Susan Boyle’s Got Talent
From absolute obscurity across the Pond to an overnight worldwide singing sensation with over 20 million hits on YouTube…
Just like millions of other people, we are enchanted by Susan Boyle, the frumpy, 47-year-old Scottish church worker who wowed the judges on Britain’s Got Talent. She walked onstage, looking dumpy in a beige dress and black stockings, with frizzy hair and bushy brows. And the audience laughed and rolled their eyes when she said, in her thick North-of-the-Border accent, that she wanted to be a professional singer.
The judges on the show, which include the ever-snarky Simon Cowell, former newspaper editor Piers Morgan and model Amanda Holden, seemed equally dismissive of the unemployed church worker who says she is unmarried and has never been kissed. But when she began to sing “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables, the audience began to cheer.
She was amazing and inspiring. Piers first looked surprised and then delighted. Amanda jumped to her feet, applauding, beginning to tear up, and even Simon, yes, even Simon, smiled. She was that good, and she was touching as well. Her frumpiness faded as her voice soared. So far, the YouTube video of her performance has been viewed almost 25 million times, and the viewership is increasing by the mega-second.
Many commentators on celeb web sites, instead of dishing the latest on Lindsay, are talking about how moved they were by her unexpected performance and the beauty of her voice. The actress Demi Moore and her husband, Ashton Kutcher, have been twittering their praise. And Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg even had a tiff about Susan on The View. Joy thought she should have been made over before performing. Whoopi loved her just the way she was.
Susan told the London Daily Mail that it was the first time she had sung in public since the death of her mother Bridget, who was 91, in 2007. “I was left really upset,” she said. “Because of the bereavement, I had decided to give up singing. Up until then I was singing in the church choir and doing karaoke regularly, but I just didn’t feel up to it after that.”
She added: “Mum lived with me and she was my life–I cared for her. But she urged me to enter this show as she said I had a fantastic voice. So this year I thought I’d go for it–and I can’t believe what has happened.” She added: “I hope my mum and dad, Patrick, are looking down on me–they’ll be so proud.”
“When I heard about the auditions for Britain’s Got Talent, I decided to get back into singing and start enjoying life again. I wasn’t sure how my voice would sound after so long, but the reception I got from the audience and the judges was fantastic.”
Currently she lives alone with her cat, Pebbles. She knows her life will change after her remarkable performance. Simon Cowell is already arranging a recording contract for her.
But she is being as sensible as you could imagine she would be about how her life is going to change. “I’ll get used to the fame side of things with baby steps–one step at a time,” she said. “I am enjoying it very much just now. It’s very good. I’ll take the fame in my stride.”
Still, she admitted how overwhelming the experience has been. “I’m gobsmacked, absolutely gobsmacked,” she told CNN Friday morning about the increasing worldwide attention she has received. But she said, “I wouldn’t want to change myself too much, because that would make things a bit false. I want people to see the real me, the real person.”
She did tell other interviewers that she had a hard time growing up. “I was born with a [learning] disability and that made me a target for bullies. I was called names because of my fuzzy hair and because I had to struggle in class. But look at me now. I’ve got the last laugh.”
We think everyone is so knocked out about Susan Boyle because she proves that there is surprising talent in the most unexpected places. And that today it can be found. It will change the world for the person with the talent, certainly, but this time, it seems to be enriching us all as well. And how many times have we ever seen Simon gobsmacked?
Want to hear her sing another song? She made a recording back in 1999, “Cry Me A River” for a charity CD. Only 1,000 copies of the disc were ever produced, but you can listen to the track here.