When Susan Boyle tried out for “Britain’s Got Talent,” I bet she never dreamed that no only would she WOW the judges (including the ol’ curmudgeons Simon Cowell and his pal, Piers Morgan) or that she would become an overnight internet sensation. I’ve never been particularly interested in “Britain’s Got Talent” or its American counterpart, but I’ve watched this Susan Boyle clip over a dozen times by now. Partly because I’m trying to figure out if the two guys who are the show hosts are from “The Wiggles” and partly because like so many, Susan’s triumph has touched my heart.
When watching the online video, I knew Susan and I would get along famously if we ever met. She’s campy, quirky, and a little bit wild–my kind of gal. However, what I might consider charming, others consider strange, even laughable. But as soon as Susan starts singing “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables (one of my favorite musicals), every mocker was put to shame. Her voice was like that of a seasoned star causing everyone’s eyes to open wide in astonishment. The judges sat there in visible shock, and Simon even got a proud sort of smile on his face. It was a moment to behold and those who laughed one moment cheered her the next. Such is the gentle power of Susan Boyle.
I did a little digging on the Internet to find out more about Susan, and learned that she is learning disabled, which has caused her much ridicule during her 47 years of life. Susan also cared for her now-deceased parents in the small Scottish town of West Lothian. A regular church attender, Susan learned to develop her vocal talents in that hallowed place. Devastated by the passing of her mother in 2007, Susan had sworn off singing for good. That is, until April 11, when she was featured on “Britain’s Got Talent.” (Source: SFGate.com)
There’s something about Susan Boyle’s story that strikes an international chord. A short, dumpy woman who laughingly admitted she’s never been kissed took a risk on the silly dream of becoming a professional singer. Even though the audience laughed at her, not with her, Susan grabbed that microphone anyway. The judges sneered, but she sang anyway. It’s the stuff that dreams are made of–a real sock it to ’em.
We, who have been mocked, who have been told our dreams are too big, who have been told we’re too fat to act, and too tone deaf to sing look at Susan Boyle and say, “Yes! You go, girl! You live the dream!” Because maybe our dreams aren’t too big, maybe we aren’t too fat to act, and maybe we’re not too tone deaf to sing. Maybe, just maybe, we find encouragement from the Susan Boyles of the world, who despite their fears, do it anyway. And we hope for that standing ovation, too.
Even if it never comes, we need not be ashamed. Susan sure wasn’t. She sang her heart out and then started to walk off the stage. There’s more, the co-hosts tell her, and she scuttles back onstage to receive her applause. In her mind, Susan Boyle had already won. The judges’ response was just decadence on the vocal masterpiece created by one simple woman.
Because she took a risk, the world now knows that Susan Boyle from West Lothian has got amazing talent. And we’re all better for knowing her.