An emotional Camillia Temple bowed out of NZ Idol tonight, vowing that the nation had not seen the last of her.
The 28-year-old diva lost out in a public vote to Michael Murphy and Ben Lummis, but promised she would be back. "You just try and stop me," she said.
Visibly moved and choking back tears after the show's climax, Camillia promised she would keep singing. "It's like breathing for me."
In what has become one of TV's highest-rating shows, NZ Idol, after six months and 10,000 singers, has its final two.
Finalists Murphy, 17, and 24-year-old Lummis will go larynx-to-larynx next weekend, performing five songs each in a bid to win the Idol crown -- and a recording contract.
It was a night of high drama, with hundreds of cheering fans inside and outside the West-Auckland studio.
But at the end of it all, the internet chatter was proved right and there was no real surprise that Camillia was going home. The mother of one from Hamilton has performed consistently since the beginning.
But when the crowd want a pop idol, they want the next Robbie Williams -- not a Tina Turner Tribute, albeit a good one.
However, Camillia held centre stage for one last time, to repeat her performance from Sunday's show of Whitney Houston's How Will I Know. Such was her popularity that when the live television show ended, the studio audience demanded she sing her hallmark -- Prince's Purple Rain.
After the show Camillia admitted the schedule of performing had been a gruelling one but said the support she received had pulled her through.
"There were times when I could not carry myself and they (the fans) supported me."
She was proud to have made it into the top three but was not surprised to have been voted off.
She would not be drawn on who would be the eventual winner. "I've got no idea. They've got a big challenge next week but they are both amazing."
In what promises to be one of the country's biggest television events, Murphy and Lummis will sing off next Sunday night, with the winner announced on Monday.
Judge Paul Ellis said he had been "transfixed" by Camillia's performance on Sunday night, and his fellow judge Fiona MacDonald told her she would be a star.
If overseas Idol shows are anything to go by, then we certainly haven't seen the last of Camillia.
- NEW ZEALAND HERALD