His dancing won’t give Michael Flatley any sleepless nights, but that’s OK with the producers of “Glee,” who named Derry City native Damian McGinty the co-winner of “The Glee Project” on the show’s finale Sunday night.
McGinty, 18, and fellow finalist Sam Larsen, were named the top winners on the Oxygen-TV reality show, and will each be featured in a seven-episode story arc on the hit Fox TV comedy, “Glee.” The decision to name two winners, announced by the show’s creator Ryan Murphy, provided a surprise ending to the contest.
McGinty, who shot to fame at age 14 as the youngest vocalist with the group Celtic Thunder, auditioned for “The Glee Project” in December 2010, beating out 40,000 hopefuls to land one of the 12 spots on the reality show. Each week, the contestants were given “homework assignments” that tested their strengths in different areas: Danceability, Theatricality, Pairability, and so on.
The young singer made it through with talent and good humor, winning accolades for both his talent and his can-do attitude. Though he wound up in the bottom three — and faced elimination — more times than any of the other contestants, he was popular with fans, and narrowly missed being named the Bing Fan Favorite in online voting. A running joke throughout the season was his inability to dance.
In the finale, McGinty, who favors swing and Rat Pack-era music, sang a flawless version of “Beyond the Sea” that brought the other contestants, as well as the show’s celebrity mentors, to their feet. When the dreadlocked Larsen was announced as the winner, McGinty congratulated him — and then Murphy announced that he, too, had won.