04 June, 2009

Obligatory Susan Boyle Post:

If one wanted to make a really mean joke (and I don't, I'll just pre-empt anyone who does) you could say that Susan Boyle trumped every other starlet by going into therapy before even releasing a record. Apparently there was a bit of a backlash starting against her. I hadn't noticed, but it wouldn't surprise me. They say Australia has a nasty tall-poppy syndrome but we've got nothing on the poms. After a few weeks of churning out masses of articles about the amazing discovery that a woman over 25 in an unflattering dress can actually sing pretty well, they needed something else to write about. And why not? It's not as if their government is in crisis or anything.

Amanda Holden described Susan Boyle's debut performance as a "wake-up call." (And just where does Amanda Holden get the qualification to judge anyone else's talent anyway? The last I saw of her, she was playing the trophy wife of a fictitious rock star in a sit-com)

Well, if it was a wake-up call, everyone hit the snooze button pretty much immediately. The real wake-up call was how disgusting it is that a sweet-natured person with a nice singing voice has to submit herself to this kind of freakshow just to get noticed. But that point was lost on everyone. She was suddenly a star and regardless of her looks, talent or personality, they were going to treat her like every other star, and every other participant in the freakshow, by obsessing over every minute aspect of her life and the less relevant it is to what she actually does, the better.

As with every other contestant on every other one of those horrid "reality" programs, it's got not about the music, it's all about the soap opera. What colour will they dye her hair? Who will do the makeover? What do her neighbours say about her? Has Oprah called? She might as well have been Amy Winehouse or Liam Gallagher. It was all the same old story, just a different name and face. Had it happened to anyone else on that dreadful show, I'd have had no sympathy at all, but this is one competitor who I think can genuinely claim that all she wanted was to sing.

And sing she did - very well, too. But that's all. No, that isn't a backlash comment, it's just a bit of perspective. I mean, isn't that what people on talent shows (even this one) are supposed to do - sing well? Apparently, just doing that was enough to make her a hero to millions. Sure, you could have worse heroes but don't go making this woman the vehicle for all your hopes and dreams. Susan Boyle's fans have done just as much to almost destroy her career before it started as the media parasites have.

To give the producers just a little credit, I suspect the fact that she didn't win was an act of mercy. She didn't need that extra pressure. She did what she set out to do. She has a recording contract for when all this has blown over and I truly hope it serves her well and that she gets to just do what she does well without all the bullshit from all sides.


  1. I totally agree Bill! It's disgusting the way she has been treated when all she wanted to do was have a bit of fun and do what she loves...sing! The fact is there are thousands of people in this world who can sing really really well so why it was such a suprise that someone like Susan Boyle was actually good is beyond me. Some of the best singers have never been heard of!

  2. I dislike myself for watching BGT (and its siblings). Such programmes have the same fascination I imagine accompanying public hangings which is why it's been called train crash TV. The most entertaining thing about SB's first appearance was the 4 second shift from contemptuous anticipation to astonished admiration as she began to sing.

  3. I have to admit, I found the sudden turnaround just a little suspicious.
    I am sure any backlash is not against Susan herself, but all the celebrity bullshit that has surrounded her through no fault of her own.