**UPDATED** Reality show shocker: Susan Boyle’s got all kinds of talent

47-year-old is Britain’s latest singing—and YouTube—sensation


Reality show shocker: Susan Boyle's got all kinds of talentUpdate: 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.


**UPDATED** Reality show shocker: Susan Boyle’s got all kinds of talent

  1. streaming tears and blowing snot bubbles.

  2. Sometimes, ordinary people emerge and become extraordinary – a hidden talent; an ability to touch others; beauty in a different package. That’s what Susan Boyle displayed for the millions who will see her sing “I dreamed a Dream”.

  3. How wonderful–some section of society where ability can over-ride the artificial ideals of beauty and talent. AND people can revise and change their opinions about situations instantly when the talent comes through.
    I was gob-smacked by the voice–like many I was expecting the reincarnation of Mrs Miller.

    WOW!! I wish I was still living in England so I could vote for her!!


  4. A star is born (don’t you think.) With the mysterious bel canto of a Roy Orbison and the beautiful soul of a grown woman. What a reality check away from the numbing sameness we’re so used to seeing on Idol. I too am a singer, and at half her age I would not want to follow her onstage!

  5. beautiful woman, inside and out. Tremendous voice. God bless her…

  6. Someone mailed me this clip, it’s an amazing example of “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” we’e all so hung up on appearances.

  7. It’s shocking that we’re shocked. It’s only since the age of “music video” dawned that we’ve expected all our artists to also look stunning. And arguably, the “art” has suffered, as we’ve demanded the artists to be entertainers instead. There’s a reason that the axiom goes “the opera isn’t over ’till the fat lady sings.” The “fat lady” was on stage because she was born with gold in her throat. If she was good looking too, so much the better … but nobody expected it.

    Susan Boyle’s got a great natural instrument, moderately good vocal technique, and sold the song wonderfully. Delivered a first-rate amateur performance. But a first-rate amateur performance shouldn’t bring three “hardened” judges to their knees … that should be the standard for a nation-wide talent show.

    • You’re absolutely right. But I still cried while watching her.

    • Gee, Mr. Fetter:

      Why not dispense with your dismissive judgment of Ms. Boyle’s vocal qualities and simply acknowledge the fact that she dead knocked that song out the back wall of the theatre– and THAT’S what got everyone out of their seats to applaud her. I trust that long after your comments and mine are forgotten (which, let’s face it, is right about now), this woman’s voice will ring with the same effect on stages throughout the world.

    • > It’s only since the age of “music video” dawned that we’ve expected all our artists to also look stunning. And arguably, the “art” has suffered, as we’ve demanded the artists to be entertainers instead. But a first-rate amateur performance shouldn’t bring three “hardened” judges to their knees … that should be the standard for a nation-wide talent show.

      Well, and why not? he asked cynically. It worked for Paul Potts.
      Part of the problem is that these talent shows make a lot of ratings at the expense of the bad performers (see the Idle – sorry, Idol – shows and their episodes of the poor auditions) which means that when you put someone like Susan Boyle up against them, she sounds incredible.
      She’s good. She’s very good. She has, incidentally, had some training. But that level, right there, should be more or less the baseline on an amateur talent program – very good, with some training; that it’s not makes those rare occurrences where someone like Ms. Boyle comes along seem remarkable.

      To Lija:
      > Why not dispense with your dismissive judgment of Ms. Boyle’s vocal qualities and simply acknowledge the fact that she dead knocked that song out the back wall of the theatre– and THAT’S what got everyone out of their seats to applaud her.

      The problem is, I’ve heard much better singers. But then again, I hang around with professionals, people who’ve had training and really know what they’re doing.
      Ms. Boyle is good, don’t get me wrong, but she could be better. And everyone who steps on that stage should be approaching her level (most of the time, though…). With some training, she could be phenominal, and she could dispense with the vocal qualities that made Mr. Feller’s judgment seem dismissive – which, by the way, it wasn’t.
      What got people out of their seats was that she was really good – AND that she defied their expectations. 47-year-old housewife, not exactly good-looking, wanting to be a pop star? Trust me, if a 27-year-old starlet had come out and done that, it wouldn’t have got nearly the same reaction.
      I’m not saying she doesn’t deserve to be on the show; she is good. But she’s not a superstar, and never will be without some work on her technique. And it wouldn’t take all that much – some intensive training with a good teacher or two, and Ms. Boyle comes back remarkably better.

