Londonderry teenager Damian McGinty has made his US television debut on one of the most popular shows on the planet.
The 19-year-old from Galliagh saw off competition from 40,000 performers to secure a seven-episode guest appearance on smash-hit musical comedy-drama Glee.
Landing the role was no small feat.
Damian was the only non-American contestant on The Glee Project and received millions of votes to be crowned co-winner, alongside Samuel Larsen.
In his first episode, that aired on Fox this week, Damian appeared as quiffed green-clad charmer Rory Flanagan, a 15-year-old foreign exchange student.
In a stereotypical but fun episode entitled ‘Pot O' Gold’, Rory takes a shine to cheerleader Brittany, who believes he is her own personal leprechaun and that only she can see him.
In another storyline, the newest member of the New Directions Glee Club, is beaten up because he doesn't fit in with the other children.
Critics and fans of the show are raving about Damian, a former child star of Phil Coulter’s Celtic Thunder group.
His acting performance and vocals on Bein' Green and Take Care Of Yourself impressed fans of the worldwide TV smash hit and they are now calling for his role to be made permanent
Damian said he thinks of this character Rory as a younger version of himself, “very vulnerable and very cutesy”.
The talented teenager, who counts U2, The Script and Damien Rice as his favourite music acts, acknowledges that his life has changed beyond recognition and that he is honoured to get the opportunity to shine on a global stage.
“Sometimes I sit down and think I have been alive for 19 years and I have made it onto the biggest television show in America,” he told RTE.
“I am living in LA in an apartment and I do honestly think to myself sometimes, how the hell did I get here? The biggest thing is moving from Derry to LA. Derry will always be my home, I miss my family and my friends, but I am having the time of my life and I hope it lasts for a long time.”
What critics said
Entertainment Weekly: “Glee had a pretty solid return last night after its baseball hiatus, thanks in large part to Glee Project co-winner Damian McGinty's debut.”
Hollywood Reporter: “McGinty’s Rory didn’t take long to make an impact.”
Entertainment News: “McGinty was fabulous in his debut episode.”