And the contestants from Andhra Pradesh have finally got their due. After three - including the well-remembered Karunya - missed the top spot, Sreeram Chandra from Hyderabad won Indian Idol Season 5 on August 15.
Sreeram beat Gujarati girl Bhoomi Trivedi and Agra boy Rakesh Maini to lift the crown at the grand finale held at Filmistan Studios.
Sreeram was a finalist favourite almost from the very beginning. A versatile and highly talented singer, he had already sung playback in several Telugu movies before entering the music reality show.
Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan announced the winner at the finale. Big B said that he had been watching Indian Idol because his wife Jaya loves the show. “It is very difficult to satisfy her because she has very strong likes and dislikes. Since she followed this programme, I followed suit,” he said.
As the new Indian Idol, twenty-four-year-old Sreeram has bagged a Rs 50 lakh cash prize, a car, a motorbike, a one-year contract with Sony TV and a chance to sing in one of the forthcoming movies of Yashraj Films.
Sreeram, who has already recorded a song with Shreya Ghoshal for an upcoming movie, thanked all those who wished for his victory and voted for him.
For Sreeram, winning the title on India's Independence Day was a special feat. Before winning the title, he had said: "Independence Day has always been important. If I win, I will feel lucky that I have received my identity on a day when my country celebrates its independence. For the rest of my life I will celebrate this day as my victory day."
The finale also saw a mÃ©lange of celebrities like Kareena Kapoor, Kailash Kher, Richa Sharma, Alisha Chinai, and Shankar Mahadevan.
With inputs from IANS