Pint-Size Singer Challenges Susan Boyle

Shaheen Jafargholi, 12, challenges Susan Boyle's hold on "Britain's Got Talent."

April 20, 2009, 11:08 AM

April 20, 2009 — -- Could Susan Boyle's stint in the sun be over?

Though Boyle, the unemployed, never-been-kissed charity worker from Scotland who stunned the world with her angelic singing voice on "Britain's Got Talent," has gained international recognition, an underdog has emerged to challenge her hold on the reality competition's crown.

On Saturday's "Britain's Got Talent," 12-year-old Shaheen Jafargholi wowed the judges and crowd when he ripped into Michael Jackson's "Who's Loving You." He also won praise from Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher via Twitter.

And host Simon Cowell affirmed the contest is still wide open, despite Boyle's massive popularity.

"There are some acts that you haven't seen yet. It's not quite the one-horse race you are going to think this is," he said on Saturday's show.

Jafargholi is the first contender to pose a real threat to Boyle, whose performance of "I Dreamed a Dream" from "Les Misérables" drew 66 million hits online. In the days since Boyle appeared on the reality competition, she's been interviewed by media outlets all over the United States and the United Kingdom, she was invited to be on Oprah Winfrey's show and she was spoofed by Jay Leno.

While it's understandable why school-age Jafargholi was unknown before his "Britain's Got Talent" performance, it's somewhat harder to believe the 47-year-old Boyle managed to stay such a well-kept secret.

In 1999, she recorded a cover of Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me a River" for a charity fundraiser. Only 1,000 copies of the CD were made at the time, but following her explosion in popularity, her version of the song is now all over the Internet.

Boyle's sudden fame may have pushed her to the brink of overexposure, but that's not stopping the music industry from attempting to capitalize on her. Her idol, singer Elaine Paige, has reportedly said she'd like to sing a duet with Boyle.

Beating Susan Boyle Still a Tall Order

Even if Cowell doesn't sign Boyle to his record label, it's likely she'll still be able to put out an album.

"I've been for a meeting with Sony BMG, but I can't say much about it," she said last week. "It's early days."

Jafargholi understands that beating the tremendously popular small-town singer is a tall order, but unlike Boyle, he's no stranger to the spotlight. He was picked to play a young Michael Jackson in a pop-concert-style show based on the songs of the King of Pop and the Jackson Five.

"If I get lucky, I get lucky, if I don't ... I don't," Jafargholi told Britain's Wales Online following his performance. "I would love to be a big recording artist, and I'd love people to know who I am."

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events