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One Chance

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Album Review

In 1990, the joint efforts of the World Cup and the Three Tenors provided opera singing with its biggest ever foray into the pop charts. Unassuming tenor Paul Potts, originally from Bristol, took opera back to the very top of the charts with the album One Chance 17 years later, and he too had a helping hand from the enormously popular television talent show Britain's Got Talent. There is no denying that Paul Potts has indeed got talent, but is he a better singer than any of the Three Tenors? Certainly not. Still, a TV talent show captures the public almost as much as the World Cup, and Potts rides this wave extremely well. He began his trip into TV stardom singing that staple of operatic performance Nessun Dorma, and this aria opens the album too. The problem is that by 2007 the song was so famous that Potts openly invites comparisons with a multitude of operatic tenors who have sung it before. Not that this is any bad thing; it's a difficult song to sing well and Potts does sing nicely in tune, every note well rehearsed, but there is a lack of real feeling and emotion that betrays his rapid rise. In fact, One Chance is not really an opera album at all, and the millions of people who bought it thinking they were buying into a slice of high culture got an album filled with tracks like "Time to Say Goodbye" (Con Te Partirò), a hit single from Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli; "Everybody Hurts" (Ognuno Soffre), originally by R.E.M.; and versions of "My Way," "Cavatina" (the theme from The Deer Hunter), and Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Music of the Night" from Phantom of the Opera. The track "Caruso" had been recorded by almost everyone in this genre from Russell Watson to Il Divo, and in a similar way that Vittorio Grigolo took a modern pop song, Keane's "Bedshaped," and made it sound like an operatic aria, so Potts translates Westlife's "You Raise Me Up" into Italian and produces a sound far removed from the Westlife hit. One Chance was the sort of album that had the stamp of Simon Cowell all over it, very similar to his Il Divo projects. Cowell had an ear for a good tune, and knew what would sell and how to package the moment to maximum effect. This is the type of album that comes along every so often and persuades people that they like opera, when previously they might have thought they did not. If it went on to introduce anybody to other singers in the genre aside from Paul Potts, no doubt he would be one of the first to cheer, but unfortunately, as with the Three Tenors, once out of the spotlight, so was the music. [This edition of One Chance includes the bonus tracks "O Holy Night" and "Silent Night."]

Customer Reviews

Never judge a book by its cover...

The first time I heard this man sing, I was under his spell. His voice is entrancing. Paul Pott's voice is so clear, you can tell they didn't mess with perfection in the studio. Each song holds my attention. Most songs are in Italian. However, the last 3 songs are in English and Paul works his magic on you in that language as well. His rendition of the Italian version of Everybody Hurts- R.E.M. (Ognuno Soffre), shows that he can take a top 40 hit and let his velvet voice make it sound like it has been a staple in the Opera world. My first introduction to Paul was via a daytime talkshow. I wasn't paying attention to the show until Paul's 5 minute talk and then his performance. A cellphone salesman who impressed the UK nation in winning on the singing reality show. To look at him you wouldn't think he has such a voice, he is such a regular person. I knew from the start I wanted to buy his album. Nowadays its rare to want to purchase a whole album, but I did and I am not sorry. An extraordinary man with a singing talent that cannot be ignored. He has overcome such bad luck to come into overwhelming success. It just goes to show; you can never judge a book by its cover. Thank you Paul Potts for opening my eyes up to the Opera world.

Un diamant

"A lump of coal that is going to turn into a diamond". C'est la phrase utilisée par un des juges de "Britains Got Talent" après la première audition de M. Paul Potts à cette émission. Quelle voix! À écouter les yeux fermés avec un chandail...à cause des frissons! Heureuse vie et merci M. Potts.

what an inspiration!!! Beautiful gift of voice!

Fantastic! Bravo... I do not know or understand opera...BUT I know this man has the gift of voice!!! Watch his audition on Britians got Talent!!!! Wonderful.


Born: October 13, 1970 in Bristol, England

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Paul Potts was exactly what the producers of 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...
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One Chance, Paul Potts
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