Derry teen Damian McGinty is walking on air this week after his debut appearance on smash hit US TV series Glee had the critics raving about the local lad’s portrayal of foreign exchange student Rory.
The episode ‘Pot O’ Gold’ debuted in the States on Tuesday night - and immediately had the American reviewers singing the praises of the young man from Woodbrook who earned his role on the show through reality TV series ‘The Glee Project’.
Entertainment Weekly praised his performance - and looks forward to seeing more. The Los Angeles Times was equally vocal in its praise as was Entertainment News who described his debut as “fabulous”.
The rumour mill has gone into overdrive - could his seven episode role turn into something more permanent? Speaking exclusively to the ‘Journal’ Damian said the response to his performance has been “beyond my wildest dreams”.
“Seeing my debut was surreal,” he said. “I know this is one of the biggest shows on TV, but still, it just hasn’t hit me that I am now a part of that. It’s not something I really think about. I just do it.
“And in ways, I think it helps me, and helps me continue to be true to myself, and not turn into some sort of hollywood brat! That will never happen. I am just so honoured and thankful to be given this opportunity, and this is only the start.”
Now in its third series Glee remains one of the top-rated shows on American TV - with many of the cast now becoming household names. Damian has spoken before of his awe at being able to work with Broadway greats such as Matthew Morrison, Leah Michelle and Jane Lynch.
The experience, he says, has lived up to all expectations. “The Glee cast have been incredible. I was fairly scared going on set at the beginning of September.
“These guys have been together for two to three years now, and it’s intimidating.
“But they have been so nice. I have fitted right in. It’s almost been too easy for them to get to know me, and vice versa. They have actually told me directly, out of all the new comers to join the show, I have fitted in the easiest. So that’s nice to hear.
“We are past the getting to know each other part, and we even hang out at each other’s houses at the weekends which is a lot of fun.”
Determined not to rest on his laurels, Damian said that he hopes his role in Glee will lead to even bigger and better things. Given how far he has come in the last few years, it’s entirely likely he will achieve his ambition.
“Glee is huge, but my ambition still burns inside me, and I still want to do even bigger and better things in the future. It will be hard. But you have to shoot for the stars. It has got me this far.
“After Tuesday night in the States, my debut, there has been an incredible response. With that comes rumours and speculation, and at the minute I am just focusing on the job in hand.
“I am aiming to get a full time role on Glee, that is the next step of my career plan, so that is what I am focusing on.
“But I have learned to expect nothing, this business is full of surprises, you just have to go with it. Otherwise you could very well drive yourself mad.”
As well as rumours of a permanent role on Glee, there have also been rumours that Damian could be invited on as guest judge or mentor in the second series of the programme which shot him to fame - The Glee Project.
“There have been talks,” Damian said. And I am doing The New York open casting calls, which is next weekend. And we have talked about me getting involved when there is a top 12, to help them and to give them experienced advice because, I was put through the mill on that show. It’s something that I am very excited about.”
Damian’s UK and Ireland debut on Glee was screened last night on Sky One and will be repeated tomorrow evening at 10pm on Sky 2.