Susan Boyle – Internet singing sensation


While watching the Mormon Messages Easter video of Elder Holland rise on the charts over the weekend, I couldn’t help but notice another rising star – Susan Boyle. If you haven’t watched her video yet then you haven’t been paying attention. In less than five days, adding up all the versions out there, it has achieved over 16 million views. That’s got to be some sort of a record.

Update: According to Viral Video Chart, it has now exceeded 91 million views and will shortly surpass 100 million, approaching the record of the most watched video on the Interwebs.

And no wonder! I confess that I have watched her stunning performance at least a dozen times and am floored every time I do. Susan is from a small town in Scotland and has never been married. In fact, she’s never been kissed. She lives in the same home in which she grew up with eight brothers and sisters. Her father passed away ten years ago and her mother in 2007.

Her choice of song is one of my favorites, I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables. My favorite performance before this last weekend was from the 10th anniversary concert. That’s one of my favorite DVDs. The song fits Susan because of the message. She has a wonderful attitude in spite of the life she has been given. She developed her talent singing in church. You go, Susan!


For more information:

1. San Francisco Chronicle
2. One of many fansites
3. Times UK OnLine
4. CBS News Interview
5. AP story on Yahoo News
6. Why Susan inspires us

11 Responses

  1. I absolutely loved the video. I believe it was a wonderful teaching moment for all of us. We certainly can not judge “a book by its cover”. I noticed how the audience did that so quickly… but the beauty that was hidden inside made them rise to their feet (and rightly so!) The rendition brought tears to my eyes.

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  2. I posted Susan’s video on my blog too. I also linked to your blog, Tim, but if you’d prefer, I’ll remove the link. Not only do I enjoy reading your essays, I’m learning a lot from them.

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  3. Like you, our family has played the video over and over. Excellence is a beautiful thing to hear. We all need to learn to be more compassionate to those who do not look and act like ourselves. Somewhere embedded in everyone is a jewel of talent, even if it is sometimes hidden. In Susan’s case, we discovered her jewel of talent within the first couple of notes. What an inspiration!

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  4. I totally don’t get the reaction to this video. The “don’t judge a book by its’ cover” thing really troubles me–is she not a totally regular human? She seems to have all limbs and abilities. She is a normal size and her dress is quite nice. I am sure none of us would think twice if we saw her at the grocery store or in church.So what are people getting at? Have we forgotten that you don’t need to be drop dead beautiful to sing, dance, write, or have other talents?I don’t get it.

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  5. I have to admit, I teared up. It gave me hope. It doesn’t matter how other people see you, everyone has worth. Some worth is just not as obvious as Susan Boyle’s.

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  6. Esodhiambo: I think Amanda Holden (one of the judges) summarized it best when she said, “I am so thrilled, because I know that everybody was against you.” And why were they against her? For no other reason than the way she looked and came across. First impressions seem to count for everything in this day and age.I think another reason Susan has become such a sensation is because she represents so many of us. We see ourselves as just ordinary, plain people with no special talents. Yet we know, deep down inside, that we are special and that we do have hidden talent.Make no mistake about it, Susan was prepared to sing. She had practiced with years of karaoke and singing in the choir. She was confident and it came across as soon as she opened her mouth. And what a powerful impression she made when she did! She got a recording contract based on just that one performance.So yes, as you wrote, “Have we forgotten that you don’t need to be drop dead beautiful to sing, dance, write, or have other talents?” We have. Or at least the majority of the world has. The fact that the sensation continues to grow each day – now over 18 million views and hundreds of news stories – says that there is something special about Susan.She is your basic, down to earth, average human being who has taken a god-given talent and magnified it in a manner that is unusual. As I watch the interviews that have popped up, I can’t help but think how nice a person she really is. Of course, she’s overwhelmed by all the attention, but she is still the same plucky lady from Scotland that took some courage and set the world on fire.Can we do the same? Susan’s example makes me think that we can. Thank you, Susan Boyle.

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  7. Bonnie: I’m honored that you added me to your list of blogs on your sidebar. Thank you. I think my blog is one of hundreds just like yours through which we are trying to share the gospel and show the world that we are regular people living our lives in faith in the latter days. I have been using my blog as an outlet for essays about controversial gospel themes. I am trying to develop my talent like Susan, but have a long ways to go.

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  8. I fell in love with Susan Boyle a few days ago now. There is a link to the Youtube page from my blog and… I just want EVERYONE to see it. She is stunning. It takes a lot for me to cry, but this brought me to tears. I love stories about when ordinary people, who look ordinary and lead ordinary lives, come out and do extraordinary things. We all can. She is another teacher in this world who teaches us all that you DON'T have to be a size 2, tanned, manicured, perfectly made-up woman to sing well.=] <3

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  9. Tim:I just compared two videos of Susan Boyle singing Les Miserables: the first when she was singing with background music, and the second when she was singing a capella for CBS News impromptu.Both versions have absolutely the same pitch. This makes me wonder whether Susan has “absolute pitch,” an extraordinarily rare gift. Maybe someone gave her a pitch cue on the second version, but if so it was not evident.My point though is that this lady has extraordinary gifts one way or another.

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  10. The problem stems from American television where American Idol and Dancing with the Stars means everyone is perfect and beautiful. Americans watch that and think that the beautiful voice inside only comes from the beautiful person outside. I grew up with folks like Pavarotti, so Susan Boyle’s voice wasn’t a big shock.

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  11. There’s a great lesson here about books and covers and judging…She has the voice of an angel and I’m glad that she is now sharing it with the world.

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