Susan Boyle: Overhyped Internet Sensation Or Future Musical-Theater Diva?

By Joel Hanek and Adam Murphy

When Susan Boyle took the stage of “Britain’s Got Talent,” the skeptics saw, well, what we all saw: the quintessential cat lady. Audience members rolled their eyes at what appeared to be yet another fame-seeking weirdo throwing herself in front of a bus for the entertainment of millions of U.K. viewers. And so the stage was set for a new underdog sensation.

Leading into her performance, Ms. Boyle, 47, revealed herself to be quite possibly the least likely candidate for musical stardom. Hailing from West Lothian, Scotland, the unemployed church volunteer had most likely been rehearsing for an audience of one — her cat, Pebbles. Who wouldn’t find the notion of Boyle’s aspiration to be like British musical-theater icon Elaine Paige anything short of hilarious?

Simon Cowell, for one, offered little more than a dismissive scoff when Boyle took the stage. Her sassy retort of hip-gyrations might have clued the audience in on the surprise to follow.

Cueing the music with a thumbs-up to offstage, Susan immediately transformed from what appeared to be a sheepish, bumbling neighbor of your grandmother’s into a stalwart siren belting out “I Dreamed a Dream” from “Les Miserables.” The astounded judges gave her a unanimous yes, with judge Piers Morgan (also from “America’s Got Talent”) awarding her the “biggest yes” he had ever given in his three years on the show. Not only had she captivated the usually snarky judges and the dubious audience, but she has also become an Internet juggernaut by gaining over 5 million views of her performance in just a few days.

What do you think of Susan Boyle? Does she live up to the hype? Does she compare to the other reality-TV underdog sensations in recent years? Leave a comment on your thoughts and let us know!