...and apparently, the rest of us do, too. When Susan Boyle set foot on the stage of Britain's Got Talent, the look in the eyes of the judges and the audience members betrayed what they were all thinking..."middle-aged"... "awkward"... "unattractive" and harshest of all, "delusional." Like the cool kids in the back of the school bus, even the television audience was along for the ride, preparing to watch what they expected to be a pitiful—if pitiable—performance. And then, instead of making a fool of herself, Boyle let her amazing voice loose, blowing the roof off the auditorium with her rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Misérables. Thanks to YouTube, 35 million viewers (and counting) know the rest of the story.
As the hopeful contestant beamed at the Britain's Got Talent panel, perfectly coiffed blonde judge Amanda Holden welled up and admitted: "I am so thrilled because I know that everybody was against you. I honestly think that we were all being very cynical, and I think that's the biggest wake-up call ever." Cameron Mackintosh, producer of Les Misérables, later gushed: "Vocally, it is one of the best versions of the song I've ever heard—touching, thrilling and uplifting. I do hope she gets to sing it for the Queen."
The regrettable part of the story for Boyle (who was born with a learning disability and says she was teased and bullied as a child) is that it took her this long to achieve the recognition that she is so rightly due. A performer possessing her talent combined with even half the good looks of Beyoncé or Gwen Stefani would have become a star many times over by now. Instead, Boyle has languished in obscurity, dreaming of becoming Britain's next Elaine Paige. She's now more than leapfrogged over her idol, a stage actress who is by no means household name in the United States.
Yes, Boyle is now a certifiable international superstar. So the question becomes....will this overnight sensation go the Jennifer Hudson route and get a Hollywood-worthy makeover? Or will she maintain her current image, content in who she is, sending the message oh-so-happily that you can never judge a book by its cover?
What would you do if you were Susan Boyle? Hollywood or hometown?
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