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Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent: It Ain’t Over ‘til the Cat Lady Sings

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On April 11th of this year, a cheeky 47-year-old unemployed, single, cat lady who had cared for her dying mother took the stage on Britain’s Got Talent. Initially greeted by snickering and enough rolling of eyes to turn the building over, Susan Boyle blew away every cynical, judgmental, and painfully shallow audience member and judge when she gave an awe-inspiring and flawless voice to “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Misérables.

BCT’s Amanda Holden called Ms. Boyle’s performance the “biggest wake up call.” It should also be a wake up call to every person who assumed Boyle’s appearance was any indication of her talent. More importantly, it is a wake up call for those around the world who have talent: it doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, what you do for a living, or that you don’t look like a supermodel. If you have talent and you take that talent outside your shower (backyard, studio, or local theater), grand things can happen.

Our looks-based society often confuses beauty with talent. Many of those who were seeing but hadn’t yet heard Ms. Boyle’s voice assumed the way she looked (which was, for the record, well-kept and nicely dressed) was a fair measure of her talent. It was unanimously decided — before she was even heard — there was no talent before them that night.

Such is the stigma that meets the voices, talents, skills, portfolios, educations, and resumes of some of the most hardworking and industrious individuals on the planet. Taken at face value and without benefit of even the slightest chance to prove themselves, many an unfortunate is cast aside and out the door; their potential contributions lost in a sea of rejection that simply cannot compete with the irregular measuring stick that is our myopic obsession with beauty and youth – until now.

My peers (women over the age of 40) know all too well what compelled Ms. Boyle to the stage despite any fear, reservation, or hesitation that may have accompanied her. Those women still in their childbearing years would do well to take note.

Many women have willingly given to, given up, and given their all to their families and jobs for several decades. While men in their forties often look back with lament and regret when they suddenly realize they aren’t 25-years-old anymore, women knew they weren’t 25 anymore as soon as they turned 26. Women in their forties often look back and soothe their aching dreams with what they’ve accomplished and done for their families and in their jobs. There is also, however, the need to look to the future for the fulfillment of dreams that have brewed for many years.

There is certainly something to be said for not waiting, but there is also something to be said for waiting until it matters more to try than to risk failure. Whatever it is you do, do it well, keep doing it, keep practicing it, and for crying out loud, keep your chin up no matter what is said or who says it. The weight of your dream may be difficult to carry, but it is the very same weight that will keep your dream in place once you have arrived.

Steve Martin once said, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” Susan Boyle eloquently and energetically drove that message home for many hopefuls in the world.

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About Diana Hartman

Diana is a USMC (ret.) spouse, mother of three and a Wichita, Kansas native. She is back in the United States after 10 years in Germany. She is a contributing author to Holiday Writes. She hates liver & motivational speakers. She loves science & naps.
  • David Smith

    I am normally NOT a fan of any reality show or talent show. I happened to catch this segment of “Britian’s Got Talent” on ABC News here in the ‘States’. Miss Boyle’s voice is truely a gift from God. I can only hope that the Angels in Heaven took note as they now have some Earthly competition! This is one “Idol” I WILL follow.

  • Lloyd

    It is truly amazing, how this lady changes the expression of the audience. It is a lesson we should learn, beauty is not only external but it is within us. This is a lady that shift the earth may be a degree or two.

  • jjstyx

    Very well written article.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Great Article!

    I always love it when shallow people get their socks knocked off by someone with real talent. Unfortunately, our country has been over run by people who may look pretty but need all the studio magic they can get their hands on to release a fricken CD. For someone of 47 y/o to still have an immaculate voice is such a tremendous gift and she shouldn’t waste her time on this craptastic show. She should be spreading a demo around!! She most definitely could gain success on her own terms without having to sign one of their ridiculous contracts which will make her spurn out some Top 40 garbage!

    Susan Boyle, You are a fantastic vocalist! Please, get a lawyer before dealing with these trendy, people-exploiting scumbags!

  • Shawn

    Ms. Hartman: Your words perfectly and eloquently hit the mark. I must confess that I, too, rolled my eyes when she first came on stage. I thought it was going to be like American Idol, where they make fun of people for “entertainment” purposes. When she opened her mouth and that first beautiful note flew out, I found myself ashamed and not liking myself very much. Wake up call, indeed!

  • STM

    Yeah, it was pretty good wasn’t it?

    Susan Boyle rocks.

  • duane

    Yeah! Right on the money, Diana.

