joanne said. Joanne said she believed that Damian’s experience touring with Celtic Thunder, which he has been doing since the age of 14, stood him in good stead in the competition and would have helped to keep his nerves under check when things got tough.
“Performing is what he has always wanted to do and he just pushes himself on. He’ll still tell me that he’s going to make it and we believe him!”
Joanne revealed that while filming The Glee Project Damian and his fellow competitors were locked away in a ‘bootcamp’ for 10 weeks, where the only contact with the outside world they were allowed was one 15 minute phonecall a week.
“He couldn’t say much when he called - but we just waited for him to say ‘I’m still here’ and we knew he had made it through another week.”
The McGinty family gathered with friends on Sunday night where they streamed the results show live from the States. Joanne describes the experience of watching Damian win as “brilliant, very emotional”.
The Derry lad was whisked away immediately after the announcement to carry out a number of press engagements for the US media so Joanne and her husband Damian Snr were not due to speak to their son to congratulate him until yesterday evening.
“I just can’t wait to make that phonecall,” Joanne said. “It will be very emotional.”
Deputy Mayor of Derry, Kevin Campbell congratulated Damian on his success: “This is a great achievement for Damian to get a part in the next series of Glee. I would like to wish Damian all the best for the future, it’s a great opportunity for him.”
His former lecturer at the NWRC, Anne McMaster added: “Damian is one of the most ego-free young actors I’ve ever been privileged to work with; Damian simply exists to perform and will always be driven by the need to develop and hone his craft – well seen in his time on The Glee Project!”