By LARA GOULD
Star Quality: Jonathan Antoine and schoolfriend Charlotte Jaconelli impress the BGT judges but there are fears over Jonathan's state of mind after he suffered a nervous breakdown
It was almost a case of deja vu. An overweight, badly dressed contestant lumbers awkwardly on to the Britain’s Got Talent stage, prompting the judges to roll their eyes at the inevitable car-crash of a performance to follow . . . only to be wowed by the powerful, pitch-perfect voice of the unlikely star.
But although producers might hope Jonathan Antoine becomes a global phenomenon in the mould of Susan Boyle, the painfully shy teenager was keen to distance himself from any such comparisons.
‘What I don’t want is to be roped into a category with other people,’ he told The Mail on Sunday, before his performance aired on the first show of the new series last night. But he added: ‘I wasn’t too worried about appearing on Britain’s Got Talent, because I wanted to show people the singing.
Low confidence: Charlotte calms her friend's nerves before his audition. He has been bullied at school about his weight
'If anything I was hoping that because I don’t look like a typical person who’d be in the limelight, it would help. I’d like to show that a person is more than a body.’
It is a message the 17-year-old A-level student from Ilford, Essex, is keen to spread, as just three months before his audition, he suffered a nervous breakdown triggered by bullying over his weight.
He said: ‘Back in October I had a nervous breakdown. At that point I left the school I was at; me and school just don’t get on.’
Hitting all the right notes: Jonathan and Charlotte sing during the latest London auditions for BGT, safely making it through to the next round of the talent show
The revelation could raise questions about the ITV series, which has previously drawn criticism for failing to look after vulnerable acts, such as Ms Boyle who was admitted to the Priory clinic after suffering a breakdown when she came second in the series final three years ago.
But for the moment, Jonathan says: ‘Britain’s Got Talent has been a fun experience to do and it’s been nice to be around all these people.
‘But I’ve also been seeing a psychiatrist and so I’m just on a really good road to somewhere. Britain’s Got Talent have been very helpful.’
Show sources said Jonathan passed all medical and psychological tests before appearing. While on the programme, Jonathan spoke of his difficulties with bullies, saying: ‘I’ve always had problems with my size ever since I can remember.
Praise: Jonathan and Charlotte receive a standing ovation from the audience and judges after a stunning performance of Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli¿s hit The Prayer
'When I was in primary school, I had the mick taken out of me and it kind of damaged my confidence quite a bit and when people would say something to me it would take a little piece out of me.’
But his confidence would surely have been boosted by the standing ovation he won for his show-stopping performance of Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli’s hit The Prayer with schoolfriend Charlotte Jaconelli.
Jonathan is keen to avoid any comparisons to Susan Boyle, left in one of her first auditions when she took the world by storm and right, wearing a black frock after she became famous