The contestants on Britain’s Got Talent are on fire this year. First we had Susan Boyle, whose rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” became the most viewed clip on the Internet of all time. Then there was 12-year-old singer Shaheen Jafargholi, (link leads to video) whose excellent rendition of “Who’s Loving You” by Michael Jackson was somewhat controversial as it followed a failed start of “Valerie,” which some people speculated was set up by producers to create drama. Little 10 year-old Hollie Steel stole our hearts with her professional quality song and dance and now another wild card with talent has been thrown into the mix.
Emo-looking waiter Greg Pritchard initially draws comparisons to American Idol’s Adam Lambert, but once he sings all comparisons end. The guy has a soprano voice that can rival a female opera singer. Judges looked impressed but a little confused, and although Pritchard can sing the disconnect between his appearance and the way he sings may be too much for the voting public. Pritchard sang “Nessun Dorma,” the song from the opera Turandot that first season winner Paul Potts famously used for his audition. Only Potts did it tenor style:
When I first laid eyes on the latest buzzy Britain’s Got Talent sensation, 24-year-old Welsh waiter Greg Pritchard, I sort of assumed he was the across-the-pond equivalent of Adam Lambert.
Greg definitely had the Lambert Look I wanted to know better: copiously product-placed hairdo, expertly applied guyliner, H&M black pleather, ambiguously androgynous rocker-boy image, and obvious natural charisma. I only hoped that he’d also have Adam’s incredible vocal range.
Well, the bloke had range, all right.
Blimey. This “male soprano” was a whole lot prettier than Susan Boyle (no “makeover” necessary here)…AND his voice was about, um, 18 octaves shriller! He in fact possessed a higher-pitched tone than even Britain’s Got Talent’s pre-pubescent singing ballerina, Hollie Steel.
While the Britain’s Got Talent TV drama has always been completely and rather formulaically based on fakeouts (i.e., the judges and audience assuming a contestant won’t be able to sing a note, then being proven very, very wrong), this latest BGT stunner may have been the most surprising yet. Greg’s performance was definitely disconcerting at first, hearing such a glass-shattering falsetto emanating from a ruggedly soul-patch-accented male mouth. Certainly the shocked silence in the Britain’s Got Talent auditorium was indication of this gender-bending, mind-bending confusion, as was the temporarily speechlessness of the normally loquacious Simon Cowell.
And when Simon eventually said, “That shouldn’t have just happened,” it was unclear whether or not he was actually impressed.
But yes, it did happen…and yes, it should have happened. Greg’s vocals (like “a dog meowing,” according to what Simon intended as a bizarre, almost Paula Abdul-like compliment) may have been an acquired taste upon first listen, but his “Nessun Dorma” performance was still bloody gob-smacking, as the Brits might say.
[From Music.Yahoo.com thanks to my husband for the tip]
It’s hard to tell how far Pritchard will go. He has a great personality and his voice is superb. He hit every note. It’s just hard to reconcile his appearance with the way he sings. Simon said “it’s like a dog meowing. It just shouldn’t do that.” He reluctantly agreed though in the end when the other two judges voted Pritchard in, and said “I haven’t got a bloody clue, but you’re through.” I’m definitely a fan of this show and their very talented, quirky contestants.