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Proof, as if any were needed, of what a global phenomenon Simon Fuller and his management company, 19 Entertainment, unleashed with the first season of the U.K. reality series Pop Idol in 2001 came in December 2006 when the third season of the Swedish edition of Pop Idol was won by a 24-year-old singer named Markus Fagervall. Fagervall not only was a complete unknown prior to the series starting, but he was a complete unknown from the impossibly remote village of Overtornea, a town of not quite 2,000 people just above the Arctic Circle on the Finnish border, where the local language is Meankieli, an otherwise unknown dialect with roots in both Swedish and Finnish. When someone from a background like that becomes a media star, Marshall McLuhan's theories have once and for all been proven incontrovertibly right. Fagervall, who looks kind of like the American actor Matthew McConaughey with Joan Jett's haircut, was born in Overtornea on October 5, 1982. Just over 24 years later, Fagervall won Pop Idol with his version of Keane's immensely likeable pop/rock hit "Everything Changes," which was then rush-released as his first single. Markus Fagervall's debut album, Echo Heart, was released in Sweden on Christmas Day, 2006, just over three weeks after his winning performance, and was almost immediately certified double platinum. ~ Stewart Mason