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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 October, 2003, 14:10 GMT 15:10 UK
Alex lands 1m Fame Academy prize
Alex Parks
Alex had been favourite to win the show
Alex Parks has won the second series of the BBC's Fame Academy talent search, beating Alistair Griffin in the final.

Alex, 19, from Truro, Cornwall, picked up a 1m recording contract and luxury lifestyle, including a London flat.

The bookmakers' favourite and darling of the show's tutors, Alex won a majority of the 4.5 million viewers' votes.

She looked shocked and held her hand to her head as the result was announced by host Patrick Kielty.

Alex Parks
Alex was the darling of the Academy tutors

She said she was most looking forward to going home to Cornwall and seeing her family.

Obviously still stunned by her victory, she told BBC presenter Claudia Winkleman: "I kind of can't feel my body. And I'm happy."

Later she added: "My legs were like jelly after the first two songs and I just got it back together to keep performing. I was so overwhelmed I was worried my voice wouldn't come out.

"It was amazing to win, I really didn't expect it. I always thought Paris would win. I know it will be really hard to keep grounded but I don't want to change and hopefully it won't go to my head."

Alex impressed voters with her renditions of John Lennon's Imagine, Tracy Chapman's Baby Can I Hold You, and Beautiful by Christine Aguilera.

Carolynne Good (left), Alistair Griffin and Alex Parks
The final three received hundreds of thousands of votes
Guest judge Jonathan Ross compared her with some of the world's great musicians he had seen live, including David Bowie.

"That was up there with just about everyone I have ever seen," he said.

Fame Academy "headmaster" Richard Park - who is notoriously hard to please - said he was deeply "moved" by her performance.

He said her own composition, Maybe That's What It takes, "could have been written by somebody like Annie Lennox", one of Alex's favourite artists.

"That was extraordinarily moving. Your talent is outstanding, outrageous," said Park. "That was truly beautiful and quite sincerely, I am moved. Fabulous."

Singer Daniel Bedingfield called her a "unique and special" talent which British music needed, and urged the public to vote for her.

Carolynne Good
Carolynne said she was not upset to be voted off
She has won a one-year recording contract with Polydor Records, along with a 12-month showbiz lifestyle that includes a luxury home and sports car.

Runner-up Alistair, 25, from Whitby, North Yorkshire, widely considered to be the best songwriter in the Academy, was philosophical in defeat.

Alistair had been championed by Bee Gee Robin Gibb but his performances were regularly criticised by Park.

He said: "I have had a lot of highs and lows and ups and downs, and I will miss that man Richard Park.

"I came here to be myself and I hope people can love me just as I am."

Earlier, Carolynne Good came third after 1.5 million votes were cast in the first part of Saturday's final.

Carolynne, 22, a self-confessed "rock chick" from Leeds, had taken her defeat in good spirit, saying: "I'm cool. Nothing is going to bring me down tonight."

A celebrity-packed studio audience included comedians Lenny Henry and his wife Dawn French, fellow comic Johnny Vegas and EastEnders star Shane Richie.

Sir Paul McCartney had sent the three finalists a videotaped "good luck" message as he endorsed the show for unearthing fresh musical talent.

Did you see the final?

Please see below for a selection of your comments.

I was not a fan of the show last year but really was impressed by the outstanding talent this year.

The show was enjoyable and filled with suspense, I only have one criticism: although having voted for Alex I feel that Alistair showed imense talent and humility in defeat, a fact which was not made easy by the discusting display by Daniel Bedingfield. He was a respected artist with music I admired yet his comments were unnecessary in the position he was in.

I feel that the show should have provided Alistair with an equally enthusiastic champion of his work to perform with.

