The battle of the divas on M-Net's Idols 2 talent search reached a glittering finale on Sunday night when the crown went to blonde Anke Pietrangeli of Bloemfontein who, amid a shower of fireworks and confetti, was hoisted on to the shoulders of the only male Top 10 finalists, Jacques TerreBlanche and Waffeeq Saffodien.

Anke's rendition of Independent Love Song and Unforgettable, for which she was backed by other Idols 2 finalists, drove a capacity, banner-waving crowd wild at the grand finale, televised live from Johannesburg's Gold Reef City Hippodrome Theatre.

But the roar of approval grew louder during her rendition of what will become her first single, a catchy pop-rock piece titled Silver Lining, which is perfectly suited to her style. The song was also sung on Sunday night by radiant Idols 2 runner-up Poseletso Sejosingoe, the wide-smiling teenager from Lotus River, who turns 19 on Friday. Earlier she won loud applause for her renditions of Bridge Over Troubled Water and, with the audience waving sparklers, You Light Up My Life.

Poseletso, who didn't enter the competition - she had been discovered at her school and was persuaded to enter by Idols 2 presenters when they went canvassing for extra contestants - took defeat graciously.

She tightly hugged the tearful winner of a competition that has kept viewers glued to their screens for six months and which has attracted 8 million votes, 1,5 million in the past week alone.

Anke, 20, whose prizes include a R300 000 car and a recording contract with BMG Records, will release her single within days, followed by a debut album.

There was another prize on Sunday night - a wooden microphone statuette was handed to balding Jaco Snyman, at whose audition a gravelly rendition of If Tomorrow Never Comes was voted as the worst among more than 10 000 people who entered Idols 2.

Good news for fans is that those placed second and third - Poseletso and heart-throb Jacques TerreBlanche, who is now sporting a new hairstyle - are also to record albums.

Plans are also afoot for an international Idols series which would feature 12 countries represented by the winners of their first competitions.

This would see South Africa represented by Heinz Winckler, last year's winner and a special guest at Sunday night's show, which showcased two new songs by UK Pop Idol heart-throb Gareth Gates.