Susan “Dreamed a Dream”

There is a great post from Terry Mattingly over at GetReligion.org on Susan Boyle, the surprising singing sensation on Britain’s Got Talent. I watched her on YouTube sing “I Dreamed a Dream” from one of my favorite musicals, Les Miserables. Wonderful! Over 7 million people have watched it, according to YouTube. You will have to go here to watch it since the embedding has been disabled.

But you have to read a little more about her. The Times online gives us some details:

Born with a learning disability, Ms Boyle dreamed of becoming a professional singer but in order to care for her elderly mother, Bridget, limited her efforts to the church choir and karaoke. Two years ago, after the death of her mother, she stopped singing. “I though I would take a break – it seemed appropriate,” she said. Eventually she felt ready for a comeback, and chose Britain’s Got Talent, her mother’s favourite show…

“Modern society is too quick to judge people on their appearances,” she said. “There is not much you can do about it; it is the way they think; it is the way they are. But maybe this could teach them a lesson, or set an example.”

At the pre-recorded audition, broadcast four days ago, audience members laughed at the frizzy-haired, church-going Catholic who lives alone with her cat in a rundown council estate, when she said she wanted to follow in the footsteps of the West End star Elaine Paige. Nevertheless, she said, she was determined to show them she has what it takes.

“What you do is ignore that and get on with your act. You have to,” Ms Boyle said.

Minutes later the audience were on their feet, applauding wildly after her soaring rendition of I Dreamed a Dream, from Les Miserables.

Terry Mattingly wrote: “Mainstream journalism doesn’t get more cynical and world-weary than Entertainment Weekly. But check out this confession from PopWatch blogger Lisa Schwarzbaum:”

… (Right) now I’m pondering why the experience of watching and listening to Ms. Boyle makes so many viewers cry, me among them. And I think I’ve got a simple answer, at least for me: In our pop-minded culture so slavishly obsessed with packaging — the right face, the right clothes, the right attitudes, the right Facebook posts — the unpackaged artistic power of the unstyled, un-hip, un-kissed Ms. Boyle let me feel, for the duration of one blazing showstopping ballad, the meaning of human grace. She pierced my defenses. She reordered the measure of beauty. And I had no idea until tears sprang how desperately I need that corrective from time to time.

According to Mattingly, “Boyle, of course, might mention another form of grace. However, it may take the journalism pack a few more days to make that leap with her.”

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