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Paul Potts Biography
Paul Potts (born 1971 in Bristol), from Port Talbot in South Wales, was the winner of the first series of ITV's Britain's Got Talent, singing operatic aria and wowing the judges in all of his performances. Potts had previously worked in unpaid opera productions from 1999 to 2003, however, illness in 2003 brought an end to his amateur opera career. At the time of his victory he had been working in The Carphone Warehouse, but following his win has been signed by Simon Cowell to record an album.
Britain's Got Talent
On June 9, 2007 he took part in Simon Cowell's new search-for-a-star show Britain's Got Talent on ITV which was held at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. Paul sang a condensed version of Giacomo Puccini's Nessun dorma , which amazed the judges and received a standing ovation from the 2,000-strong audience. Paul's rendition of this has currently been viewed on video upload site YouTube and similar sites over 10 million times. The first audition screened was actually the second time that Potts had performed, the first being an a cappella version for the producers of the show.
In the semi-final on June 14, Potts performed main verses of Con te partirò with praise from the audience and judges. He progressed to the final after receiving the highest public vote in that show. He performed a full-length Nessun dorma for his final on June 17th as well as an encore after he won the competition. Potts easily defeated co-favourite with the bookmakers, Connie Talbot and received the highest public vote out of 2 million votes cast to win Britain's Got Talent. Simon Cowell then told him he would be recording his debut album later in the week.
In the United States, he was profiled on a National Public Radio programme called Day to Day on Friday June 15th. NPR is a non-commercial network that reaches several million people every day in the U.S. On Monday, June 18th, a commercial US Television network, NBC, highlighted Mr Potts's victory on its broadcast network's NBC Nightly News and on its Cable news outlet MSNBC. Then on Thursday, June 21st, he appeared live on NBC's widely-viewed program Today . As a consequence, a sizable number of Americans have had a chance to learn his story and hear him sing.
During their programme there was some controversy as to the 'undiscovered' nature of Potts' talent, who was portrayed on the show as simply a mobile phone salesman, whereas he had in fact appeared in four amateur opera productions and in a concert for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and had plans for a summer tour with the Orchestra. Potts responded to his critics saying that he had not claimed to be completely untutored, but had never performed any concert for pay, and was therefore amateur, and that the lessons he had received in Italy he had paid for from his own savings.
Previous work and experience
Potts is said to have first sung Opera in 1999 in a karaoke competition, dressed as Pavarotti, although he had said during the show that his voice had always been a source of solace in the past when bullied, so he would have sung from a younger age. That same year he appeared in the Michael Barrymore talent show My Kind of Music. Although he did not win the competition, he won £8,000, which helped to pay for singing lessons in Italy. During his singing course he was selected as one of the best students, to sing in front of Luciano Pavarotti and Katia Ricciarelli, who were apparently impressed with his singing.
For the Bath UK based amateur company Bath Opera, he has performed on four occasions in the roles of Don Basilio (Marriage of Figaro), Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) and the title role in Verdi's Don Carlos, and Turandot as Prince of Persia and Herald. He also sang for the Royal Philharmonic in front of an audience of 15,000 and toured Northern Italy as a soloist.
Potts broke his collarbone in a motorcycle accident in 2003, which prevented him from pursuing opera as a career. He says that this, as well as financial difficulties, led to him entering the talent show which he won and got the opportunity to perform in front of the Queen at the Royal Variety Performance 2007.
In the interview that was broadcast before his performance in the semi-final, Paul stated that he had had trouble with being bullied in school, and that it may have had an influence on his (lack of) self-confidence.
He has been married to his wife Julie for four years, whom he met in an Internet chat room.
Until June 19, 2007 Potts worked as a manager at the Bridgend Carphone Warehouse, a mobile phone store around 8 miles from his home town. He is a Liberal Democrat councillor in Bristol.