ORLANDO, FL, Apr 26, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) --This morning, Chrislyn Hamilton, a McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) crew member from Brisbane, Australia, amazed celebrity judges and rocked the stage in front of an audience of more than 15,000 with her powerful performance of "Natural Woman" to take top honors in the Voice of McDonald's global singing competition. In addition, the crowd witnessed incredible talent from second place winner Stephanie Savage from Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, third place winner Dyscem Mueldener from Munich, Germany, and fourth place winner Lyam Soto from Fajardo, Puerto Rico.
A panel of internationally-renowned music and entertainment industry professionals judged the final competition. The panel consisted of six-time Grammy Award-winning R&B singer Toni Braxton, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, legendary music producers Ron Fair and David Foster, and prominent entertainment attorney and brand strategist Ken Hertz.
As the new Voice of McDonald's winner, Hamilton receives $25,000, lends her voice to an upcoming DreamWorks Animation movie, a recording contract with award-winning producer Ron Fair, an appearance in an upcoming McDonald's TV commercial in her market, and, compliments of Coca-Cola, a VIP trip to the American Idol finals in Los Angeles. Savage receives $17,500, Mueldener receives $15,000 and Soto takes home $12,500 for their outstanding performances. They also will appear in an upcoming McDonald's TV commercial in their respective markets. The other 12 global contestants win $3,000, $500 for a party with co-workers at their restaurants and a $1,000 donation in their names for their local Ronald McDonald House Charities or other children's charity.
"I loved these performances," said Braxton. "I'm amazed by the talent I witnessed today from these McDonald's finalists."
Accompanied by a 32-piece orchestra and backup singers, the top four contestants poured their hearts and souls into their final performances for the owners/operators, suppliers and employees attending McDonald's 2012 Worldwide Convention.
"These singers are truly gifted," said Foster. "McDonald's has exceptionally talented employees, and I think they have what it takes to succeed."
"I'm so proud of Chrislyn and am so happy for her," said Steve Flook, McDonald's Australia Owner/Operator. "From the day she began working in my restaurant, she was a star employee behind the counter and also showed that spirit on stage today."
This week, all 16 contestants will participate in an exclusive, private audition at the Disney casting offices arranged by Talent Casting Director for Disney Parks Ray DeChiara, who judged Monday's semi-finals competition.
The Voice of McDonald's is a worldwide contest to discover, recognize and reward the most talented singers among the approximately 1.8 million restaurant employees in the McDonald's system. This fourth edition of the competition started with an initial field of more than 20,000 entries, included more than 70 country contests and 30 live performances before the popular singing competition called on consumers in five markets and top music industry professionals to narrow the field to 16 semi-finalist contestants.
To learn more about the Voice of McDonald's finalists, visit www.aboutmcdonalds.com or www.voiceofmcdonalds.com. For downloadable web and broadcast-quality video clips, visit http://www.epklink.com/VOMfinals.
McDonald's is the world's leading global foodservice retailer with more than 33,500 locations serving approximately 68 million customers in 119 countries each day. More than 80 percent of McDonald's restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local men and women. To learn more about the company, please visit www.aboutmcdonalds.com and follow us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/mcdonaldscorp) and Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/mcdonaldscorp).
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SOURCE: McDonald's Corporation