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Video: ‘Talent’ champ sings on TODAY

By Senior producer
updated 7/5/2007 10:26:00 PM ET 2007-07-06T02:26:00

“But my secret is hidden within me, my name no one shall know.”

Those are the words, roughly translated, from the famous Puccini aria “Nessun Dorma.”

You’ve probably heard Lucianno Pavorotti sing it once or twice, and the song has made its way into many films, including Barbra Streisand’s “The Mirror Has Two Faces.”

But it has never had so much meaning as it did on a stage in Great Britain, being sung by a mobile phone salesman named Paul Potts.

Potts is an average-looking bloke whose teeth aren’t straight, and he admits to having battled self-confidence issues his whole life.  Still, he decided to audition for a television show called “Britain’s Got Talent.”

You’ve seen the American version, I’m sure.  Beat box artists, break dancers and jugglers combined with a few people trying to be pop stars.

On his first night, Potts took to the stage and sang that famous aria from “Turnadot,” after telling judge Simon Cowell that he felt he needed to pursue his first love, opera.

You could hear the snickers from the crowd, see Simon’s telltale eye roll, and practically feel the flop sweat rolling down Potts’ brow.

But then he sang.

From the first note floating from his snaggle-toothed beak, it was clear there was no competition for him in that room.  

The crowd gave him a standing ovation in what is now one of the Internet’s most popular viral videos.  It has been viewed on YouTube alone more than 2.4 million times.

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What’s the reason for this Pottsmania?

It’s something my high school English teacher called “the triumph of the human spirit.”

Watch the video, seriously.

It makes you want to stub out your cigarette and declare yourself all done with that. It’ll make you pull that dusty guitar out of the closet and fiddle around for a couple hours on that song you were working on 15 years ago. And it will make you question the most fundamental thing about our day-to-day lives-the big “why am I here” conundrum.

My grandmother didn’t graduate from high school and worked for nearly 30 years at a K-Mart.  She makes the world’s greatest stuffed grape leaves, to the point that New York City snob friends have remarked that they were “divine.”  The woman knows how to cook.

One of my closest friends, Lee, is about the best listener I have ever met.  She can talk you through any dilemma you may be facing, big or small, and you will end the evening laughing.

And Paul Potts can sing opera.  He can really sing opera.

He ended up winning that competition Sunday night, along with a chance to perform his song for the Queen of England.

We all have a passion, a secret buried within us.  And yes, for the most part, the world will never know our names.  But that doesn’t mean we haven’t made an impact, changed lives for the better, or had a purpose on this planet.

Find your inner Paul Potts.  Everyone has one.

© 2013 msnbc.com Reprints


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