Londonderry teen wins a part in the next series of Glee

22/08/11

Samuel Larsen, Damian McGinty, Lindsay Pearce and Alex Newell

An 18-year-old from Londonderry in Northern Ireland has won a part in Glee after winning The Glee Project.

Damian McGinty will appear in seven episodes of season three of the series.

The singer, who plays in a band called Celtic Thunder, was selected as one of the top 12 finalists out of 40,000 contenders who auditioned on Myspace.

Nineteen-year-old Samuel Larsen from Los Angeles has also won a part on the show along with two other finalists, who will appear in two episodes each.

Damian McGinty was the only contestant in the final 12 from outside America.

The judges said he was the most likable and improved finalist on the reality show.

'Roller coaster'

He explained how the process started.

"Forty thousand people auditioned, but there were also casting calls around America in Texas, New York and LA, but then they narrowed it down from 40,000 to 2,000 and then from 2,000 to 800.

"Then I got a phone call at the beginning of January to say I had made the final 80.

There was acting, dancing and singing and I remember looking around listening to people singing and thought they were just fit for Broadway
Damian McGinty

"At the start of February they cut it from 24 to 12 over Skype and then the show started and I made the final 12. Since then it's just been a roller coaster.

"It was very much a bootcamp scenario but with a twist.

"There was acting, dancing and singing and I remember looking around listening to people singing and thought they were just fit for Broadway."

The other winner, Samuel Larsen (above left), was described as having a "cool, indy, rock spirit" that had been missing from the series.

The show put 12 contestants through a Glee bootcamp where they were critiqued on their singing, dancing and acting throughout the 10-week series.

The other finalists, Lindsay Pearce, 20, and Alex Newell, 18, weren't meant to get parts but the show's co-creator Ryan Murphy was so impressed, he decided to write them into two episodes of the show.

The new series of Glee starts on Sky1 in the autumn.