I wish all the finalists every success and look forward to buying both Alistair's and Alex's Albums.
Andrea Ward, England - Oxfordshire

Have followed the series and was pleased to see my two favourites in the final. The only "bad" and totally unprofessional thing that happened were the comments by Daniel Bedingfield. He should have been more neutral and should certainly not have told the audience to vote for Alex. This was totally unfair and soul-destroying for Alistair.
Kathryn Van Achten, Belgium

I found it disgraceful the amount of favouritism placed in Alex's direction. Especially, Daniel Bedingfields behaviour on the show, a blatant attempt to win more votes. A disgrace.
Ross Cumming, UK

I think everybody knew this weeks ago, the first time I heard Alex sing I said: "She is the winner". I haven't heard anyone sing with such meaning in a long long time. Can't wait to hear her first album. At last real talent...
Susan Lever, England

Fame Academy 2003 is the best thing that has happened to music in this country for a long time. I have just bought the CD. Carolynne!!!! What a voice. Alex!!!! Imagine!!!! When is it out on single? When is Carolynne releasing an LP? We have discovered two absolutely out of this world female voices. Please don't let them whither away, and keep the promotion going. As Sinead shows, you can be unique, good and have class, but with little promotion.... ps when is the live tour?
Jonathan Manasco, UK

My enjoyment of the programme was spoilt by the obvious bias to Alex all through the series (and incidentally I thought she was the best and should win). I just felt that the movers and shakers behind the programme were desperate to get the "credible" winner and that their treatment of Alistair especially was despicable.

All through the series the way VT packages etc have been edited, the production team have tried to manipulate the viewers. And why? Alex would probably have won anyway - it's left a lot of viewers extremely hacked off - and tarnished her victory.
Julie Evans, United Kingdom

I thought that overall the show was much better than it was last year, well done on that!!

However, the way Alistair was unceremoniously dumped with an obviously worse for wear Johnny Vegas whilst Claudia went in search of other commentators was a bit off. Especially after being led by the hand on the promise of a party in his honour!

That said I must congratulate Claudia, her natural style instantly endeared us to her and greatly added to our enjoyment. A whole lot better than the amateur wind up merchants we had last year!!!
Kate Birch, England

Our house and our two daughters households have been glued to the TV screen ever since FA2 started and have loved every minute of the interactive screening and shows. The best of the group WON and we voted for Alex right from the begining. We all have withdrawal symptoms so had to go out today and buy the album of the Finalists. Brilliant, we can't wait for Alex's new single. When will there be group concerts and where? Must go and see them. I have promised the whole family I will take them.
Mary Wall, England

I thought the final show was an appalling catalogue of bias against Alistair Griffin. As a member of the public, a teacher for 30 years, I cannot believe the favouritism shown towards Alex Parks - it goes against everything that I believed the BBC stood for - fairness and inpartiality.
Mrs. Maureen Thornhill, Kidderminster, Worcs., England

Congratulations and well done to Alex. It has been like watching a new born butterfly develop. You entered the academy as a young girl and appear to be leaving as a young woman. I was intrigued by this shy waif with a haunting voice and have watched you grow over the weeks. Seeing your confidence grow has been inspirational. You have a beautiful voice, I wish you every success for the future. I am looking forward to hearing more and cannot wait for your first album. Good luck in the studio, I hope all your dreams come true.
Julie, UK

Well, surprise surprise, Alex wins. With the sycophantic musings of the judges and Daniel Bedingfield is it any wonder? When the show first started I thought that Alex had a good voice but it never changed, it just droned on and on week after week. Alistair had some variety in his performances and was hard done by on the night and throughout the series with the comments aimed at him.

Looking at the teletext last night I see that Alex would already have a record deal whether she won or not. Similar story to Will and Gareth I'm afraid. Disappointing end to what seemed a pre-determined show.
Argyle Chutney, UK

Just to add to what are probably hundreds of comments of disgust at the way Alistair Griffin was treated in the FA final. The bias towards Alex was disgusting, and ruined what could have been an excellent show. The BBC should be thoroughly ashamed.
Callie, England

Carolyne should have won! She had the best voice by far. Sadly, my repeated attempts to make her the Fame Academy winner were to no avail. I still think that when it comes to raw talent Carolyne rules! The same thing happened last year when Lemar - should have won based on the best singing ability. It's a shame that the best person did not win again this year!!
Jessica Gardiner, UK

The whole final programme was a sham, totally biased. Totally despicable the way Alistair Griffin was treated, a talented young man who has been the most entertaining on the live streaming for the whole show deserved better. I only hope they have not totally destroyed his credibility and his chances in the music business.

