Page last updated at 17:02 GMT, Monday, 20 April 2009 18:02 UK

School roots for singer Shaheen

Shaheen Jafargholi

Shaheen Jafargholi was back in school in Swansea after his weekend TV success.

A headmaster of a pupil who has become one of the favourites in TV's Britain's Got Talent has said "the whole school will be rooting for him".

Shaheen Jafargholi, 12, from Swansea, impressed judges and viewers with his performance in last Saturday's edition of the ITV1 talent series.

Shaheen is a year seven student at Dylan Thomas Community School.

Head teacher Robert Phillips described Shaheen as "very level-headed, mature, hardworking, sensible and sensitive".

Mr Phillips said: "He takes his focused approach to performing to life in general."

Shaheen was moved up a set in mathematics "because of his hard work and dedication" earlier this year.

In the school's Christmas production of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, he said Shaheen played a central role as a "rapping oompa loompa".

Mr Phillips recalled how Shaheen "helped instil confidence in other pupils" while rehearsing for the show.

He said: "He's a popular young man, generous with his talent."

Shaheen received a standing ovation at the pre-recorded auditions in Cardiff, televised on Saturday, after singing 'Who's Loving You' by Michael Jackson.

He had started with a rendition of Amy Winehouse's Valerie, but was stopped mid-song by judge Simon Cowell, who asked him to sing his second choice of song.

Shaheen has emerged as a rival to Scottish front-runner, Susan Boyle.

'Naturally gifted'

Ladbrokes spokesman Nick Weinberg, said: "We'd resigned ourselves to this year's series being a one-horse race.

"But Shaheen has changed all of that and punters can't get enough of him. He's been backed to the hilt, especially in Wales, and if it continues Susan's favouritism could come under threat."

Hollywood actress Demi Moore, who has already heaped praise on Boyle, said of Shaheen on Twitter: "Wow this kid is something else!"

Shaheen has previously appeared on TV dramas Casualty and Torchwood, and CBBC's Grandpa In My Pocket.

He has also toured with the musical Thriller, where he played a young Michael Jackson.

His drama teacher and agent, Mark Jermin, said Shaheen is "naturally gifted".

Mr Jermin has known Shaheen since he joined his stage school in Swansea at the age of six.

"His voice has developed over the years but straight away we noticed he had a special voice - a very natural sound and an amazing range," he said.

Mr Jermin said: "Performing and being on stage is where Shaheen belongs, and where he wants to be.

"We've got all our fingers and toes crossed."

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