Teen singing sensation Lorde has surprised students from her old school with a visit to judge its annual talent quest.

The 17-year-old - real name Ella Yelich-O'Connor - performed in the same competition at Belmont Intermediate on Auckland's North Shore when she was 12.

Her Belmont Idol performance of Warwick Avenue by Duffy was later shown to Universal Music representatives and she was signed to the label.

The Takapuna teen arrived at her old school with her mum hours after she returned from New York at 8am.


Lorde was one of three judges, and was introduced last resulting in cheers and screams from 550 students in the school hall.

The global popstar hugged her old class teacher Jenny Armitage before she took her seat on the judging panel.

She read out the winners after the 90-minute contest, with Kip Griffin who sang One More Night by Maroon 5 winning the competition.

Griffin, who was rather shy when approached by the Herald, said Lorde was his "idol".

Afterwards students swarmed Lorde afterwards, signing autographs and taking pictures.

Principal Nick Hill said staff were told about Lorde's visit only this morning, and that they were all big fans of hers.

Earlier this week the Royals singer, along with golfer Lydia Ko, topped the list of Time magazine's most influential teenagers in the world.

She also signed a publishing deal with Songs Music Publishing (SMP). The Wall Street Journal reported other publishers had made bids of US$4 million (NZ$4.9m).

This exclusive, behind-the-scenes video gives you a sneak peak at what makes Lorde one of 2013's standout acts. Video: Spotify/YouTube