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Singing hopefuls ScotSoul hoping to fly the flag in Pitch Battle final

Scot Soul on stage with Chaka Khan (Tuesday's Child /BBC /Kieron McCarron)
Scot Soul on stage with Chaka Khan (Tuesday's Child /BBC /Kieron McCarron)

A SCOTS Freddie Mercury impersonator is hoping to have the nation singing his praises on Saturday.

James Smart, who works full-time as a tribute act for the late Queen star, is in the final of BBC1’s Pitch Battle.

And along with the four friends who make up ScotSoul, he’s flying the flag for the nation on the singing show, presented by Mel Giedroyc.

“I was told 15 years ago I was good at singing Queen and I should think about doing Freddie,” James, 44, told The Sunday Post.

“It went from singing one or two Queen songs to doing a full repertoire, putting on a false moustache and dressing up as him.

“I’m quite an introverted person so jumping about on stage is totally different from what I’m like the rest of the time. It’s like a bit of escapism.

“I do shows most weeks of the year all across the country. I’ve got the typical outfits, the white jeans, white vest and yellow jacket among several different ones.

“I don’t wear things like the leotard and I’ll generally get an audience member to come out with the Hoover for I Want To Break Free.”

Gareth Malone, Kelis and Mel Giedroyc (Tuesday’s Child / Cody Burridge)

Although James has made good money from his act, he’s hoping ScotSoul’s success could send his musical ambitions off in a whole new direction.

The group, featuring James, husband and wife Louise and Des McFarlane, Shirley McAlpine and Natalie James, who are all from the Balloch area, was only founded in February.

But they stormed through the opening episode of the talent show, which has Gareth Malone and Kelis as regular judges and has featured Chaka Khan as a guest judge, and into the final. In Saturday’s big live show, they’ll get a chance to take to the stage with the funk star once more.

“Chaka Khan is a legend,” says Louise, 41, who recently shed half her body weight thanks to a gastric band operation after reaching 23½ stone.

“She’s won 10 Grammies and getting to perform one of her songs with her again is amazing.

“We’ve been rehearsing the music and the choreography since 7am each day.

“It’s been hard fitting it in with work and family life but this is our big shot and we’ve got to give it all.”

Natalie’s 35 but all the others are in their 40s and say they’re being viewed as inspirational by their kids.

Pitch Battle, BBC1, Saturday

Gareth Malone’s hoping to score high with Pitch Battle