Mobile phone salesman winning TV talent competition signs recording contract

A man winning the TV talent competition "Britain's Got Talent" brought his dream of becoming an opera star closer to reality by signing a one million pound (US$2 million, EUR1.5 million) recording contract.

Paul Potts, 36, who won over viewers by performing the aria "Nessun Dorma," has signed a record deal with Syco Music, run by Simon Cowell, one of the show's judges, The Sun and The Daily Mail newspapers reported.

Music company officials were not immediately available to confirm the reports. The TV show's production company referred all inquiries to a record label spokeswoman who was traveling with Potts on Wednesday to New York, where he is due to make promotional appearances.

"I'm an ordinary bloke who just loves singing," Potts said after winning on Sunday.

Potts said he planned to spend part of the television show's 100,000 pounds (US$200,000, EUR150,000) prize money on fixing his crooked teeth so he would be able to smile without feeling self conscious.

"It would be nice to be able to smile naturally. I feel very self conscious about it at the moment," he said. "But whatever I do I'm not going to change who I am."

He said once spent 4,000 pounds (US$8,000, EUR6,000) on a series of group classes with star tenor Luciano Pavarotti and opera experts.

"Pavarotti took me aside and asked me to sing again. There were 10 other people there and I was the only one he asked so I took that as a compliment," Potts said.

He spent a total of 12,000 pounds (US$24,000, EUR18,000), on singing lessons before deciding his dream wasn't meant to be.

Potts said he also planned to also use the prize money to pay off his 30,000 pounds- (US$60,000-, EUR44,700-) debt and to take his wife on a luxury vacation.

As part of his prize for winning the show, he also gets to perform for the queen at the Royal Variety Performance on Dec. 3.