HUNCOAT singing starlet Hollie Steel’s chances of winning Britain’s Got Talent could be jeopardised by Susan Boyle "hype", her mother fears.
Nina Steel says her daughter’s confidence has been knocked by the strength of her rivals in the singing category and revealed she has now banned her from watching the show.
Saturday’s episode saw soprano waiter Greg Pritchard stun the audience with an extraordinary rendition of Nessun Dorma to crank up the heat after the performances of Welshman Jamie Pugh and 12-year-old Shaheen Jafargholi.
But Scottish singer Boyle, 48, remains the red hot favourite and has been attracting unprecedented levels of interest — even being interviewed on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Nina said: "It’s a shame how much hype Susan has had. She is lovely and a really good singer, but they all are. I think the public genuinely do love Susan because she’s so ordinary – but I think the rest of the contestants are really good too.
"I especially think Shaheen is really good. He is exceptional with the Michael Jackson voice and when Hollie saw him she gave a bit of a gulp and said: ‘I’m never going to win now’."
She added: "I’ve decided not to let Hollie watch it because the rest of the competition is so good. She is not a confident person. When she gets on the stage she’s got confidence but in herself she doesn’t think she’s that good. I’m trying to keep her confidence up."
Hollie, who is in the middle of her SATs exams, has been avidly practising two songs she hopes she will get to perform in the contest’s semi-finals and final, should she progress further after her dazzling audition screened three weeks ago.
Although the song choices are top secret, Nina says the 10-year-old is aiming to melt the nation’s hearts with a "beautiful, classic song" in the semis, and a "big, gobsmacking" song if she goes all the way to the final.
Hollie, who can count Hollywood star Demi Moore among her legion of fans and was backed by X Factor finalist Diana Vickers in last week’s Observer, has become an overnight star on the web.
Nina added: "In that first week when it went so mad we got so engrossed in it that Hollie didn’t sing but, at the end of the day, this is a singing competition. It’s very distracting and my husband and I both work so what we have tried to do is just go on the Internet in the morning for five minutes. We are trying to make sure Hollie has fun and doesn’t get tired because if she gets tired she can get ill."