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Jobless and homely, Susan Boyle became a star — and an inspiration

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Posted: Tuesday, June 2, 2009 10:00 pm

Have you ever lived a dream? Susan Boyle, the ugly duckling who could from Scotland, went from a unemployed, cat-loving face in the crowd to the show-stopping icon of the United Kingdom.

Rising to the open challenge of European TV show "Britain's Got Talent," Susan said that she had always wanted to be a professional singer but no one had ever given her the opportunity. She was hoping that the show would be the first.

With hecklers and judgment from practically everyone in the crowd - even the judges, Susan had everyone sitting in front of her against her from the moment she stepped on stage. She was the most unlikely of candidates.

Homely, 47 years old and unemployed.

"What's the dream?" Judge Simon Cowell scoffed.

"I'm trying to be a professional singer," said Boyle.

Young women in the crowd rolled their eyes and laughed - Susan was a joke.

Simon: "And who would you like to be as successful as?"

"Elaine Paige," Susan said, not missing a beat.

The judges asked what song Susan would be singing for them. "'I Dreamed a Dream', from 'Les Miserables,'" Susan responded.

"Big song," the judges chuckled at the soon-to-be failure.

With a thumbs-up and a play of the soundtrack, Susan opened her mouth.

What followed was pure bliss, beauty and some of the most spectacular vocals ever heard on television.

Susan was a star by the fifth word.

Reactions from judges and the crowd were priceless. Susan was more than just another face. She was bigger than they had expected, she was a newly discovered megastar.

Even Simon was beaming - something I've never seen before.

As Susan made her way through the song she hit notes unlike anyone in music had the ability to do, sending judge Amanda Holden to her feet in applause, long before the performance was even over.

With just a few lines left to go the entire crowd was feeling Susan, on their feet in support, cheering wildly for this transformation happening right in front of their eyes.

Susan closed the song to the loudest response I've heard from a TV audience.

With a cheeky smile, Susan mouthed, "Thank you."

Then onto the judges remarks who, during cutaways as Susan sang, each looked like they had seen a ghost.

"Everyone was laughing at you … no one is laughing now," said judge Piers Morgan.

"We were all being very cynical, and I think that was the biggest wake-up call ever," said judge Amanda Holden.

"I knew the minute you walked out on that stage that we were going to hear something extraordinary, and I was right," said judge Simon Cowell, never wanting to admit he was wrong, to a roar of laughter.

It was a very sobering moment for a lot of people. They had all judged a book by its cover before seeing what was inside and had felt like complete idiots for doing so.

We soon learned that Susan was just as simple and happy as she was made to look by the media, only the tabloids attempted to tarnish her squeaky clean image in her week leading up to the show's finale.

This past week, Susan, the underdog everyone loved to love, made it to the finals during the finale of "Britain's Got Talent" and faced off against a dance group called "Diversity."

Susan, the obvious favorite, went out on stage and delivered the same audition song but in a stunning new way. This time around, the song's lyrics, "I dreamed a dream," played a legitimate role in Susan's life. The last time she had belted out those lyrics, it was just a dream, but now, it was real.

While Susan didn't win "Britain's Got Talent," she was the runner-up and is undoubtedly more well-known than any other act from that show.

Shortly after the finale, news broke that Susan, stressed and exhausted from the weeks of pressure and paparazzi hounding, had gone to a hospital to recover.

Susan remains in the hospital and the world awaits her next move. Will she go back to being the frumpy cat lady from Scotland, private and secluded?

Or will she return to center stage, refreshed and prepared to take her crown as the book that should have never been judged by its cover?

While we wait for the answer, one thing's for sure. Susan's dream of being as successful as Elaine Paige happened her first night on stage.

This is only the beginning for the sweetheart from Scotland who has taught us all that judging anyone based on looks alone will leave you feeling like the embodiment of ignorance and prejudice.

Wade Heath is a college student and writer of the WadeWire Blog:"> He can be reached at

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