Dreams come true for overnight star

Reality TV singer from Scotland becomes YouTube sensation, than takes the US by storm after gushing praise from Demi Moore

By David Usborne
Thursday 15 August 2013 22:05

It didn't take long. Just days after Susan Boyle caused a sensation on Britain's Got Talent she has conquered another media market far away from her home in Blackburn, Scotland.

She may not be in Beatles territory quite yet, but America is going nuts for the lady. Under the headline "Just Who Is The Singer Susan Boyle?", the San Francisco Chronicle noted: "Unless you live under a rock, you know about the Scottish woman who has taken the industrialised world by storm."

That tempest, of course, is being fuelled by YouTube clips of her appearance on the ITV programme. The numbers were still climbing steeply, but by most estimates last night her gorgeously quivering delivery of the song "I Dream A Dream" from the musical Les Misérables had been viewed 12 million times.

No sooner had actress Demi Moore confessed via Twitter from Los Angeles that Ms Boyle, 47, had made her cry, than the entire US media machine was swinging into action. Newspapers, blog sites and television stations are clambering for a slice of the woman with the "thick eyebrows, frumpy beige dress, several double chins".

CBS scored biggest. There on its Early Show yesterday was a bemused-looking Ms Boyle for a live satellite interview from her front room. Veteran London correspondent Mark Phillips had been dispatched to her local pub to gauge her popularity among the punters – they love her, of course. In New York, Patti LuPone, who was the first to perform "I Dream a Dream" on Broadway, rated Ms Boyle's performance: Perfect, she said.

"You have become overnight a worldwide star," CBS anchor Harry Smith gushed. "Do you understand that, do you understand what that means?" Ms Boyle, who also sang a few bars again for those American viewers who had not already heard her on YouTube, responded very simply, "It hasn't completely sunk in yet".

The whirlwind may only just have begun. CNN was yesterday reporting that after broadcasting excerpts of Ms Boyle this week, it had been besieged by requests from viewers for more.

It also said that it would be following up CBS with an interview with her on its own daily breakfast show, American Morning, today.

That America should be swooning for Ms Boyle, who told Simon Cowell and friends that she lives alone with her cat Pebbles and has "never kissed", is no surprise. It is a country that will respond always to any variation of the fairy tale where the apparently unprepossessing suddenly becomes pretty, from Shrek to My Fair Lady.

Thus some of the excited headlines yesterday, including "The Moment an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan" in the New Jersey Star Ledger and "Susan Boyle Stole My Heart" in the San Jose Mercury News in California. Stepping back a little, the Daily News in New York noted, "Susan Boyle was the Golden Ticket to Reality TV".

"The grand prize for any 'reality' TV show is to stumble, with no prior warning or expectation, onto a moment of drama so engaging we would only expect to find it in carefully scripted fiction," the Daily News wrote. "That's the prize the British competition show Britain's Got Talent won last Saturday night when a rather drab-looking 47-year-old woman named Susan Boyle sang a version of 'I Dream a Dream' and stopped the show."

When Smith asked Ms Boyle on the CBS show what, by the way, she thought about the perfect score that Ms LuPone had just given her on the air, she paused and responded, "That'll do".

'An amazing voice': US reaction to Susan Boyle

The Star-Ledger of New Jersey: "People like Susan Boyle are the glue of our society and it's nice when finally something good happens to them. It is an honour to watch a middle-aged, rounded woman with little or no make-up and an old dress go up on stage and beat ridicule with an amazing voice. A story even Hans Christian Andersen couldn't make up."

San Francisco Chronicle: "In a world of nasty pirates, mean internet commentators, and crazy right-wing extremists, we have to stop and embrace Susan Boyle for making us smile."

Kansas City Star: "I guarantee you: This will blow your mind and get you to think twice before you judge a person by what they look like."

Chicago Tribune: "Some question the authenticity of Cowell's and other staffers' stunned reactions. Others ask whether her voice is really good or just 'good, considering'. (Most observers, including me after a third listen, are coming down on the side of really good.)"

The Daily News of New York: "The audience was laughing at the notion that this totally undistinguished person would presume to dream that she could enter pop stardom, one of the most glamorous kingdoms in the world... Then when she soared, that all went away and because she overcame this unspoken assumption that she was insignificant, she shone far more brightly than some polished and glamorous young performer from whom we would have expected a moment of brilliance."

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments