Paul Potts: 'Oprah's just invited me back on - I'm one of her favourites'

Since winning <I>Britain's Got Talent </I>last year,<I> </I>Paul Potts has toured the world's chat shows

By Ian Burrell
Tuesday 18 February 2014 02:16

"She'll have a couple of years selling albums and doing TV shows and then she'll be forgotten," comments Vicki Peerless, a sales manager from Tunbridge Wells queuing for tickets for Saturday's grand final of Britain's Got Talent.

Her assessment of the marketability of Susan Boyle, and other stars of the ITV show, seems unduly cynical. After all, Gareth Gates, runner-up in ITV's Pop Idol seven years ago, has just completed a West End run in the starring role of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Will Young, who vanquished Gates in 2002, is still sufficiently vital to have merited a documentary on The South Bank Show in March, his fourth album reached No 2 in October and he remains famous enough to irk Chris Moyles.

And what of Paul Potts, winner of Britain's Got Talent in 2007? The rotund tenor has already enjoyed far more than his 15 minutes of fame. Having guested on many of the most famous television shows in America, and had a taste of presenting in Australia, he is unlikely to have to return to his former role of managing a branch of a Carphone Warehouse. He begins a North American tour next month, promoting his second album, which is released in the UK today.

With the tour will come more appearances on US network television. This is what Boyle – already interviewed via satellite for some of the top American shows, following the YouTube response to her rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" – can now expect.

"It was a great experience to meet Oprah [Winfrey] – [her show is] one of the most important shows in the world," says Potts, 38, in his Bristol burr. "She's got her own studios and the people are incredibly friendly. It's in a great city, too, Chicago. It's clean, cosmopolitan and one of my favourite cities in the States. I'm going to perform in a concert there in July."

He has become quite the Alan Whicker. Within days of winning Britain's Got Talent, he was flying to New York to perform in the Rockefeller Plaza at the foot of the NBC building for the network's Today show, an American institution. Potts had to do his rehearsal at 5.30am.

"I had only had about two hours' sleep the night before and had forgotten to set my alarm. Luckily, I got up when I needed to. When you are performing at the bottom of the Rock, there are a lot of people there. It creates its own challenges but it was a great show to do," he says. Potts has been invited back on to the show twice since, most recently last month. Networking in a way that Simon Cowell would admire, Potts made himself known to the show's presenter Meredith Vieira. "I made a point of speaking to all three of the main hosts and the newsreader – it's always good to keep in touch with people who help introduce you."

In April, he got to be a presenter himself, co-hosting The Morning Show on Australia's Seven Network. His second album has reached No 6 in Australia and No 1 in New Zealand. He was not entirely successful in his interaction with co-host Kylie Gillies, he admits.

"I had my first experience of dealing with an autocue and trying not to read my co-host's lines for her, which I managed to do several times." Another Potts favourite was The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Ellen, he says, was fine company. "She's very funny, being a comedienne, but very down-to-earth and incredibly friendly."

He has done other networks, too, such as National Public Radio and Fox television's breakfast show, Fox & Friends ("I've done a couple of performances for them").

In Britain, he has appeared several times on ITV1's This Morning and has performed "Nessun Dorma" and "O Holy Night" on GMTV. He has so far been snubbed by Jonathan Ross. "That would be interesting, because it's a banter-based show; I think I'd be a little bit nervous but it's one I wouldn't mind doing."

No matter, Oprah loves him. His version of "Nessun Dorma" was one of the chat show queen's most cherished television moments. "Oprah has recorded a special show for what was described as her favourite performances, and I was asked to go back and perform again," says Potts, who flew back out to Chicago to sing "Memory" for a programme that will be broadcast in September. "It was a great honour for her to think that my performance was one of her favourites."

Who knows, Ms Peerless may be right and this time next year Potts could be little more than a memory himself. Somehow I doubt that.

Paul Potts' new album, 'Passione', is out today. www.paulpottsoff

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