Britain's Got Talent - Susan Boyle

By now, you’ve probably heard the story about Susan Boyle. She is the unlikely contestant from Britain’s Got Talent and she took everyone by surprise with her amazing voice.

As she took the stage for her first audition, the audience and the judges laughed at her. As a 47-year-old virgin (take that, Steve Carell) from small-town Scotland, Susan is not your prototypical contestant on a talent show like this. She’s not exactly attractive, but she had big ambitions to be a professional singer. She wowed the crowd and now she has become an Internet sensation.

Somehow, this middle-aged spinster has become a media darling. Boyle has already been interviewed by The Today Show and I hear that she will be making appearances (via satellite, presumably) with both Oprah and Larry King. Who cares about the other Britain’s Got Talent contestants, right? Everyone seems so enamored with Boyle, whose YouTube video is at 20 million views and counting, but I’m not quite so convinced. For now, I’m reserving judgment on Susan Boyle.

Don’t Judge a Book…

There’s something to be said about the efficiency of snap judgments and the inefficiency of too much information. At the same time, those snap judgments can oftentimes be incorrect and that’s precisely what happened with one Susan Boyle. Everyone in the audience, Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan included, judged this book by its cover. They saw a middle-aged woman who had never been kissed, lived in a small village, and did not look like a superstar. They surmised quickly that she would fail. Well, she didn’t.

Yes, there is absolutely a lesson to be learned here. Everyone deserves a fair shot at success and we shouldn’t allow our preconceived notions to cloud our perceptions, especially if these preconceived notions are largely unrelated. Susan Boyle wants to be a professional singer. How does it matter how old she is? How does it matter where she lives or how she looks? I don’t foresee her being much of a pop star, per se, but she could find a place on Broadway perhaps.

Don’t Believe the Hype…

Yes, Boyle has become quite the Internet sensation and everyone is jumping for joy over her amazing success thus far, but we also have to realize that this was just one performance. Even when she belted out a sample on The Today Show on NBC, it was the same song she belted out on Britain’s Got Talent. Can she handle different genres? Different styles? How will she handle direction? Are we not judging the book by its cover again?

I’m not buying into the hype. In watching the video, I think that she does a good job, but it wasn’t anything astoundingly spectacular for me. She may still win me over in the weeks to come, but she could have easily blended into the background if she was an ambitious 20-something instead. Ironically, it’s because of her humble origins and lot in life that we have taken an interest.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, here is the clip of Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent. Judge for yourself.