Susan Boyle: Her Talent and Her Looks

Why are we so amazed by Susan Boyle?

Overheard on Twitter

Susan Boyle: Her Talent and Her Looks

Why are we so amazed by her?

-April Daniels Hussar @aprilhussar

Susan BoyleWhen I first saw the video of Susan Boyle on America’s Got Talent, I, like many others, burst into tears. Not just damp eyes, we’re talking serious sobs. I’ll hand it to the producers: They played on our emotions perfectly– cutting to the snarkiest, most disdainful-looking people in the audience, building up our anxiety perfectly before she started to sing. And when Susan Boyle did start to sing–when she opened up and let loose something so pure and rich and lovely–the tears, oh, they flowed.

But why, exactly?

Since that episode aired, of course, Susan Boyle has become one of those proverbial “overnight sensations.” The more I read about Susan Boyle, the more I hear people talking about her or posting about her on Twitter and Facebook, the more I wonder….What is it exactly that was so moving about her performance and her story? Isn’t there something, well, a little patronizing and condescending to all this adoration? Am I being patronizing? Is it really so freaking amazing to think “someone like her” could have a voice like that?

Over the weekend, this tweet from one of my favorite mommy bloggers struck a chord:

@mommymelee  Instead of apologizing to Susan Boyle, shouldn’t we (they? everyone?) be apologizing to every woman who looks just like her and CAN’T sing?

And really, to me, that just sums it up.

Yes, Susan Boyle doesn’t look like Britney Spears. She doesn’t look like the alarmingly ageless, fiercely toned Madonna. She doesn’t look like a “Real Housewife”–she looks more like a…real housewife. And so what? Why should it be so INCREDIBLE to us that her talent doesn’t come pre-packaged in a slick Disney-approved wrapper? Why is it understood that we obviously didn’t expect much of her when she came onstage? Why was it understandable that people snickered and laughed?

And–most important–if Susan Boyle hadn’t been a very good singer, would she have then deserved the dismissal so many were quick to hand her?

Something else that needs to be said: When I read that Amanda Holden vowed, “I won’t let Simon Cowell give her a Hollywood makeover!” I wanted to scream. According to Amanda, Susan Boyle “needs to stay exactly as she is because that’s the reason we love her….The minute we turn her into a glamourpuss is when it’s spoilt.”

Screw you, Amanda! What if Susan wants a makeover? What is she, some kind of mascot or trick pony? I would want a “Hollywood makeover” if I had the chance–why shouldn’t she? Nothing will be “spoiled,” because it’s not about her hair and it’s not about her eyebrows; it’s about her voice and her spirit.

I’m rooting for you Susan Boyle. Not because of the way you look, or don’t look, but because all this time you have had this dream, this ability–and now you’re 47 and you’ve been given the chance of a lifetime–the opportunity to realize that dream, to share yourself, to move people with the exquisiteness of your God-given talent. And if it sounds like fun to get a makeover–go for it! Why shouldn’t you? And if you don’t want to, then don’t. Because what most of us have fallen in love with is YOU–your voice, your story, your dream.

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0 thoughts on “Susan Boyle: Her Talent and Her Looks

  1. Susan’s amazing! And I agree that she should only get a makeover if she wants to, because we DID fall in love with HER — not a Hollywoodized version.

  2. I think that part of why she I am so inspired by her has less to do with her appearance and more to do with the fact that she overcame her own fears and her own situation to show the world something truly incredible and to fulfill her dreams. Right now I am working so hard to change my situation in life and to do what I have always known it was my calling to do. It isn’t glamorous, but it is what I was meant for. To watch somebody else do the same thing, overcome her fears and take charge of her life inspires me as I’m working to do the same thing.

  3. This is the same hype they had over Paul Potts. The amazing opera singer who was on that show 2 years ago. He had bad teeth and looked like a geek, but they fixed him up and he looks better! I’m sure they will give Boyle a slight makeover.

  4. Have any of you seen Paul Potts lately? You would not know him! He had his teeth fixed and has a new hairdo and is very handsome! So why not do the same for Susan? Nobody is saying she is ugly! I think all of us can be improved upon. Not plastic surgery but a new hairdo, makeup etc. I am sure they won’t give her a bunch of caked makeup so it will be a good thing. Her voice is what matters but it will still be a nice improvement.

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