  • nick b.

    Here’s why I think we love Susan.

  • chelc

    I ran across the clip of her on the web and was blown away also!! I will be keeping track of her and hope she does well. I have read other articles ,(TMZ),that have already tried to rain on her parade and i’m saddened. Why can’t she just be the wonderful singer she is? Im sure she’s been sheltered from what i’ve read and the rest will come. Hopefully someone will take her under their wing to help “enhance” her, but not change her which seems like happens so much anymore. We dont need another plastic person in the world…. Good Luck Ms. Boyle!

  • Dan

    Rush Limbaugh raved about this lady on his radio show today. And now this.

    I’ve got to check this out.

  • Jet

    My jaw dropped and I wept.

  • stephen j. schulke

    only god & susan could

  • roger nowosielski

    I really fail to see why every occasion must be used to advance the feminist agenda. Talent is rare and it comes in all forms. Looks have nothing to do with it.

    I got my get literally bashed for suggesting on the Politics site that I saw nothing inappropriate in the response of the panelists, considering the kind of show it was.

    Well, I suppose if someone has an agenda, then every occasion will serve. But somehow, in the process, I feel it’s a great disservice to the performing artists herself, like Susan. She’s jus t being used for whatever reason.

    I’m willing to bet that Ms Boyle didn’t feel she was being discriminated against in the slightest.

  • roger nowosielski

    should be “head”

  • roger nowosielski

    Hey, Jet,

    What are you doing here? I needed your help, and desperately, against vicious attack dogs on my site, but you weren’t around. What else are friends for?

  • Jordan Richardson

    I really fail to see why every occasion must be used to advance the feminist agenda.

    Where are you seeing this? This article is about how people get judged by their looks, which is reality whether we like it or not, and how Susan Boyle knocked them all on their asses. I guess if you call that an “agenda,” so be it. But this article has NOTHING to do with feminism at all.

    Looks do have nothing to do with it; that’s the point.

  • roger nowosielski


    This was a comment in passing. You’ll see that the reference I made is to what transpired elsewhere. I haven’t accused the author or none of the commenters of anything, just related my experience. OK?

  • Jet

    With the ulcer and heart conditions, I’ve been trying to “Stay out of the fray”… you needed help here or at your site?

    I’m still a friend, I just haven’t felt very welcome around here lately. :)

  • roger nowosielski

    No, at my site. But I’m OK. I staved off the attack dogs. It’s heaven (for now) in Paradise.

    But I’m sorry to hear that. Aren’t you fully recovered? And what do you mean about not “being welcome”? This is news to me.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Sorry, Roger. I guess I got confused and assumed your comment on this article actually related to this article and not what was going on “elsewhere.”

  • roger nowosielski

    No problemo. You should read some of the comments on that thread – the one corresponding to Joanne’s latest piece, starting with Baritone’s #2. It’s almost f surreal.

  • Jet

    Death to all of the unreasonable fools who dare oppose Roger. I shall send my minians to smite them, and Susan Boyle* to hit a high note and leave their ears ringing forever.

    *in an attempt to veer back onto subject…

  • roger nowosielski

    But seriously now, I miss you on that site. It’s getting to be too rambunctious over there, people just argue for the argument’s sake, forgetting the larger picture. The list of people with whom I can truly open up and feel they’re at least sympathetic to what I’m saying shrinks daily.

  • Jet

    I wonder where I can find a Suss-quatch hunter at this time of night?

  • roger nowosielski

    Funny you say that. Doug Hunter made a funny reference to Bigfoot sightings on another thread.

  • roger nowosielski

    You didn’t answer me, Jet. You’re not doing as well as expected? If you like that I’d rather email you, I will.

  • Jet

    Roger, rather than drag it through the mud here (which wouldn’t be fair to Diana) click my URL and follow the link to my on-line blog diary, or go to the Yahoo writer’s board and you can e-mail me from there.


  • Dr Dreadful

    I’m just wondering where Ms Boyle has been hiding all these years.

  • Dr Dreadful


    [pretending he hasn’t read the preceding few comments]

    JET!!! Good to see you back. How’ve you been? Allow me to raise a glass (oh bugger it, it’s almost empty, time to open another bottle) to you, my friend.

  • roger nowosielski

    It is amazing, isn’t it? Such a talent undiscovered. It’s a shame.

  • Jet

    After reading a few articles on Ms. Boyle, it turns out she’s a little “slow” fro