Susan Boyle catapaulted to fame with an amazing premiere on the TV show Britain’s Got Talent in 2009. The initial selection for the show was based on regional events where acts aimed for “Yes” votes from 3 judges. Susan faced Amanda Holden, Piers Morgan and Simon Cowell at her first heat in Glasgow.
When she walked on stage both judges and audience failed to take Susan Boyle seriously. They saw a Scottish woman of 47, not working, not “dressed to impress” in the way both judges and audience might expect. She had attitude and a presence people seemed to take as comedy rather than gravitas. Yet it turned out none of this mattered, for as soon as Susan started singing reactions all over the auditorium changed. Her song – “I Dreamed A Dream” from Les Miserables – proved a fitting tribute to the fact that dreams can come true.
Before Susan started singing Cowell asked about her dream. She told him that she wanted to be a professional singer, that no-one had given her the chance to make it in the past and she hoped this event would create change, allowing her dream to become reality.
Amdanda Holden stood in acknowledgement during Susan’s performance and when asked for comments said “I am so thrilled because I know that everybody was against you. I honestly think that we were all being very cynical and I think that’s the biggest wake up call ever.”
Piers Morgan, (who started clapping with the audience within the first few words of her song) said “without a doubt this is the biggest surprise I have had in three years of this show... That was stunning, an incredible performance.”
Simon Cowell, known for his harsh critiques of would be singers, told Susan that he knew as soon as she appeared they were going to hear something extraordinary – nothing like as effusive as the other two judges, but for him high praise. He had the honour of informing her she had three yes votes, thus carrying her through to the next round of the competition.
Susan did not win Britain’s Got Talent – that accolade went to the dance group Diversity. Yet Susan’s fame started from the time her Glasgow audition was loosed on the internet. I remember receiving texts and emails from friends saying “you have to see this”, giving me the link to her Glasgow audition. There is something amazing and beautiful about Susan’s triumph. Her voice is exquisite – exhibited in her albums “I Dreamed A Dream” and “The Gift” along with several TV performances including the premiere of “Wild Horses” at the final of America’s Got Talent.