      • Wow…so analytical. So much detail. Just enjoy the moment!

    • I agree with Tom Fetter. I loved the performance, it brought tears to my eyes. It takes nothing away from Susan Boyle to say that she is a great amateur. She has a wonderful, youthful tone, excellent pitch, and she really projects. She’s very good through most of the song, but pushes her voice in places and falters on the lower notes. Her lower register needs work.

      Is it niggling to say that? No. I hope this person is able to develop and have a career other than as a musical novelty.

      I also disliked the tone of some of the comments after she sang. They seemed to be saying, in effect, “we shocked a toad like you can sing”. How very condescending.

  8. It was truly wonderful how great she sang and I think it is a good use of teaching us all the lesson that you can’t judge a book by its cover! freelanceallison.wordpress.com


  10. Absolutely fabulous! Have watched the video 5 times! I wish her all the best!

    • I agree with you all the way!

  11. A beautiful star was born. I have watched Susan on uYube about 5 or 6 times and every time tears just roll down my face.
    We are all too quick to judge, may this be a lesson to us all.

    God bless Susan, her career has just started!

  12. I watched the longer youtube video with shots of the audience and judges rolling their eyes and pulling faces while she was answering questions before she sang. There wasn’t one answer she gave that would have elicited those reactions had she been young and beautiful.

    Having said that, old cynic that I am, listening to her sing brought tears to my eyes, too. Every time.

  13. I watched and listened and cried….that without a doubt was one of the loveliest voices I have heard in a long time. But to hear the judges saying that before she sang , they were all laughing at her was so hurtful, I find it hard to believe people can be so mean and cynical. To see Susan Boyle’s face as she sang was to see true beauty. May she realize her dream.

    • True beauty indeed. And honesty. And goodness. So real in this artifical world. And her singing gave me tears and shivers.

  14. This should be a wake up call for all the plastic people we have living among us.Its really sad to think people will automaticlly think your a joke if your not a size 0 with DD boobs.

  15. Show the world that it is not the outside of a package that means everything it is what comes out of it .

  16. What an amazing talent! And what is this about a makeover? We hear her soul in her voice and it is astounding! No window-dressng required. Yeah, we could shape he eyebrows, apply a little eye-shadow, get her hair done……if SHE thinks we should: SHE’s the gifted one. We must do what she says. She’s already an icon for a new beauty.

  17. 1. I am from Québec, Canada tonight listening more or less to the news all of a sudden I heard this voice and it made me want to know more so I search Internet and got to this site. Susan has a marvelous voice. Like Tom Christopher said earlier: “ Sometimes, ordinary people emerge and become extraordinary” I think Susan is really extraordinary. Susan I wish you all the best…you are wonderful.

  18. Angels on earth? I believe it now. Stuff like this makes life a lot more real and dreams do come true.
    People and exposure will eventually change her.. but that’s ok! cause this moment will last forever for her and the world to remember.
    thank you Susan.

  19. I love this woman and this phenomenon. It is not a surprise that the concept of the show had her failing, but I am so thrilled that she is who she is and has succeeded. I hope very much that she does not undertake some grotesque makeover, because we as a culture need her to tell us how to get back to reality (and dream at the same time).

  20. The ugly duckling has been a swan all her life; you can see it in the way she walked on the stage, as well as when walked off the stage not waiting for the judge’s decision. What a woman, what a talent, she reminded of Judy Garland as a young child on stage. I was feeling very poorly yesterday and out of desperation I started my first blog on word press. After seeing her you tube, my faith in myself was renewed. And how God hands out gifts to such wonderful people.

    Micheale Thompson
    Cameo White Designs
    Struggling Artist
    Renewed in my faith to keep moving

  21. I watched her performance a couple of nights ago…. Incredible, the lady has pipes! I think its amazing that she broke down the barrier of looks by singing. Our culture holds to too many false ideals of beauty and its relationship to money. Way to go, Susan!!! I am glad you put Simon and the audience in their place and I hope this gives others that fade into the woodwork courage to emerge and show their stuff.

