Update: The singing sensation, who seems to have undergone a minor makeover, appeared on CBS’s Early Show this morning via a link from her home in Blackburn, Scotland. Watch it here.
In a Cinderella story destined to warm the most cynical heart, Susan Boyle has emerged Britain’s newest—and most unlikely—singing sensation. The 47-year old resident of the village of Blackburn stunned judges, among them hard-assed Simon Cowell, last Saturday night during auditions of Britain’s Got Talent. In her backstage interview, the sweet-natured, homely woman seemed destined to be set up for the sort of humiliation reality shows excel in. She spoke of living with her cat, Pebbles, and admitted she’d never been kissed. She also told the hosts her late mother, who had lived with her until her death two years ago, encouraged her to compete on the program. When she walked onto the stage, the audience snickered and the three judges looked incredulous. Yet she quickly proved herself an able sparring partner to Cowell’s caustic questioning, announcing she’d like to be as famous as English singer Elaine Paige. When he asked her age, she responded cheekily: “Forty-seven, and that’s just one side of me!”
The minute Boyle began singing I Dreamed a Dream from the musical Les Miserables, however, the audience and judges were awestruck. “Without a doubt, that is the biggest surprise I’ve had in three years of the show,” judge Piers Morgan told her. Cowell too was uncharacteristically bowled over.
With three perfect scores, Boyle’s the early favorite to win the hit reality TV series. Whether she does or not, is moot. Cowell has already offered her a record deal, according to the Sun newspaper. “I’ve always wanted to play before a large audience,” Boyle said before hitting the stage. “I’m going to make that audience rock.” That she did. Already her appearance has received more than 12 million hits on YouTube (watch it here). Yet as touching as her triumph is, it still leaves a nasty residue as a reminder of how quickly and meanly people who don’t conform to plastic ideals are dismissed. And don’t we all know a Susan Boyle “makeover” show is surely in the works.