NZ Idol judge Paul Ellis says he is embarrassed for singing star Michael Murphy, whose new song release, touted as an original, has been outed as a cover.

The NZ Idol runner-up performed his first single, So Damn Beautiful, on TV2's Top of the Pops on Saturday night.

Murphy has been calling the song an original but the song was written by an American and released by Texan rock band Vallejo in 2002.


The revelation came on fan website after a blogger known as "Robyn" let slip where the song had come from.

Ellis, who is Murphy's manager, told the Herald yesterday he didn't have time to give a lesson in music industry basics when asked whether royalties were being paid to the song's writer.

Ellis said he had come across the song about five years ago while working for Sony in New York.

He was dealing with Vallejo and came into possession of the song but did not know Vallejo had released it when it was given to Murphy.

"I am just embarrassed for him on my belief that we didn't know the song had been covered by Vallejo," Ellis said when asked if he had let Murphy down.

The song was nominated for a Grammy after its 2002 release by Vallejo.

"We chose the song on its merits and whether it had been released before or not we always loved the song."

Murphy could not be contacted yesterday.

His family directed all calls to Ellis.