Christian Singer Claims 'Indonesian Idol”'Title

( [email protected] ) Sep 06, 2004 09:00 PM EDT

24-year-old Christian singer Joy Tobing has been awarded the title of first “Indonesian Idol.” Announced on Saturday, Joy won the pop-singing contest over fellow finalist, Delon Thamrin, also a Christian, after a week of campaigning for votes in malls, schools, and cafes.

"Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for all who have helped me," said a tearful Joy Tobing. "We were nothing before this and now people know us. They have given us so much love.” The announcement was met with loud applause from tens of thousands of fans, including Indonesia’s top politicians.

That a Christian ended up the winner of the contest in the most populated Muslim country in the world, with 85% of the population embracing that faith, did not seem to bother Muslim fans of the show. "This is just a singing contest," said one fan during the finals.