Aussie finalist in $1 million contest
AN Australian singer has made the top 10 in million dollar talent search, Megastar Millionaire.
Chris Black, of the Gold Coast, is one of the finalists in the global app-based contest backed by R&B singer Usher.
Australian-raised, New Zealand-born Black is currently placed second in the rankings, as voted for by the public. If he makes the grand final, he will fly to Los Angeles next week to meet Grammy-winner Usher, who is Megastar's "chief creative officer".
"I should know by Saturday night whether I'm going to LA," Black, 25, said today.
"I've been pretty safe inside the top five for the last two weeks, alternating between third, fourth and fifth (place)."
Megastar Millionaire is broadcast worldwide via its app and Australia is its second-highest audience behind the United States.
Black has been competing against entrants from the United States, Canada, UK and South Africa, as well as Down Under.
He credits his success in the contest with overhauling his partying lifestyle, and shedding more than 10kg since January.
"It has definitely helped not only physically but mentally," Black said. "I was in a rut, just not in a great way, partying heaps, drinking and going out.
"And then I just decided to make a change and I did, focusing on health and fitness. I went six and a half months (and) didn't touch a drop of alcohol," he said.
"I've only been out a couple of times this year. It's very rare that I'll party hard now."
As part of Megastar Millionaire, contestants submitted a weekly video of them performing a song, with Black's entries including versions of I See Fire by Ed Sheeran, Drake's Hold On, We're Going Home and Sam Smith's Too Good At Goodbyes.
"One of my best friends told me about (the competition)," Black said. "He said to me, 'you've got nothing to lose, man, upload a video.'
"I auditioned for The X Factor a few years ago," Black said. "There were tonnes of auditions before you perform the judges. I ended up pulling out of it because I didn't think it was for me at the time. Not that I wasn't ready ... I just wanted to kind of do my own thing."
Launched in September, Megastar - which has a prize of US $1 million - was branded the world's first mobile talent competition.
The grand final is being held in LA on December 15, and streamed live via the Megastar app.
Sydney-based Megastar co-founder Adam Wellisch said Australians had taken to the app-based talent search concept.
"We are a country of tech savvy, mobile obsessed individuals and Australian users of the Megastar App come a close second to the US in minutes of livestream viewed in the Megastar App," Wellisch said.