The Ashes

Technology, Science and other news
April 25, 2009

The frumpy virgin who’s slaying them on YouTube

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Filed under : General

Susan Boyle

She has the eyebrows of a Roman Emperor. She has the square shoulders of one of his centurions. And she walks like a bouncer who had one too many years in the NFL.

When Susan Boyle stepped onto the stage of “Britain’s Got Talent” this past weekend, the audience laughed and the judges could barely stop their cheeks from bulging through a guffaw.

Here was a self-confessed, never-been-kissed, unemployed 47-year-old Scotswoman who, when she saw herself on television, said she was mortified that she “looked like a garage.”

She told the judges she wanted to be a professional singer. Simon Cowell (yes, he) looked like he wanted to ask her to clean his car.

She insisted she wanted to be like Elaine Page, a diminutive English singer who has starred in “Evita,” amongst other musicals. The audience choked.

Then Susan Boyle began to sing.

Frankly, she hasn’t stopped. More than 6 million people have already turned to YouTube to see what all the fuss is about. They’re crying in Calcutta. They’re bawling in Brussels.

Why? Because watching someone so far removed from anyone’s physical conception of a star finally get an audience for her extraordinary voice is as moving an experience as you’re likely to enjoy this year.

Here all the unrealized hopes and dreams that so many harbor till their death are laid bare in an operetta of just a few minutes.

Here is a woman who suffered mild brain damage at birth, who was laughed at in school, and who has probably been laughed at for most of her 47 years because she lived with her mother, because she lives with her cat, and because she doesn’t look like friends are supposed to look.

Yes, she is now famous. She will get a recording contract. And, one suspects, she might not enjoy it all as others might.

But if, on watching the YouTube clip, you do not spontaneously burst into tears (I give you at the most 30 seconds into her performance), then you are either an alien creation of Ray Kurzweil or you should pop along to your local shrink for some considerable surgery.


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