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Paul Potts (born 13 October 1970 in Bristol, England), from Port Talbot in South Wales, is a British singer who in 2007 became the winner of the first series of ITV's Britain's Got Talent, singing an operatic aria, Nessun dorma from Turandot. Potts had worked in unpaid opera productions from 1999 to 2003. He even remained as a Liberal Democrat councilor in Bristol from 1996 to 2003.
Potts was raised in Fishponds, Bristol. Potts attended St. Mary Redcliffe School, where he developed his love of singing. In the interview that was broadcast before his performance in the semifinal, Potts said that he had been bullied in school, and that experience may have had an influence on his lack of self-confidence. He made a similar remark in 1999 ? that his voice had always been a source of solace in the past when bullied.
Potts first sang opera in 1999 in a karaoke competition, dressed as Pavarotti. That same year he appeared in the Michael Barrymore talent show My Kind of Music. Although he did not take first place, he won ?8,000 ? enough to help pay for vocal lessons in Italy, during which he was selected to perform in front of singers Luciano Pavarotti and Katia Ricciarelli.
Potts said he broke his collarbone in a bicycle accident in 2003, an accident that prevented him from pursuing opera as a career. The mishap and financial difficulties led him to enter the talent show.
For the Bath Opera of Bath, Somerset, he performed on four occasions in the roles of Don Basilio (Marriage of Figaro), Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), Don Carlos Verdi's Don Carlos, and both the Prince of Persia and the Herald in Turandot. He also sang for the Royal Philharmonic in front of an audience of 15,000 and toured Northern Italy as a soloist.
On June 9, 2007, Potts' audition of Simon Cowell's new search-for-a-star show Britain's Got Talent was televised on ITV in UK. The audition itself was held at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff on March 17, 2007. Paul sang a condensed version of Giacomo Puccini's Nessun dorma, for which he received a standing ovation from the audience of 2,000 people.
In the semi-final on June 14, 2007, Potts performed main verses of Con te partir? (Time to Say Goodbye). He progressed to the final after receiving the highest public vote in that show. He performed a full-length Nessun dorma for his finale on June 17, 2007 as well as an encore after he won the competition. Potts defeated co-favourite with the bookmakers, Connie Talbot and received the highest public vote out of two million votes cast to win Britain's Got Talent, winning the chance to perform at Royal Variety Performance in front of Her Majesty The Queen
In December 2007, along with Simon Cowell in his Rolls-Royce Phantom he was driven to Number 10 Downing Street to be greeted by the Prime Minister, The Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown MP who presented Paul with a discography plaque for the achievement of selling 2,000,000 copies of his single and for showing that ... Britain really does have huge amounts of talent. - Gordon Brown, December 2007.
In the United States, he was profiled on a National Public Radio programme called Day to Day on June 15, 2007. On June 18, 2007, a commercial US Television network, NBC, highlighted Potts' victory on its broadcast network's NBC Nightly News and on its Cable news outlet MSNBC. Then on June 21, 2007 he appeared live on NBC's programme Today.
During the programme there was some controversy as to the undiscovered nature of Potts' talent. He 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, that he had never performed any concert for pay and was therefore amateur and that the lessons he had received in Italy had been paid for from his own savings.
On July 8, 2007, Potts performed at a Katherine Jenkins' concert at Margam Park, Katherine In The Park. Jenkins extended an invitation for him to sing his rendition of Nessun Dorma at the concert. On July 16, 2007, his debut album One Chance was released in UK, and on July 22, 2007, the album claimed the number one spot in the UK Album Chart. On November 6, 2007, Potts appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show to perform on a show whose topic was Youtube.
On December 13, 2007, he performed in Leipzig in the live television broadcast of the 13th annual Jos? Carreras Gala, accompanied by the Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg under the direction of Scott Lawton.
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