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CONNIE Talbot's life has changed beyond her dreams since her gap-toothed grin and amazing singing won the hearts of the nation on Britain's Got Talent.

At the age of seven, she's topped the charts in three countries with her version of Over The Rainbow and toured the world.

But the thing that's thrilled her most in the last 12 months is the growth of her two front TEETH.

Mum Sharon said: "We want to let her enjoy the adventure but we keep her feet on the ground. She is still our same, golden Connie - apart from her teeth!"

Connie was runner-up to opera singer Paul Potts in the first series of Britain's Got Talent. But her rise to stardom has been every bit as meteoric.

Her album has sold more than 250,000 copies worldwide since it was released at the end of last year.

She has knocked Madonna off the No 1 spot in the charts and outsold her idol Mariah Carey in Taiwan.

Telly bosses have flown her around the world for appearances. She has stayed in the presidential suites of top hotels - and had a 6ft 10ins bodyguard.

Seven international airlines use her voice to announce the carrier's name.

And then there's the staggering 42million hits on her YouTube website.

On July 16 she will be a special guest at a gala banquet for Nelson Mandela in London. Then she is flying to Germany to sing a duet with Whitney Houston on a TV fundraiser.

Yet despite it all she remains remarkably level-headed.

Rushing in from school in her green and white uniform, Connie spoke with excitement of her globetrotting adventures.

"My favourite place was Jamaica," she said, sitting on the swing in the back garden.

"I saw a huge peacock called George. When I called out his name he put his feathers up.

"I liked the children.

They had lovely names like Champagne," she said. "We played together.

The beach was like in the pictures."

In Korea she was taken to the top of one of the world's tallest buildings for a meal.

"I had sea slugs to eat...yuk," she laughs. "I wanted tomato ketchup but it hasn't been invented there.

"And I learned to count to ten in their language," she said, rattling off the numbers to prove her new knowledge.

In Hong Kong she watched with parents, Sharon, 38, and Gavin, 41, as the Olympic torch was carried past her hotel. She recently made a whistlestop visit to Poland to sing on a morning show.

Flown into the capital, Warsaw, she asked: "Is this the same as our Walsall?" - referring to the nearest town to her home in Streetly, West Mids, where she lives with sister Mollie, 13, and brother, Josh, 15.

In Taiwan - where her album has gone platinum - she took a break to go sightseeing and bought a pair of shoes which is now a tradition in each city she visits.

And in China she was given a Beijing Olympics doll - which she calls Freaky.

But despite the VIP treatment and mixing with stars, Connie has not changed. One of her favourite places is Wales were she visited a caravan site and loves to sing on the karaoke machine. Her bedroom is neat and tidy.

And after changing into pink jeans, floral top and sandals - ready for a sleepover at her friend Lilly's - she carried on her chat with The People.

Connie said: "Me and Lilly will stay up really late talking and drawing.

"We sleep in a tent in the bedroom.

Tomorrow we won't get up until one o'clock.

"We will play with Lilly's little sister, Georgie. We are teaching her to sing...she is really clever."

Connie's favourite meal is still mum's roast chicken lunch with stuffing.

She loves to draw and read, especially her favourite Horrid Henry, from the Francesca Simon books.

And she admits she couldn't wait for the latest ITV series of Britain's Got Talent - even voting for the eventual winner, breakdancer George Sampson, 14.

"I liked his dancing - he was good on the lamppost," she said.

Connie still dreams of being a singer full-time after melting the heart of show judge Simon Cowell.

As exclusively revealed in The People, a contract with Cowell's record company fell through when he said she was too young.

But her album is to be relaunched tomorrow due to the massive demand.

Mum Sharon said: "We haven't heard from Simon but there are no bad feelings.

When he said she was fantastic on the show there were tears in my eyes.

"We teach Connie the right values, like treating everyone with respect, whether they are famous or not. My husband Gav and I were brought up to respect others, especially our elders.

"We have instilled that in not just Connie but her brother and sister."

Connie, Mollie and Josh go to local schools where her celebrity status is hardly mentioned.

Indeed, the silky-voiced schoolgirl blushes when the subject of her showbusiness success crops up.

"She just wants school to be school," says Sharon.

"We tell her there are a lot of gifted children who can sing like her, just that she has been very lucky."

Dad Gavin, a self - employed property maintenance engineer, added: "It's been an amazing year.

"I never dreamed it would be such an adventure when we took her to her first audition in February 2007. We keep all her cuttings and posters and mementos in a carrier bag so she has them to look back on when she is older."

In her last school report both parents point proudly to the final comment:

"Connie is a delightful child who has been completely unspoilt by all her recent celebrity. She is a pleasure to teach."

In the music section the end of year review states: "She demonstrates a quite extraordinary talent in this area of the curriculum."

Simon Cowell - and 10million TV viewers - could not agree more.

And her fans will be delighted to learn that fame has not changed the nation's favourite schoolgirl.

'We tell her how lucky she is, and teach her the right values. She's still the same girl'

'She's knocked Madonna off No1 and even outsold her idol Mariah Carey '

'Simon hasn't been in touch since show, but there's no bad feelings '


GAPPY Angelic Connie wows millions on Britain's Got Talent; HAPPY She shows off her new teeth while on garden swing Picture: MARTIN SPAVEN
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Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Jun 15, 2008
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