Isaiah Firebrace is a star.
But Echuca-Moama already knew that. Now, after being crowned the winner of X Factor 2016, the rest of the country knows.
And it won’t be long until the world does, too.
Just 14 hours after hearing his name called out on stage in front of millions on Monday night, the birthday boy’s debut single has surpassed mega-star Robbie Williams in the iTunes charts and is heading for number one.
The win didn’t come easily — or quickly — on Monday night’s reality show grand final.
After making it to the final two — pitted against 34-year-old ‘‘bogan from Logan’’ Davey Woder — and singing for the title, Isaiah had to wait a painful 49.98 seconds before host Jason Dundas echoed his name.
‘‘How long was that stupid wait!’’ he told the Riverine Herald.
‘‘The suspense was crazy, I have never been so nervous.’’
That moment was frozen in time, and one 17-year-old Isaiah will never forget.
‘‘I am so freaking happy,’’ he said.
‘‘There’s no words, oh my God, you can just see in my face the rush of emotion that came over me, I was so overwhelmed, honestly the best night of my life.’’
Praised by judges for his genuine and humble nature throughout the competition, Isaiah said he had no expectations to win.
‘‘I’d seen Davey’s popularity all over social media and I really wasn’t sure how I’d go but I just tried to not let myself get too excited and be proud of how far I had come,’’ he said.
‘‘But this is the best thing ever. I am so sad the show is all over though, I made such good friends and it’s so sad.
‘‘But I guess this isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning for me.’’
Mum Donna, dad Wayne and siblings Jamarrah, Janayah and Sarah-Jayne rushed on stage to embrace their favourite contestant while hundreds of friends and family hosted private viewings, including one at the Border Inn Hotel in Moama which erupted in screams and cheers — that’s where older sister Carly Mitchell was.
‘‘This is just his dream, it’s actually happened, I am so proud,’’ she said.
Isaiah told the Riv it was all a blur, but he got about three hours of sleep.
When asked what coach Adam Lambert had to say after the win he said ‘‘I think he said he was proud, he told me ‘I knew you could do it’.’’
Isaiah celebrated his 17th birthday in style on Monday and said it was ‘‘the best birthday ever’’.
He got an iPad Pro hand-delivered by rapper Iggy Azalea and a TopMan voucher from Adam Lambert.
‘‘But it was the handwritten cards that meant the most, they’re so generous,’’ he said.
‘‘I’ve tried to keep calm and just take every day as it comes, that’s how you become successful isn’t it? I want to make it big, isn’t that what everyone wants? I want to be international, I have big goals, but it’s got to be day by day.
‘‘I’m glad people have perceived me as my true self — what you see is what you get and to be accepted is so awesome.’’
Isaiah still keeps his winning poster from 2013’s Rich River Idol up in his room.
‘‘That was the first competition I won,’’ he said.
‘‘I am very proud of that, that’s when I knew I could do something and X Factor was just a dream.
‘‘I showed Adam when he visited (last week for the show’s home visit segment) and told him how important it was to me.’’
‘‘Echuca-Moama is home and the people here are my biggest support club, I can’t thank everyone for their support, love and for believing in me — they got me to where I am today.’’
The reality show win means Isaiah secured a Sony music contract, and he will release an album of fan favourite songs on December 9.
Then he will focus on his own music. But with Year 12 on the agenda next year, Isaiah doesn’t know yet whether he will return to school at St Joseph’s College or pursue his dream career.
‘‘I don’t know anything yet, it’s still crazy,’’ he said.
But he did assure he would return home soon to give everyone a big hug.
He knows his days shining at Moama Football Club are over.
‘‘Yep, no more footy,’’ he laughed.
‘‘At least I know I gave it up for something worthwhile, this is my passion, this is what I am meant to do.’’
— Riverine Herald