Though the concept has grown a bit long in the tooth for my liking, let’s give Phil Coulter and producer Sharon Browne their props. Celtic Thunder is just as much a glitzy Irish show as it is a launching pad that develops and showcases new talent coming out of Ireland and Scotland.
Damian McGinty, the youngest member of the troupe, has been selected as one of the Top 12 contenders out of 40,000 hopefuls who competed for a coveted spot on The Glee Project. The winner of the show will be cast in a seven-episode guest role in season three of hit show Glee on Fox.
The Glee Project premieres Sunday, June 12 on the Oxygen network at 9 p.m.
After selling over one million CDs to date with Celtic Thunder and traveling the world, the 18-year-old McGinty is no stranger to success. He joined Celtic Thunder at the tender age of 14 in 2007 and has seen the group increasingly gain popularity in the U.S. due to its constant touring schedule, four hit PBS specials and multiple national television show appearances.
Celtic Thunder’s rabid fan base flood their official YouTube channel, “Thunder Tube,” which has received nearly 19 million upload views since its inception in 2008, while McGinty has thousands of fans following his personal Facebook page and Twitter feed.
Most recently Celtic Thunder’s new album, Heritage, was ranked number one on the Billboard world album chart, and this fall the group will embark on a 45 city tour to support it.
Don’t get me wrong -- I am rooting for the kid and think he has crazy-mad talents. I just question the rationale behind him taking one of these coveted spots to stardom.
McGinty already has a launch pad that has exposed him to millions, making a top-selling solo album a no-brainer. There’s something a bit greedy in my mind to grab this launching pad out of the jaws of an actual unknown who may never get his or her chance because a bona fide star hogged this slot.
McGinty has progressed from a boy soprano in the original Celtic Thunder show to baritone in Celtic Thunder Christmas, essentially growing up before the eyes of millions.
His performance of the Coulter original “First Christmas Together” in the PBS Christmas special is another example of exposure that 99.9% of the population would harvest a kidney to get.
There. I feel better. Okay. I’ll get off the soapbox now.
Now I’m all set to cheer McGinty on!