The winner of the 2011 fifth series of Britain's Got Talent, Scottish classical pop singer Jai McDowall ended the show's run of victorious dance acts, but struggled to achieve anywhere near the same success as his homeland's most famous talent show contestant, Susan Boyle. Born in Tarbolton, Ayrshire in 1986, McDowall grew up on country music and, inspired by his father (who regularly performed across the town's local club circuit), began singing in various karaoke contests. After studying music and audio technology at Ayr College for two years, he became a member of both the Ayr Amateur Opera Company and the Loudoun Musical Society, appearing in productions of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Fiddler on the Roof. While working as a support worker for young disabled people, he reached the boot-camp stages of 2010's The X Factor, but went much further a year later, when his audition piece of the Chess show tune "Anthem" impressed Britain's Got Talent judges Michael McIntyre, Amanda Holden, and David Hasselhoff enough to put him through to the live stages. After topping the semifinal vote with his performance of Evanescence's "Bring Me to Life," his rendition of Josh Groban's "To Where You Are" helped him to beat bookies' favorite Ronan Parke in the final with 29.1 percent, scooping up the £100,000 prize in the process. After playing several dates on the BGT tour, he signed to Syco and recorded his debut album, Believe, with Westlife producer Steve Mac. Featuring collaborations with Hayley Westenra ("The Prayer") and Scala & Kolacny Brothers ("With or Without You") alongside covers of Green Day's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," Elbow's "One Day Like This," and Nickelback's "How You Remind Me," it charted at a disappointing number 54, a week before he performed in front of Princess Anne at the 2011 Royal Variety Performance.
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