The new older sensation

Published 10:15 pm Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ever heard of Susan Boyle?

No, well, visit any major news or entertainment Web site and you will read plenty about her.

Boyle is a contestant on “Britain’s Got Talent,” the talent competition that launched the American version, “America’s Got Talent.” It’s a simple enough premise: three judges see talent and vote them through to the next stage of the competition. American Idol judge Simon Cowell serves as a judge on this show, along with The Apprentice: Celebrity Edition Winner Piers Morgan and Amanda Holden, an English actress.

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Now, here’s the good part.

As with most reality shows these days, most contestants on these programs are young, heavily made up and stylized to look like some version of a popular artist here.

Boyle is a 47-year-old woman who is shockingly normal. In her pre-performance interview at the show, she confessed to cameras she had never been married and never even been kissed.

As she walked in front of the judges and the studio audience, you could hear the laughter.

Boyle was a good sport. She answered a couple of questions saying how she would like to be a professional singer (to more laughs from the crowd) and how she hasn’t become one up to this point because she never got the chance.

Watching the first part of Boyle’s performance video is cringe-worthy enough, because you realize how rude and cynical our culture has become.

But Boyle stuck with it.

After the music was cued, she nailed the opening notes of “I Dreamed A Dream” from Les Miserables. In that one instant, the crowds that were just mocking the woman were now cheering her on. She went on to perform each lyric with a sincerity and an enthusiasm that you just don’t see from the 20-year-olds looking for fame.

By the time Boyle finished the song, the crowd was on its feet and the judges were singing her praises.

Morgan called her the biggest surprise he has had in years.

Holden called Boyle a “wake up call” and a “complete privilege” to listen to.

Cowell told her she could go home with her head held high.

All three judges passed her on to the next level of competition.

Commentaries have already been written about Boyle’s performance and what is known about the singer, many of which are calling Boyle the reality check that you cannot judge a book by its cover.

However, Boyle’s story is more than that.

It’s a reminder that staying true to ones self is the greatest inspiration and greatest success of them all.