Friday, June 29, 2007

Tommy, This One Is For You

I've thought about posting this video to my blog for some weeks, but the moment never seemed right.

In the unlikely event that you haven't already seen this, it is the first performance on Britain's Got Talent by Paul Potts. Paul is . . . was a cell phone salesman who went on the British version of American Idol.

The British program has been around longer than its US counter-
part and, in fact, spawned Idol and brought Simon Cowell to our shores.

I have probably watched this video twenty-five times. And--no matter how often I watch it--Paul's performance never fails to leave me tearful.

At first, I thought it was because Paul was a modern day Cinderella--the shy little nobody who reaches for the glass slipper, surprising everyone and upending their preconceived notions. But in the weeks since first seeing this video, I've come to believe that explanation is too facile.

Here you have an overweight man in a cheap, ill-fitting suit. He has terrible teeth, too-short hair and a tentative manner. Then he opens his mouth to sing, and you forget everything . . . everything except that glorious voice that was God's gift to him.

How did he find the confidence to try out for this show? How did he find the wellspring of hope that enabled him to stand on endless lines to audition, alongside younger, far more beautiful people?

Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.

Never, never, never give up.

Both those lines were spoken by Winston Churchill, and they embody what it means to keep on going--even when success is not assured and hope may not be justified.

This week, a writer I admire a great deal had a sudden attack of nerves. He commented that he'd lost his self confidence as a writer and was intimidated by the size of the task before him. I thought of this performance then.

Tommy, this one's for you--with love.

Oh, BTW, in case you're wondering, Paul did win the talent search. You can find both his semi-final performance and his winning performance here.


David Roth said...

Have you seen Connie's performance? She's the 6 year old who sang Over the Rainbow. It was inspiring.

Maya Reynolds said...

David: Yes, I saw Connie. What astounded me was that the child had perfect pitch. "Over The Rainbow" is a hard song to sing.

I was also impressed to see her applaud for Paul Potts' win. She displayed an aplomb that many adults would do well to emulate.