First steps on that yellow brick road

THE mother of Over the Rainbow hopeful Jenny Douglas says her daughter's talent was honed on the family's karaoke machine.

Mary Douglas, 45, of South Queensferry, is brimming with pride that Jenny, 18, was selected as one of the final ten contestants in the BBC talent show.

"But Jenny is so critical of herself – far too critical," she said. "She always thinks she could have done better. I say to her, 'You are as good as anybody' and I wish she could see what other people see. She is such a credit to me."

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Jenny was picked from thousands of singers and actresses as one of the final Dorothy hopefuls out to star in Andrew Lloyd Webber's forthcoming production of The Wizard of Oz

Her mum and dad, Andrew, knew their daughter had talent, as she loved singing on the karaoke machine. Ms Douglas said: "Her and her friend would sit for hours singing, everything from the Spice Girls to Connie Francis. I remember she was about six when I realised she had a strong voice.

"She was singing along to I Saw Mama Kissing Santa Claus and she sounded just like the original."

Jenny, who studies musical theatre at Motherwell College, may have inherited her talent from her taxi driver dad, who once sang on stage at the Playhouse with Stevie Wonder. Ms Douglas said: "It was in the middle of the show and Stevie Wonder announced he would like someone to join him on stage. Andrew jumped up and got up on the stage to sing My Cherie Amour with him. He was a good singer in his younger days, but Jenny steals the show now."

As a member of the Stenhouse Primary choir, Jenny performed at Edinburgh Castle for a visit by the then Russian Prime Minister, and thrived musically at Tynecastle High, while also singing at family weddings, in karaoke contests, charity events and, bravely, her uncle's funeral, with a rendition of the Dream Angus lullaby.

Jenny's focus has always been her family, as she supported the foster children who have been welcomed into her home over the last nine years – some of whom are hoping to travel to watch Jenny in the Saturday night competition.

Ms Douglas said: "We cared for one girl for many years who had Down's Syndrome. " Jenny always played with her – everything from singing the songs of Grease, to painting her nails. Her mum has been in touch this week – they're so proud of Jenny."