But when everybody started talking about Susan Boyle stunning the world with her recent performance on Britain’s Got Talent that transformed her into an Unlikely YouTube Sensation, I had to check it out.
Miss Boyle, 47, confounded a multitude of stereotypes by unveiling her gorgeous singing voice last Saturday night. Part of the joy of watching her performance was seeing the obnoxious, smarmy grimaces disappear from the faces of Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan, two of the show’s judges, and seeing the audience shift, in an instant, from tittering condescension to open-mouthed admiration.
Miss Boyle is unmarried (and unkissed, she told the program), has no job, lives with her cat and has until now sung mostly in her local church. But she has become a heroine not only to people dreaming of being catapulted from obscurity to fame but also to those who cheer her triumph over looks-ism and ageism in a world that so values youth and beauty.
And watching the video of Paul Potts, “a tubby, dentally challenged, cripplingly shy Welsh cell phone salesman” singing opera in an earlier 2007 show is no less moving.
When it comes to performing along with being in the corporate world, looks and youth all too often count more than anything else. But that is nothing new when you consider Cyrano de Bergerac, whose love for Roxane had to be lived vicariously through the handsome Christian since he felt that Roxane could never love someone with Cyrano’s plain looks and large nose.
Perhaps what is saddest of all is that there are countless other talented people like Susan Boyle and Paul Potts out there who will never be discovered often because are not young or have pretty faces. Despite this recording from 1999 showing off Susan’s incredibly beautiful voice, it still took her another 10 years to become an overnight sensation. We have all been told many times “Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover”. Maybe after seeing Susan's great breakthrough, let's hope that we have finally learned.