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Against all odds, singer Susan Boyle made her dream come true. Could you?

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There’s a new album being released today, by a woman whose name we’d never even heard just 11 months ago. You probably remember when you first saw the video of her stepping onto the stage at an audition for “Britain’s Got Talent.” Maybe you saw it on television. Maybe a friend said, “You have to watch this on YouTube.”

The 47-year-old woman, who lived by herself with her cat in Scotland, was overweight, with frizzy gray hair, overbearing eyebrows and an open, somewhat naïve face. She had on a new dress and high heels for the occasion. As she walked to the center of the stage and was interviewed by Simon Cowell, you could see the judges’ skepticism. Cowell rolled his eyes when Boyle said that her hope was to be a professional singer. Amanda Holden nodded. Piers Morgan gave a little chuckle. The audience went wide-eyed and sarcastic when Boyle said she’d like to be as big as British singer Elaine Paige. They laughed at her, and not in a good way. It was as if the entire auditorium was collectively, silently making fun of Boyle.

And then she sang.

You remember this, too. Because you had been judging her on appearance, too – what kind of voice could this frumpy, somewhat misguided woman really have?

We’ve all had that kind of a moment. A moment when we are being made fun of, judged for the wrong reasons, laughed at. A moment when, if we are not careful, we will start doubting ourselves, duck back down, and say “Oh never mind, I didn’t mean it.” A moment when fear and peer pressure makes us turn away from trying something. A moment that can paralyze us with both potential and anxiety.

“The minute she walked onstage we all, and the audience, completely judged her on her appearance and everything else. And I hate saying that,” Holden told Access Hollywood in a later interview. “We judged a book by its cover, unfortunately, and we’re all very cynical.”

Susan Boyle took her moment. She showed us all. She sang “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables, and after the first few lyrics soared from her, it was as if the world stopped for just a second. The judges were agog. Cowell’s eyes opened in pure, delighted surprise.

Add a Comment14 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I felt that perhaps the American Idol voting system was not fair enough ,as the last few years there are totally unexpected results according to the survey conducted by few magazines groups and TV news channels,there were totally different opinions among the music lovers, i am not really against any participants but organizers should reveal the voting system to the common audience to create the more authenticity in the show.

May 29, 2010 - 12:35am
EmpowHER Guest


Susan Boyle had an audience the same way Britney had an audience, the same way the Backstreet Boys had an audience, and the same way every other successful musician had an audience. She appealed to fat, middle aged women the same way Britney appealed to wanna-be tweenagers, the same way Backstreet [edited for taste] appealed to horny 13 year old girls.

They are productions of RIAA meant to suck money out of the public for their own personal gain. So Boyle makes some money, Britney makes some money, the backstreet [edited for taste] make some money, but the MAJORITY of the sales profit goes back to the RIAA.

February 2, 2010 - 3:10pm

She has a great voice and I have to say she indeed does have fans! During Christmas time I saw more than a couple people looking for her album when I went to Target and Best Buy. I was surprised not because people were buying her album but because in two different occasions on two separate days, I overheard people looking for her album-- so she definitely must be doing something right.

Unfortunately, I could never make my dream come true. I'd love to be a music star but my voice is just "dreadful" as Simon would say. I will stick to being the undefeated champion of American Idol on XBOX- ha ha.

February 2, 2010 - 10:03am
EmpowHER Guest

People who say she has a mediocre voice are most likely just jealous and think that they should be the ones selling albums.

February 2, 2010 - 9:30am
EmpowHER Guest

Susan Boyle was around sort of known for singing in her region. The show's producers just took her put some shit clothes and no make up to make a sensation for the masses. Thats the Susan Boyle moment, an orchestrated plan to shock people and get audience to watch that show and buy the record

January 9, 2010 - 8:24am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Exactly. I remember seeing her around the village and the pubs with my father. She was quite well known around the area. However, we can't act surprised that a bunch of TV viewers were fooled, eh?

January 11, 2010 - 10:19am
EmpowHER Guest

Totally, awesome I suddenly became fan of her after hearing her voice, it feels like something crawls all over my body. I even called my cousins to the Philipines to watch her video in Youtube and they were amazed too.
I really want to have her CD, and hoping I could find it here in Saudi Arabia.

January 6, 2010 - 3:57am
EmpowHER Guest

What if Susan Boyle couldn't sing?

People would have humiliated her and felt good about it. Bloggers wouldn't be writing about her. People wouldn't be righteously defending her.

It seems to me that the negative energy that went into humiliating her before she sang is the same negative energy which righteously upholds her only because she can sing.

December 28, 2009 - 11:42am
(reply to Anonymous)


A very interesting point. In fact, reality shows like American Idol and Britain's Got Talent exist for two reasons: Viewers love to see people succeed, and they love to see people fail. It's just the way it is.

If you've ever watched American Idol, you know that there are way too many people who are auditioning for the show than those who can really sing. There are some so bad that you shake your head at the television, wondering if they are delusional or simply masochistic to invite criticism.

Based on her appearance and introduction, Susan Boyle looked to all that she'd be in that category. And for that we -- and the judges -- just have to blame our own assumptions. What? She's 47 years old? Frumpy hairstyle? New dress just for this? Overweight but sways her hips? Must be a joke, right? You could hear the amusement in Simon Cowell's voice and the expression on his face as he got ready to listen.

The fame -- and the amazement on the judges faces -- and the millions upon millions of YouTube hits -- and the millions upon millions of sales -- all happened because of what happened NEXT. When Susan Boyle sang, she made everyone blink in surprise. Mouths fell open. Eyebrows went up. The audience is stunned in that moment. Because the reality was SO far from their expectations.

Karma is indeed a force in the universe, and she clearly has some on her side. But if she couldn't sing, she'd have gone the way of the thousands of Idol wanna-bes who have their few (painful) moments in the spotlight and go back to their day jobs afterward.

But you're right. If she couldn't sing, we wouldn't even know her name.

January 7, 2010 - 8:24am
HERWriter Guide

I don't think Susan has a mediocre voice at all, I think it's crystal clear and since she's completely untrained, she has remarkable control.

With all the autotuning in music anymore, some because it's a trend, most because it covers the fact that a lot of our "singing sensations" can't sing well at all - I think her CD - while only a selection of covers - is good!

What it shows - if anything - that looks count for a whole lot in the entertainment industry.
Talent? That's negotiable.

December 21, 2009 - 12:18pm
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