Raymond Fiore
January 16, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

Kelly who? Emerging like a hobbit from Middle-earth (okay, Norway), gap-toothed ”World Idol” winner Kurt Nilsen, 25, has become Norway’s hottest vocal export since a-ha. After slaying favorites Clarkson and U.K. Pop Idol Will Young in London with an oh-my-God-can-you-believe-it? rendition of U2’s ”Beautiful Day,” the plumber and father of two is shopping a worldwide recording deal, but not before talking to EW.

Was there any trash-talking going on backstage?

No, we were all kinda friends actually. It’s the media that’s turned us against each other.

Have you seen the Internet lately?

Kelly fans are talking dirt about my fans. And then my fans talk s — – about Kelly fans.

Now that you’ve become an unlikely sex symbol, have any fans crossed the line?

Some of them, but I just have to tell them, ”You have to relax a little bit.” I’m just a poor plumber.

Speaking of which, do you have any plumbing tips?

Do not touch the sink, hire a plumber, because when everybody starts thinking ”Oh, I can do this,” they just mess it up ten times more.

Any words for your critics who said you’re not what a World Idol should look like?

I don’t think the judges looked too good either.

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