Why the World Loves Susan Boyle
Posted by Jim Walsh on Tuesday, April 21, 2009
In case you’re the only person with a computer who hasn’t seen the video, here is the link (assuming I’m doing this right):
Since Saturday, April 11, when the season premier of Britain’s Got Talent aired on ITV1, this video has redefined viral, becoming by far the most popular YouTube video in a record short time. By comparison, 2007’s cell phone salesman turned BGT opera star Paul Potts took five months to achieve as many hits as Susan Boyle did in one week. A quick scan of the various YouTube versions of this video shows at least 50 million hits thus far. In addition, the ITV website also has its separate link to the clip.
In the U.S., she’s appeared on Today, Good Morning America, the CBS Morning Show and Larry King. Within six days after her performance on British television, both Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon ran skits featuring her performance, and didn’t have to offer any explanation of who is Susan Boyle. Oprah wants her next.
This dowdy, 47 year old spinster from a village in western Scotland walked on to a stage before a cynical audience (who thought they were about to witness the next William Hung) and two skeptical judges – it has since been reported that Simon Cowell had heard her sing before. She was a bit cheeky, then a little flustered, but all the time seemed very comfortable with herself. Then she began to sing, and jaws dropped, eyebrows raised, and judge Amanda Holden teared up. She belted out an inspirational version of “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables – an extremely appropriate choice with lyrics about broken dreams yet accompanied by music that suggests resolve and defiance. The audience cheered wildly, judges Piers Morgan (known to U.S. viewers from America’s Got Talent) and Amanda Holden gave her a standing ovation. Having completed her task, Susan promptly begins to exit, stage right, apparently forgetting she has to stick around to listen to what the the judges have to say.
Here’s where she really grabbed me. Despite the obvious quality of her performance, she seems genuinely surprised by the judges’ positive reviews. And even after being praised by all three judges the first run-through, she is totally amazed as each judge votes “Yes” for her to continue to the next round.
A life lesson learned well for all of us – don’t judge people by their appearances, and celebrate the talent each of us has in some area. In depressing economic times, Susan Boyle provides a much needed inspirational lesson. Thank you, Susan.