  22. I remember reading at one point that Jann Arden was told she would have had greater success in the States if she just lost weight… sad comment.

    But recently to see Adele play Saturday Night Live… and the example of Susan Boyle… maybe talent can trump for women for a change?

  23. she did a great job of blowing the audience away! :)

  24. It was by pure chance while listening on the CBC radio that the current singing phenomena named Susan was brought to my attention. Personally I have no interest in watching the various talent shows that are aired, but curiosity got the better of me. To the surprise of the audience and judges, was added my own. It’s a understatement to say I was very moved and as a middle aged man, my emotions caused me to shed a tear or two in response to her angelic voice. I’m unashamed in revealing my unabashed sentiments, but am ashamed in my initial judgment when Susan first walked on stage. How could I and others have known that this unassuming matronly woman held in her through the power of her voice that brought us to our knees in our hearts and minds.

    I can only wish the best for Susan and hope the fame that will lift her head in the clouds, will also keep her feet grounded.

  25. Just a little correction on this article. When Susan said “And that’s just one side of me.” She was speaking to the audience and in particular to someone who had just given her a loud wolf-whistle.

    I can’t count the number of times I’ve watched her performance! Go Susan, go. You are bringing joy to everyone who gets a chance to see and hear you.

  26. She’s a great singer, but standing ovations ten seconds in? How patronizing! Further thoughts on my blog.

    • moron. they were clearly deeply touched, piers almost in tears..
      that’s the one thing i hate about us here, too cold and frigid to just ride the wave..

  27. just great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. My initial, instant cynicism when I first clicked on the YouTube clip was confirmed by the audience shots of the vaccuous beauties who sneered, and I was at first angry that, again, we are confirmed as a shallow, package-first society… even the show’s judges. Oh what a lesson Susan’s grace, charm and talent offers. But more… do not the secularists, the materialists and the me-firsts who (rightly) understand the true message here, do not they understand that God – in one small tightly knit lesson – has shared Susan with the world to try to teach that love far surpasses the package? There are millions of Susans the world over, yet the vain, ignorant masters of the entertainment world will learn nothing and we’ll continue to see skinny, surface sweet talent tokens passed off as substance. Alas, in a week Susan will be old news. What a blessing if schools, teachers, youth mentors and anybody who “gets it” could share Susan’s story with those who don’t… get it!

    • I don’t know if Susan will be old news in a week, but I think your point is valid that there are millions of Susans in the world and they contribute to society not because they are beautiful, sexy or even talented, but because they contribute to their community and their family and for those reasons alone they should be valued. And that is a message that we need to hear more and more of – particularly are a time when middle-aged people are seen as disposable (particularly middle-aged women) and older people as invisible – because as we have been told over and over and over in so many different ways that the only people of value are the rich (who usually belong in the more money than brains club), the beautiful (who spend most of their time fawning) and the thin (who really just need to have a good meal).

    • They were just vacuous, not beauties in any way. Being beautiful wouldn’t have made their response to her any more acceptable, but as a side not they weren’t beautiful in the least.

    • God doesn’t exist, Andy. Not, at least, a God who watches over humanity or sends “messages”. I would have thought the Holocaust — or further back, Genghis’ hordes — or the existence of plague, smallpox, and congenital psychopathy — or a billion other little facts about the nature of the world we live in, would make that rather obvious by now.

