Susan Boyle’s Got Talent

For those of you not up on your latest Youtube/Internet phenomenon, I’d like to introduce you to Susan Boyle.

Susan Boyle was recently a contestant on Britain’s Got Talent, a American Idol-type show where people perform before a panel of judges (including the ever-charming Simon Cowell) and an audience, who then ruthlessly judge them, in return for a chance to win money and fame.

Boyle is a forty-something unmarried woman whose appearance is not conventionally attractive. You can see the scorn in the eyes of the judges about this frumpy-looking unattractive older woman thinking she has a right to be on a stage.

And then she sings. She sings “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables, a tough song (I’ve done this as an audition piece, and it has some evil transitions) and she shuts up the judges. Because she’s good. Really good.

You can watch her performance here: Susan Boyle’s “I Dreamed a Dream” on Youtube.

She’s since become an internet sensation, with video of her audition having been viewed millions of times. It’s likely that she’ll receive a record deal once she’s out of contract with Britain’s Got Talent.

She’s even in the New York Times.

A lot of the glee over her (including the above article) has to do with the obvious moral lesson about “not judging a book by its cover.” And I do think she’s a wonderful singer who deserves every ounce of success she gets from this.

But I don’t think it’s quite that simple, and amidst all the blogging, there are two articles on her success that are especially worth reading, because they touch on the niggling concerns I have about our collective patting ourselves on the back for noticing talent when we’re hit over the head with it.

From The Hathor Legacy:

I didn’t care whether or not she had talent – she deserved respect and common decency, which she didn’t get until she proved herself remarkable. Then suddenly everyone loved her and brought out the “don’t judge a book by its cover” comments.

And Dennis Palumbo at The Huffington Post puts it even more bluntly when he asks “What if Susan Boyle Couldn’t Sing?”

Because yes, I’m glad, deliriously glad, that we can all recognise talent no matter the package it comes in once its been made glaringly obvious. But a person shouldn’t have to have incredible talent to be worth respecting. And it shouldn’t still be a shock that not all good singers look like models.

And I wonder, with regards to all the people out there raving over Susan Boyle (including Simon Cowell and the other judges)… will they remember that everyone is worthy of a chance, the next time? Or will this newfound perception be a one trick pony?


2 Responses to “Susan Boyle’s Got Talent”

  1. 1 stressfreekids
    19 April 2009 at 11:06 am

    “When Susan Boyle sang… the world stood still..”

    Like an angel plucking the string of a harp, her song struck a heart chord that could be felt around the world. When Susan Boyle sang on the stage of Britain’s Got Talent, the world stood still. Young and old, successful or struggling, popular or outcast, happy or sad. We were all covered in the same blanket of hope, love, and joy. We all heard the same heart song. With one breath, our potential was unleashed, our perceptions were destroyed, and a new net of dreams were cast over us.

  2. 2 Dr. J
    20 April 2009 at 10:22 am

    The Susan Boyle rising star and the stuff going on w/ Amazon have really brought a life to our cyber class that I could have never planned.

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