Count Nevio Passaro among the myriad young singers launched to fame via the reality TV phenomenon of the early 21st century. Born May 11, 1980 in Bad Windsheim, Germany, Passaro toured as a teen with his group Nevio & Friends, and at 19 signed to BMG Ariola to issue his debut solo single "La Mia Parola." The record went nowhere, however, and he turned away from music to attend the University of Bologna. Born to a German father and Italian mother, Passaro grew up speaking both of their respective native tongues, and while studying foreign languages he became fluent in English and French as well. He was, in fact working as an interpreter when in 2006 he successfully auditioned for the third season of the television amateur showcase Deutschland Sucht Den Superstar, the German edition of the global Pop Idol franchise. Considered an early favorite to claim top honors, Passaro instead came in fourth, but his popularity with viewers was enough to earn a record deal with Universal, which in early 2007 issued his debut solo LP Nevio. The album was a Top Ten hit in both Germany and Austria, buoyed by the blockbuster single "Amore Per Sempre."