Paul Potts was exactly what the producers of [RoviLink="VW"]Britain's Got Talent were looking for when they finally launched the program in the U.K. after much delay: an ordinary bloke, working in an ordinary job, but with an extraordinary talent. Simon Cowell's latest project, after half a decade of involvement with TV talent shows primarily involving singers, was a national contest with a public vote for all types of talents -- singers, dancers, magicians, ventriloquists, and even more extreme novelty acts. After an aborted start when the show's chosen host, Paul O'Grady, defected to Channel Four television and refused to front the show for ITV, flagship presenters Ant & Dec were brought in and the program finally got underway in June 2007. Along with the multitude of singers at the audition stage, in walked acts such as Doctor Gore (a horror magician specializing in cutting people up), Kit Kat Dolls (a drag act), and several cute children of various ages, the youngest being Connie Talbot, a six-year-old singer. When Paul Potts arrived and said he was going to singNessun Dorma, all doubts were cast aside and he was immediately considered the joint favorite to win the contest, with prize money of -ú100,000 and a chance to perform at [RoviLink="VW"]The Royal Variety Show.
Paul Potts was born in Bristol on the 13th of October 1970, one of four children to a bus driver father and a mother who worked in a local supermarket. An ordinary schoolboy who later claimed he had been bullied as a child, his jobs on leaving school were also at a supermarket (stacking shelves), and at the time he entered [RoviLink="VW"]Britain's Got Talent he was working for the Bridgend branch of the Carphone Warehouse, a mobile phone retailer. In 1999 he had his first taste of television when he appeared on the Michael Barrymore show [RoviLink="VW"]My Kind of Music and won enough money to enable him to travel to Italy and take singing lessons at a summer school. He sang with the Bath Opera, a local amateur company, and performed the roles of Don Basilio in The Marriage of Figaro, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, and the Herald in Turandot. He also toured Italy and sang with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, all of which caused some controversy on the [RoviLink="VW"]Britain's Got Talent show, which was supposed to be for undiscovered talent, but Potts' response to this was that he had never been paid for any of the performances -- he had personally paid for all his training and even the Italian tour was part of the course. He had very low self-esteem and had just about given up on a career in music, particularly after an accident in 2003 in which he broke his collarbone and almost abandoned singing altogether. Winning the TV talent show, however, gave him a new outlook on life, and less than a month after the show's finale, in which he again sang Nessun Dorma, his debut album, One Chance, was released, selling over 125,000 copies in its first week. One wonders what would have happened had Doctor Gore won [RoviLink="VW"]Britain's Got Talent instead of Paul Potts.
Potts returned in 2009 with his second album Passione which he recorded in Prague and Stockholm and took nearly a year to complete. The record included a mixture of songs from musicals, operas and soundtracks that appealed to his wide range of fans. The following year Potts was dropped from Simon CowellGÇÖs label Syco and signed with Sony for his third release Cinema Paradiso. Although the record found success in Canada and Germany, it is yet to be released in the UK. ~ Sharon Mawer
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