Cristian Prajescu—a little-known 16-year-old—was the surprise winner of our poll for the second semi-final of Romania’s Selectia Nationala. Singing “The Best Thing In Life Is To Love”, he went on to dominate the semi-final televoting up to the very last minute, when “Romania’s Got Talent” finalist Narcis Ianau inched ahead with his song “Seven”. He surpassed popular stars like Elena Carstea and Andrei Leonte and now everyone has the same question on their mind: Who are you Cristian Prajescu?

Leading Romanian newspaper Adevarul revealed that 11,000 texts were sent to residents of Roman, Prajescu’s small hometown, which asked for them to support him in the semi-final. We wanted to investigate this further and asked Cristian a few questions, which he was happy to answer.

First of all, congratulations for advancing to the Final of Romania’s Selectia Nationala 2013. You are now one of the 12 names who aim to represent our country in Malmö. How do you feel about it?

Thank you so much! I am extremely happy to have reached this stage. I was ecstatic in the first moments. The joy has slowly started to sink in, but I will always be proud of this achievement.

After the first minute of televoting, Prajescu looked to be the winner of the semi-final

Cristian Prajescu is a 16-year old 10th grade student at Roman Voda High school in Roman. As any other teenager, he enjoys life to the max and is not afraid of challenges. Selectia Nationala is one them, a challenge to outdo myself. You haven’t heard of me until now because it’s my first participation in such a contest, but I will not stop here, that’s for sure!

To almost everyone’s surprise, you received a lot of votes from viewers. How do you feel to know that you were more appreciated than veteran Elena Carstea and X Factor Romania winner Andrei Leonte?

I cannot say that I was appreciated more than other, bigger artists, but it’s true that I was voted by my friends and supporters.

That is true, isn’t it? The media even accused you of defrauding the semi-final by sending out 11,000 text messages to the people of Roman, asking them to vote for you. What’s your response?

It wasn’t me, but the mayor of Roman and my colleagues who did that. They also gave out flyers, without me asking them to do that. I think that ultimately the accusation is not valid, because we didn’t force or pay the viewers to vote for me. If they hadn’t liked my performance, they wouldn’t have voted for me.

Your song, written by Sergiu Rudich, is considered by some critics to be old-fashioned, too romantic, and stuck in the 80’s. What is your take on that?

You know what they say, it’s a matter of taste. I love this song, but I am aware that it won’t be loved by everyone, because the public’s preferences vary greatly.

You have been nicknamed “Romania’s Bryan Adams”. Are you flattered or you would rather be known as “Romania’s Cristian Prajescu”? And who is your favorite international singer, by the way?

I am of course honored to be compared with the Bryan Adams, who is also my favorite singer, but I am aware that I am not his equal in any way! And yes, one day I wish that people recognize me by name alone.

Cristian Prajescu’s cover of “Heaven” by Bryan Adams

Some finalists are revising their show on 9 March, based on the feedback from fans and media. Are you also planning on doing that?

All I can say at this point is that I will try not to disappoint anyone who voted for me.

Our readers recognized your potential and overwhelmingly voted in your favor ahead of the semi-final. What would you like to say to those who appreciate your talent from beyond the borders of Romania?

I would like to thank them from the bottom of my heart for supporting me, for being there for me and for believing in my dream as well!