Britain copes after Susan Boyle loses
But for Susan Boyle, the Scottish singing sensation upset in a shock defeat by a dance troupe on “Britain’s Got Talent,” stardom is no doubt hers to keep, with an all-but-certain recording career ahead despite her second-place finish on the show.
Millions of viewers as well as London’s famous bookmakers were shocked Saturday night when the dancers of Diversity, whose precision-choreographed routine was a definite crowd-pleaser, were announced the winners of “Britain’s Got Talent.” Boyle was gracious both in competition and defeat, flashing some of that bumptious personality (and some leg) that endeared her to fans across the globe, who fell in love with her ugly-duckling story.
“The best people won,” Boyle said when the result was revealed, creasing her face, with its famously bushy eyebrows, into a smile, adding that she wished the group “all the best.”
But while Diversity now has to try to parlay its victory into sustainable celebrity, Boyle is virtually guaranteed a post-contest career in the limelight. The inevitable debut album, television appearances and product endorsements are likely to turn the charity worker from a small Scottish village into a very rich woman and even more of a household name than she is now.
The Mail on Sunday, one of Britain’s tabloids, estimated that Boyle, 48, could make $8 million over the next year alone.
She was the odds-on favorite to win “Britain’s Got Talent” almost instantly after her initial audition on the show in April. That appearance grew into an astonishing global phenomenon that drew tens of millions of hits on YouTube, from people eager to see how a frumpy 48-year-old spinster silenced the snickers of the studio audience once she opened her mouth to sing “I Dreamed a Dream” from the musical “Les Miserables.”
She reprised that song for the finals on Saturday night, despite worries that she might not even show up amid reports that she was cracking under the pressure and the relentless hounding by London’s insatiable paparazzi. Stories of Boyle losing her cool in public fed rumors that she couldn’t hack it.
But she did show up, wrapped in an elegant but modest dress in an attempt to spiff up her image a bit. And the audience and panel of judges gave her a rousing ovation after her performance, even if the call-in voters did not hand her the win everyone expected.
Libby Purves, a columnist for The Times of London, said that Boyle’s runner-up finish was “probably for the best.”
“Maybe this time, the fame dragon will be cheated of its human sacrifice, tamed and bridled and taught its place,” Purves wrote on the newspaper’s website. “Susan Boyle can continue to prosper in a lower wattage of spotlight.”
Diversity, the winning dance troupe, includes three sets of young brothers, which means that “their imminent fame, adulation, analysis and spiteful debunking will thus be nicely diluted, and the lads will have each other to come home to,” Purves said.
-- Henry Chu
Previous coverage on Culture Monster, with video of Diversity and Susan Boyle:
Bottom: Friends of Susan Boyle react in disappointment at Blackburn community centrer as they hear the final results of "Britain's Got Talent" in Blackburn, Scotland. Credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.