I hope someone in authority at the BBC prints a public apology to him. Common criminals get treated better on your TV shows.
Debbie Johnson, UK

Totally and appallingly biased. The BBC standards have gone down in my estimation and I cannot believe that they allowed the programme to go out as it did. Daniel Bedingfield's comment "vote for Alex" was totally shocking. Everyone looked uncomfortable, not least Alex Parks. It is one thing to give a view, but this was blatantly ignorant and most probably influential as it was meant to be. This show is supposed to be about public choice, after all it's public money. The whole show was one sided and an embarrassment to watch.

Flipping over to BBC3 in the break revealed more of the same. "So called" professional guests making rude and childish comments about a certain finalist just made me sick.. I have lost faith in the BBC.
F Rich, U.K.

I'm looking forward to hearing something different in the charts. It has been overloaded with poptarts for sometime now! No offence intended!!
Claire, UK

If you close your eyes and listen to Alex sing you get a vision of Elki Brookes. A very unique voice for a young girl with her whole life in front of her. I really do hope she goes far.
Roz, England

Simply amazing. Hairs on the back of your neck stuff. Incredible, this girl will go far and I'm looking forward to listening to her all the way. Just let her have her creative freedom and don't chain her down to music industry stereotypes and all will be good. Thank you BBC for unearthing such a rare and precious talent.
Matt, UK

As an avid follower of both series of F.A, I have to comment on the disappointment I felt at the unfair treatment of Alistair. Daniel Bedingfield was absolutely out of order in endorsing Alex. Alex is indeed magical and no doubt commercial, but did Alastair receive an equal chance? I think not!
Jane, Scotland

I followed Fame Academy II with relish and I was very happy to see Alex come out on top. Right from the start I tipped her to go all the way and saturday's final was just desserts for Alex. I just hope Polydor will provide a better backbone for Alex than last year's winner David Sneddon. Alex has originality, style, passion and above all a fantastic voice, I really think she's going to make it big time - and thanks to the BBC for making it happen.
Liam McDonald, England

Alistair was excellent despite the harsh criticism.
Rosemary Morrison, UK

I thought the three performers were excellent. Not so the judges, the teachers should be professional and unbiased, I did not find this the case with a couple of them. As for David Bedingfield I thought he was a disgrace to the music industry, telling the public to vote for Alex whilst Alistair was standing there. How hunilating for Alistair. Does DB forget he is not a massive star yet and also he was, at one, time at the bottom of the pile.
JayJay, England

LOVED IT! Great entertainment and REAL talent (unlike so many other shows on TV); the selection of songs has been consistently good; great platform for excellent genuine young talent; loved the fact they can all write as well as sing; just wish Patrick would STOP arguing with Richard Park: who of the 2 has the most experience of nurturing and managing artists and therefore the more realistic view of their potential?!
Alexandra Daws, Belgium

Thank goodness Alex won! The real winner is the British music industry - Alex is head and shoulders above any other reality pop show contestant here or abroad and now we just have to hope she is able to make the right decisions about the music she is going to make.
Kate, UK




SEE ALSO:
Alex Parks: Reluctant heroine
04 Oct 03  |  Entertainment
Academy vote mix-up played down
29 Sep 03  |  Entertainment
Peter is latest Academy eviction
27 Sep 03  |  Entertainment
Alex odds on for Fame
14 Sep 03  |  Cornwall
Fame Academy axe denied
11 Sep 03  |  Entertainment


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