May 20 2011 by Stuart Wilson, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
HE’S the Tarbolton star tipped to win Britain’s Got Talent.
Now Jai McDowall is gearing up to wow the Queen.
The singer shot to fame on Saturday night’s ITV show with a rousing rendition of Anthem, from the musical Chess.
And the man in demand admits he’s now one of the most recognised faces in the country.
Jai told the Post: “The reaction since Saturday has been amazing. I wasn’t expecting it at all.
“Up until Friday I was just Joe Bloggs and nobody had a clue who I was.
“Now I’m being stopped everywhere I go. It’s very strange because I’m certainly not used to this kind of attention.
“But people are being really nice with their comments, so it’s all good.”
Jai, who strolled through to the competition’s semi finals, is not new to the world of singing.
The popular support worker is a keen member of Ayr Amateur Opera Company and Loudoun Music Society.
And he’s thanked dad, Jim, for giving him the voice to shine on stage.
Jai, 24, revealed: “My dad is a great singer and I think I get it from him.
“I know it sounds corny, but this really is my dream come true.
“I’ve tried sending off demo CDs and hoped something would happen for me, but it never worked out.
“So I decided to enter the X Factor last year and made it to the bootcamp stage.
“I’m a great believer in not giving up and my mum and dad have always been supportive of me.”
The former Tarbolton Primary and Mainholm Academy pupil wowed all three judges during his BGT audition.
But viewers saw him overcoming huge nerves just to walk out on stage.
Jai confessed: “People have been asking me why I was so nervous when I’m used to performing in front of 500 people with Ayr Amateur Opera.
“But I can rehearse for that as part of a group. This was on my own in front of three people I had to really impress.
“Just standing feet away from David Hasselhoff was amazing enough – he’s a huge star around the world and there he was saying nice things about me.
“Then I was sitting on a sofa with Lorraine Kelly on Monday. She wouldn’t stop hugging me, it was surreal.
“I’ve only been back to Tarbolton for half an hour since the show aired and my neighbour was hanging out of her window to yell how proud of me she was.
“It’s all so much to take in at the moment, but I’m really enjoying it.”