Lisa Mitchell has completed an extraordinary transition from TV talent show contestant to critics' favorite with her victory Friday (March 12) in the prestigious Australian Music Prize.

The folk-tinged singer's debut album "Wonder" today beat-out eight other shortlisted albums to claim the fifth annual prize, and the $30,000 Australian ($27,400) winner's cheque.

Mitchell endeared herself to millions as the dreamy teen participant on the 2006 series of "Australian Idol." Her charm has seemingly rubbed off on U.K. audiences, where "Wonder" opened to favorable reviews ahead of its release there last Oct. 26. "Wonder" reached No. 6 in Australia following its July 31 release, and a hat trick of ARIA Award nominations followed.

The singer's relocation to the U.K. paid off with a performance at the 2009 Glastonbury Festival and a national headline club tour which ran through November. Her current tour of the U.K. wraps March 17 at the Borderline in London, after which an Australian tour will start April 29 at the Warrnambool Entertainment Centre in Victoria. Mitchell is signed to RCA/Sony Music for the world outside Australia, where she is released by Warner Music.

Modeled on Britain's Mercury Prize, the AMP was established in 2006 to recognize Australian albums on artistic excellence, rather than chart success or commercial sales.

Peter Garrett, the former Midnight Oil frontman who now serves as Australia's minister for environment protection, heritage and the arts, was a guest speaker at the AMP ceremony at the Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art.

Guests were treated to a performance by AMP-shortlisted alternative rock group Oh Mercy, recent recipients of the Red Bull Award, an annual $15,000 Australian ($13,700) cash gift bestowed in recognition of outstanding potential. Oh Mercy's debut album "Privileged Woes" was released down under by independent label Casadeldisco Records and distributed in Australia by Shock.