Judging What You See

By now, many people have heard of Susan Boyle. If you’ve not, here’s the scoop.

The UK has a reality show called “Britains Got Talent”. It is what American Idol copied. (there’s a whole other essay on the difference in show titles, eh?) Last week, a 47 yr old Scottish woman came out onto the stage. She’s overweight, double chinned, nice brown dress. She is unimpressive in every way. Then, after a short interview of sorts, she starts to sing.

You have to see the video yourself to understand. (The video has had just under 23 MILLION views and the embedded link for it has been removed.)

Susan Boyle blew them away. Out of the water. Even Simon (who I cannot stand) was floored. Why? Because she has an incredible voice wrapped in a real world body. Very little make-up, no eyebrow tweezers (ouch ouch ouch), no plastic surgery. Personally, I don’t care what her body looks like. I’ve got one of those real world bodies, too. Before she went out onto the stage itself, I was assuming this was going to be one of those “why oh why did her friends not tie her down and drug her until this was over?” things. I hate it when people think they have talent when in fact they can’t sing any better than my dogs! I find it painful. Not just my ears, but my spirit as well because people laugh at them rather than offer them help. They are put down and teased. But when Susan Boyle stepped out onto the stage, and I heard her speaking voice from that angle, I knew she could sing so I kept watching. But I had not clue her voice was that damn good.

Another YouTube video is actually a still photo with sound behind it. It is of a charity CD made in 1999 in which Susan Boyle participated. How did anyone not notice her then? Here’s the link to that recording of Susan singing “Cry Me a River”.

Do a YouTube search for her name and you’ll be swamped with videos and copies of interviews. I liked the one with ITN News.

Some articles that have popped up this week discuss the difference between a frumpy woman having a great voice and a frumpy woman who doesn’t. That her frumpiness is Cool and Oh So In only because she can sing. From “The Susan Boyle Phenomenon” article at The New Agenda:

When I first watched the clip, I was disturbed by the audience’s initial eye-rolling and derisive laughter. This, I thought, is why I have so little tolerance for pop culture. The twits were laughing at Susan Boyle for no other reason than that she was not young and not gorgeous. Apparently it was heinously absurd for a not-young, not-gorgeous woman to even haul herself out there on a stage (boo! hiss! climb back in the Kitty Condo with your cats why don’t you!) much less have the sheer monstrous hubris of thinking she could sing.

But of course she can sing, beautifully, and everyone in the world is now thrilled by this reminder that even not-young, not-gorgeous women still have value. If they can sing.

Go, Susan, Go! Me and the other frumpy women in the world will be watching you succeed.