Neal Boyd's first performance and the Paul Potts comparison

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I'd never heard of Paul Potts until the day after Neal Boyd made his debut appearance on the first episode of season three of "America's Got Talent."

The next day, I went to work, and my boss said, "So have you seen this Paul Potts guy?"

My answer was no. But I watched a video, and sure enough, there was a salesman singing opera. And he was good.

If you've never heard of Paul Potts, that's not really surprising. Potts was the winner of last year's "Britain's Got Talent" competition (think "America's Got Talent" with Simon Cowell as a judge).

Like Boyd, Potts is a tenor, and a good one. Like Boyd, Potts wowed everyone with his mastery of Puccini's "Nessun Dorma" in the first episode.

And unfortunately for Neal Boyd, the two are very similar, and for some, Potts run on "Britain's Got Talent" has already spoiled what Boyd has done and may yet do.

Just get on the Internet (you're already there) and you can find the discussion everywhere.

That's too bad.

Sure, the producers of the show might have seen Neal try out and thought, "Man, this guy is the next Paul Potts." They may have put him in a position to sort of recreate Potts' run. Or maybe Boyd was inspired by seeing Potts.

But this is show business, and from everything I've heard, Potts story and skill was quite dramatic.

So is Boyd's.

Boyd came from humble beginnings here in Southeast Missouri -- a place that, as one of the tenor's former teachers said, isn't the richest place in the world either culturally or financially.

And let's face it, Boyd has a real talent. I've talked to many people who know what good tenors sound like, and they say this guy is a good tenor. Sounds pretty good to me.

"America's Got Talent" is TV, not real life. Because of that, it adds a certain amount of drama, and a person like Boyd has a great back story that plays well on TV.

But his back story doesn't take away from the fact that Boyd is a bona fide talent.

I bet Paul Potts would say the same.

What do you think?

By the way, Potts and Boyd weren't the only two similarities between the shows across the pond. Both also featured a very young girl who sang very well for her age. Welcome to TV.

Paul Potts singing "Nessun Dorma" on the first episode of "Britain's Got Talent"

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