Sep 18 2009 by Robin Turner, Western Mail
SOPRANO Katherine Jenkins looks set for her big break in the US, thanks to a television Christmas special.
The Neath star is to sing a duet with tenor Andrea Bocelli in his festive show on the PBS network.
The show, which will also feature Mary J Blige, Natalie Cole and The Muppets, looks set to bring the 29-year-old to a big American audience, with PBS boasting 65 million viewers.
Although Jenkins has insisted she does not want to move from the UK, it will certainly boost sales of her new album, Believe, the first she has recorded in the US.
The Welsh diva had a huge ovation from the 5,000-strong crowd at Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre this week where the Christmas show was recorded in front of a live audience.
Bocelli picked Jenkins to sing the ballad I Believe after being impressed with her when they duetted during the 2007 Strictly Come Dancing final.
The singer, due to arrive back in Britain at Heathrow Airport today in time for her appearance on Strictly Come Dancing tomorrow night, was clearly thrilled by her quick visit to Hollywood.
She enthused on her website yesterday: “I’m here on a whistle stop tour – I arrived on Sunday and I go home on Thursday.
“I’m here to perform a TV concert with David Foster and Andrea Bocelli for a PBS Christmas special.
“It’s being filmed at the Kodak theatre… where the Oscars are held! You should see the set, it’s incredible! There are Christmas trees and fake snow, it looks like a magical Christmas in Hollywood!”
She added: “As soon as I get back to the UK I have to prepare for my performance on Strictly Come Dancing this Saturday!
“I’m a massive fan of the show and had so much fun performing on it with Andrea Bocelli in 2007, so I’m really pleased to be involved again.
“I’ll be singing ‘I Believe’ from my new album, but instead of singing it as a duet with Andrea (as I do on the album), I’ll be singing it solo. I can’t wait to see all the dancers in their fabulous outfits!”
Celebrity-watchers believe the Christmas special could well be Katherine’s big break in the US.
Beverley Watts, editor of the online version of Celebrity magazine Now, said: “She has a new management team who are said to be very keen for her to cross the Atlantic.
“Katherine has told us she has no intention of moving to the US on a permanent basis but she’ll need to spend a decent amount of time there to make it work.
“And Bocelli is, of course, massive in America and with the right choice of music, Katherine could now crack it in the US and of course she’s a stunning girl.”
And Elaine Penn, deputy showbiz editor of TV Quick magazine, added: “Katherine Jenkins is already a huge name in the UK, due to her enormous talent. And to be asked to record a duet in the States with Andrea Bocelli is high praise indeed as he’s an international star, recognised the world over and huge in the US.
“Appearing alongside him on PBS could be just the exposure Katherine needs to make it there – after all, the station is said to be America’s ‘most trusted national institution’.”
Producer David Foster is now steering Jenkins’ US career. He said: “Katherine’s voice is right up there with the best. On the Christmas TV special with Andrea she both looked and sounded beautiful.”
Although the star has signalled her intention to break into the American market, moving permanently to the States is something she has said she is keen to avoid.
In a recent interview with Now magazine, she asserted: “I have no intention of moving to America.
“I have a house in London and all my family in Wales. I love it in the US but I am definitely not going to move there.”
The album will be released on October 27, 2009.