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Markus is Sweden's new Idol

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09:11 CET+01:00
A record 1.2 million telephone votes decided the outcome of Idol 2006 on Friday night in favour of 23 year old Markus Fagervall from Övertoneå, in northern Sweden.

Rival Erik Segerstedt won plaudits from the jury but did not manage to convince the television public: 64 percent voted for Fagervall, whom Segerstedt called "a great friend and a fantastic artist".

As the gruelling autumn Idol schedule - described by jury member Claes af Geijerstam as being "tougher than a US presidential campaign" - reached its zenith, Markus and Erik gripped each other in anticipation of the result.

Golden confetti rained down from the eaves of the TV4 studio as presenter Sanna Bråding announced the winner.

Erik bravely grinned back his tears and Markus Fagervall looked as though he was about to fall over. He was not speechless, but in hindsight he may wish that he had been:

"It feels so great. It feels so great. It feels so great. Yup, it feels so great."

All the Idol participants of the season joined him on stage (having performed 'The Final Countdown' by Upplands Väsby hard rockers Europe) and he was lucky not to suffer concussion as they eagerly flung him up into the air several times.

Markus and Erik were whisked off to an all night party at Stockholm's Café Opera in a black limousine.

Övertorneå celebrated while Erik's home town of Uddevalla was, according to Expressen, "in mourning".

Uddevallans may take some consolation from the fact that the last two runners-up of Idol have enjoyed as much celebrity, if not more, than the winner.

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