I have stayed away from all these shows in which people sing, juggle, or do whatever they can to win the prize. Just not for me. Could never figure out the fascination with American Idol. But Dafydd at Big Lizards put this video up and I was blown away by this guy. Apparently they have the same sort of show in England and this man, with the god awful teeth of an Englishman, sang an opera piece that blew me away….and I don’t even listen to opera.
HE’S battled a burst appendix, a huge tumour on his adrenal gland and a shattered collarbone after being knocked off his bike.
But Paul Potts had to face another traumatic hurdle when he took part in Simon Cowell’s new search-for-a-star show Britain’s Got Talent on ITV1.
And there’s little more daunting than singing a famous opera song in front of TV’s Mr Nasty, ex-tabloid editor Piers Morgan and actress Amanda Holden!
But last night the 36-year-old Port Talbot singer wowed the judges, who are searching for an act to perform in front of The Queen at the Royal Variety Performance and win a £100,000 prize.
Wearing a “cheap Tesco suit” and with his hair cut too short, Paul admits the trio weren’t initially impressed. But when he sang Nessun Dorma, he blew them away.
The Astute Blogger who IS a opera fan gave his review:
Potts is no Luciano. His performance is imperfect, technically – but it is emotionally perfect. Better than Bjorling and almost as good as Luciano.
I think most REAL opera fans look for perfection.
I feel that it’s in our imperfections that our unicity is revealed. And allowing others to see one’s own imperfections takes real guts. BUT THERE IS A PAYOFF: Since most people are imperfect, they can relate to and connect with a performer who shows his humanity.
But you know what also comes out of this? When you first watched this video did you not look at his appearance and wonder if this was a spoof?
Appearances can be deceiving.
The Anchoress has much more on this incredible talent.
Here is his semi-final performance:
Paul has appeared on national and local television and radio. His claim to fame is his 1999 appearance on Michael Barrymore’s My Kind of Music. He has spent two summers touring Northern Italy training with one of the major opera schools, training under top teachers Mario Melani and Svetlana Sidrova, and has taken part in master classes with Vilma Vernocchi, Katia Ricciarelli and Luciano Pavarotti. He has also performed with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
He’s estimated that he has spent 20,000 pounds to get where he is which still doesn’t take away from his accomplishment. I’m sure some of the artists that have been to the finals of the other shows have done much of the same kind of things as Paul did to get where they ultimately ended up…on a hugely popular talent show.
Check out this email Jonah at The Corner received which is probably the best summary about why so many are pulling this guy:
Jonah – I came into work this morning, ran through my email, signed payroll, ran out to rake a couple of employees over the coals, went back to the office, pulled up NRO, and clicked on the Corner. That’s when I ran across your post about Paul Potts. The video came up and there’s this dumpy guy with bad teeth. Then he started to sing. Now, I’m not an overly emotional person, but halfway through I realized I was crying. Haven’t done anything like that in many, many years, and I wondered, as I dried my eyes, how in the world his singing could have caused such a strong reaction in me. The video has been on a loop in my head ever since, and I think I’m ready to make a guess.
His expression before he begins to sing is that of a man resigned to disappointment. Even when he smiles, his eyes convey a profound sadness. He has been a nobody all his life. He, and perhaps only he, knows he has greatness inside of him, but he is obviously a humble man, massively insecure, afraid of rejection, unsure of himself outside the cocoon of anonymity. But you get the feeling he also knows that this may be the one chance he gets to escape the cocoon, and as he begins to sing, you can see him fighting down his fear. I think that is the wellspring of the emotion that pervades his performance. He is fighting against a life of obscurity. By the song’s end, what was an average Joe has stepped up, beaten back his fear, and broken through. In those few seconds, he put the void behind him, and his life will probably be changed forever because he called up the courage at that moment to show what he was really made of. We saw greatness, long denied, finally being born.
It was one of the most heroic things I’ve seen in a long time. My deepest thanks to you for posting it. Truly inspirational.
UPDATE III – JUNE 18TH, 2007
The final was held last night and here is Paul Potts winning the whole shabang:
One aspect of this guy may be that opera gains some more fans. I myself have looked into some opera myself after viewing this…if it can produce this much emotion I can’t imagine what watching a whole opera would do. Maybe this old Marine can gain some culture huh?
A good email at the corner about those who dismiss Paul as anything but an amateur:
Not to overwhelm you with argument, but, the people bellyaching about Paul Potts’ not being an amateur make me sick. I do have some background and experience in singing, by the way… . And one of my best friends was Boris Goldovsky’s music director for the Goldovsky Opera Theater.
Paul Potts won 6000 pounds in a talent show, and spent it all and three times as much trying to make up for crippling liabilities in the opera world, those being, being too poor, too old, having no connections, not looking beautiful, and not being able to go to college university or conservatory.
He paid his own way on for-profit opera tours where people pay to sing, and the highlight is you get to sing before a name singer, and that person pats you on the head and says something diplomatic.
Pavarotti has probably over the decades of his career sat as 10,000 students or questers sang for him.
Had Paul Potts been a junior in some college and had spent a summer in Italy spending Daddy’s money to hang out on the periphery, would anyone say “professional”?
The man doesn’t even have a $25/week church gig.
Now, I could go on at three times the length why he is out of his depth in big roles like Calaf (Nessun Dorma), but he can make some “popera” records and then if he can make the right people take him seriously, he can have a career singing “male best friend of the male love interest” roles… .
The sky is the limit for this guy if he can get his foot in the door. He wasn’t trained to sing from before he began to walk like many of the professionals and obviously has the drive and the will to succeed.
Congrats Paul, you deserve this. He took his one shot, and that is all that matters
UPDATE V JUNE 21ST, 2007
Here is Paul on the Today Show today:
In this article he states he is gonna get his teeth fixed with some of the 250 grand he won:
MOBILE-PHONE salesman turned opera singing sensation Paul Potts is planning to put the $234,000 he won on Britain’s Got Talent towards a new smile.
The 36-year-old, who is also planning to return to work this week, hopes cosmetic dentistry will help him get pearlers like program judge Simon Cowell.
Watch his final performance on Britain’s Got Talent:
"I’d like to deal with the teeth because I do feel very self-concious about them," he said.
"It’d be nice to feel less self-conscious and to be able to smile with confidence.
"I’m not sure about veneers but I do want to get the crown repaired. It would be nice to be able to smile naturally. I feel very self conscious about it at the moment.
"But whatever happens, I still remain an ordinary bloke. I am no better than other people – I just happen to have a different talent."
And by the way, that record he is making is due to his signing of a multi-album deal with Simon’s company worth 1 million pounds or close to 2 million dollars US:
Paul continues to go from strength to strength after his sensational victory on the Sunday night finale of hit ITV show Britain’s got Talent by signing his first record deal, just a few weeks removed from selling mobile phones!
It is a multi album deal with Simon Cowell’s Syco label for a cool £1 million. Paul is due to start recording on Thursday during a tour of the USA.
Included on the album are thought to be a string of classic opera hits including his rendition of Nessun Dorma – performed in both the auditions and the final, though there is no word yet on whether his excellent semi-final performance of Time to Say Goodbye will be included.
From a guy 30,000 pounds in debt working at a cell phone store to a opera recording artist worth over 2 million dollars. All because he took that one chance to prove himself instead of resigning himself to failure.
What a story.