      • Okay, Conan, I’ll bite. I have a few minutes to spare on your lament. Your second point thoroughly undermines your first. When you write “God doesn’t exist” and then write “Not, at least, a God who watches…”, the connotation suggests “some” type of God exists, just not one to your liking.
        Your references to “bad things” happening to humanity as proof of no God is the oldest myth in the book. I could go on and on but nonbelievers (serious nonbelievers) would never believe in God if Jesus Christ himself came down from heaven, poked them in the head and said, “Hellooooooooo, I am Jesus”. Wait a minute! Maybe they would. Saul of Tarsus – a much more famous nonbeliever than any Agrarian Conan could ever aspire to be – got the famous head poke and converted to no less than Christ’s numero uno cheerleader! I’m not making this up, Co, old buddy. Some dude wrote about it in the Bible (Acts 9:1-19) and quite a few dopes actually belive it!
        But I digress and sarcasm is not a Christian virtue. But, alas, I sense your subconcscious desire to believe as noted in your reply to me, but also in your reply to Iris below. Serious nonbeleivers hold out “hope” for no one, nor see beauty in any voice, nor understand the concept of “paragon of exception” in any matter. No, my friend, I see a talented man who has been bitten by the cynicism of Satan but who secretly wishes to believe. I could spend a month debunking your every argument in oppostion to God, but instead will suggest a book… which will lead you to many other sources… if you are at all open minded as your ambiguous God belief suggests.
        The book I recommend is called the “Handbook of Christian Apologetics”, 1994, written by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K Tacelli. There, you’ll find the responses I could only hope to mimic. And then, once you finish reading that book, the next book you m ight wish to read is the Bible. It holds the key to all that will set your mind free from bondage of nonbelief.
        Or not. You are free to think and do whatever you please. After all, God gave you free will, too, and how you employ that will determines your ultimate destiny.
        God Bless.

    • Well said Andy! We live in a world where we all judge based upon outer beauty. The scenes of the crowd snickering when Susan walked on stage was disgusting. Before I even heard Susan sing I picked up on this. I am so glad that she put EVERYONE in their place. I really hope that Susan finds all the success in the world, I hope that she meets her Prince Charming that treats her well and I pray that she is the biggest thing to hit the music industry!

  29. I can hardly wait to buy her CD’s
    Refreshing to see a person these days that can do more than just wiggle their Ass and expose their boobs. Don’t change too much Susan
    I wish her a huge success

  30. Susan won’t be old news in a week. Not on my PC anyway. This,…is just the beginning. Don’t forget that was only a stand-up audition. She has lots more to offer. She is a dark horse. Listen to ‘Cry me a River’ on YouTube. A real Diva,albeit an ordinary Lady. Never been kissed, ;-x ,there.

  31. Way to go Susan…. what an amazing voice, the performance brought tears to my eyes. Always be yourself, girl, you are a gracious lady. wow!!!!

  32. What a sad society we are, we worship skinny pop starts, who cannot sing without studio and plastic surgeons, manufacturing. They lip sinc rather than perform live because they can’t really sing. Let us not forget either that they cannot perform decently clothed and gyrating obcenly. The rock stars of today are performers, but singers, no no no.
    Susan Boyle has shown us a decent human being, who is just what she is, with an amazing talent. I hope her dream comes to be, whatever it is.

    • Susan Boyle is a breath of fresh air, but Iris, there are also some very pretty women who sing like a dream. I’ve met some (having had the privilege of singing in an opera chorus which included both pretty and less pretty women). In the real world of music promotion, it’s easier to market a great voice plus a pretty face than just a great voice. But Ms. Boyle will be marketed as a paragon of exception to this rule, and so will do just fine and give hope to many people, which is wonderful.

  33. Timing is everything! As our superficial society reaches rock bottom, I truly believe Susan Boyle was sent to us from higher above to give us a wake up call. Susan Boyle proves to many of us…… we place our priorities in the wrong places, give up our dreams easily in exchange to get ahead in this materialistic world. Susan, all my respect is for you, you represent dignity, humility, simplicity, compassion along with an exceptional talent.. THAT is so rare today! Thank you for being you and PLEASE stay the way you are and don’t let them to”transform” you into their image.

  34. It’s one of the rare times we see Simon swallow his nasty remarks, and light up like a candle. This lady has talent, and I’m sure Simon can see dollar signs or at least he should. The potential here is off the wall.

  35. This doesn’t speak to us so much on talent or beauty. It speaks to us of a person who is finally putting herslef out there to be judged… to make or break it… to try. Yes there are lots of talented people who never make it because it takes a lot of work and a thick skin. Susan’s greatest gift may be to inspire others to try.

  36. beauty has only been the phenominum that started in the 50′ and blew out of proportion in the 60’s
    Edith Piaf, Billy Holiday, and lets not forget Kate Smith, no beauties but they like Susan got their chance.
    Help her make the best of it not the worst. The entertainment business can make or break a persons soul.

  37. I remember Kate Smith. Susan has the same type of voice. I'm sure it is God's gift to all of us. We need someone to pick us out of the doldroms. I believe that's why God sent us SUSAN BOYLE.