I guess it was inevitable I'd be writing about Susan Boyle, the frumpy, 47, and fabulous "Britain's Got Talent" contestant, after her YouTube video exploded over the weekend, but by Monday I figured it was old news. Well, not so ... she's made a bigger splash on both sides of the pond than any other "surprise" contestant on one of these reality talent shows.
You know the story resonates when it makes it onto the news on regular legitimate news programs, not just the entertainment shows. I perked up when I saw a followup story on Susan Boyle's sudden rise to stardom teased as a showcase story on our 11pm newscast -- you can see the story from last night's broadcast on the left side of this page.
A story in "Deadline Scotland" says Susan is "overwhelmed and overjoyed" by the reaction:
“I’m just taking it one step at a time, but so far I’m enjoying it immensely.”
Susan is now a huge celebrity in her hometown and said she’s been staggered by the reaction from ordinary people on the street. Walking through her local shopping centre people shouted their congratulations.
She even attracted a few wolf whistles from teenage boys teasing her about never being kissed. But when asked if her new celebrity status brought her any romantic attention she flustered: “No comment”.
Ah, this is why the world loves Susan Boyle. She's the underdog for sure, but there's more. The Entertainment Weekly story called
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"summarizes how I think a lot of people feel about her.
"...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.
Now there are cynics who say these phenoms are plants; that the show is scripted, and they point to the fact that the UK and the US version had the exact same story in two consecutive seasons about an everyday guy who can blow you away with opera -- they even sang the same song.
I started watching the show one night last season when I saw this poor guy with a beautiful voice being booed off the stage -- but he kept singing and by the time he was done he had outsung all the boo-ers, who were on their feet cheering. He turned them around.
That's the YouTube video to the left. Seriously, the audience was so rude to him and he had some story about how he'd lost his voice in a tragic accident, only to regain it ten years later (no scars, says the cynic?) and then he's singing a kind of cheesy song by Josh Groban -- oh the crowd HATED him.
But I loved his tenacity. They were practically drowning him out, screaming and yelling, but he kept on.
So, I had to give that another look. (He didn't win. The opera guy did.)
Another thing I have been vehemently ignoring is this Carl's Junior commercial that was the top rated video on YouTube for, like, ever. I didn't know who this Padma Lakshmi girl is, but she's very popular.
I thought maybe she had something to do with Slumdog Millionaire, but I Googled-up the fact that she's some sort of chef, on a reality show too (I'm so behind on these things, sorry) and that she was married to Salman Rushdie. What??
Did you know she's a local girl; graduated from William Workman High school in the City of Industry?
And even though she was raised a vegetarian, she's scarfing down the food-with-a-face in this commercial all right.
(maybe it's the bacon?)
She credits the Hardee/Carl's Junior chain for ending her life as a vegetarian.
Anyway I had to figure out who this person is because now she's all over the internet again for posing in Allure magazine's annual nude edition.
Yes, really! It's called The Naked Truth, and you can see the slideshow here, or if you prefer your nudes a little less naked, well, here's a little bit of a preview.
(yes, this is considerably *less* naked than the whole picture. She may only be half naked, here...right?)
I guess you really can't judge a book by its cover. This sultry goddess can actually cook and write, eat bacon cheeseburgers and marry Salman Rushdie.
And sweet sassy Susan Boyle sure can sing!