In a finale aired on Top Billing on SABC3 on Tuesday 14 August, boy-next-door Jonathan Boynton-Lee was named as the winner of the My Top Billing Dream reality show hosted by the channel over the past three months.
“This year was particularly hard to choose a winner as we had such talented finalists, but ultimately Jonathan won us over,’ said judge and co-executive producer of Top Billing, Patience Stevens. “Right from the start when he first auditioned in Johannesburg we recognised something special in him – especially the way he spoke to us from the heart – but like the others nine finalists, he was put through his paces until we were absolutely sure he was exactly what we wanted for Top Billing.’
Stevens went on to congratulate the other nine finalists saying that they are all stars in their own right. “It was never going to be an easy decision but ultimately only one would have the chance to win the Top Billing Dream. Our final four were all incredibly strong contenders and the decision came down to the final challenge where each of them had the chance to present a show by themselves.’
The final four included Zama, who was a hot contender from the start as she had the most presenting experience – not to mention oodles of confidence; Chamendran, the sexy doctor with a great sense of humour; bubby Lynelle with her golden voice and gorgeous curls and Jonathan with his boyish charm and dashing good looks.
Jonathan said the fact that he studied Drama and TV Journalism at Rhodes may have helped him when it came to performing in front of the camera, and from his delightful carpentry insert in Knysna the judges could see he wasn’t afraid to try new things and laugh at himself when things didn’t go according to plan. He also impressed the judges with his good sense of comic timing and the fact that he was able to make his guests feel at ease, such as when he interviewed Isidingo’s Marisa Drummond at Gold Reef City. He also had female fans swooning when he took to the catwalk in an itsy-bitsy swimming costume at the My Top Billing Dream Fashion Show!
But it wasn’t all plain sailing for easy-going Jonathan. In week five he found himself in the bottom three after his adventure challenge of land yachting, which he had thought had gone well. Luckily he was spared by the judges and was more determined than ever to pull out all the stops for the finale. On the night he gave it his all and accompanied singer Paige Mac on the piano – proving what an all-round talent he is. “It was pretty nerve-wracking’, he said. “My mom was there and you know how it is when your mom’s around – since I was a little boy I always wanted to make her proud.’
As for hearing his name called out as the winner, Jonathan said everything was a blur. “I can’t even remember what I did when my name was called out. My mom came up and hugged me, but other than that, I can’t remember a thing. I’ve never been so overwhelmed with emotion. My body didn’t know how to react. It still hasn’t sunk in. How does an actor feel after winning an Oscar? How does an Olympic athlete feel after winning the gold? It’s indescribable – it doesn’t feel real.’