Susan Boyle's Makeover: What Does It Mean?

Susan Boyle

The inevitable has happened: "Britain's Got Talent" sensation Susan Boyle got a makeover. She's ditched the drab dresses for a shiny black jacket, dyed her tangled gray locks a rich brown, donned a trendy plaid scarf.

Should we be concerned that the woman who rocketed to fame because of the unlikely juxtaposition of average-gal frumpiness and chill-inducing vocal chops has been forced to conform to conventional standards of beauty? Or should we instead applaud Ms. Boyle for her larvae-into-butterfly transformation now that she's on the world stage? No doubt half the Boyle-ites will be wringing their hands, while the other half sings (mostly off-key) her praises.

This phenomenon is certainly not unique. Are fans bothered that Adam Lambert has largely done away with his severe, across-the-forehead bangs in favor of an Elvis-esque 'do? Indeed, the makeover is part of the "American Idol" experience: It's not just the Clay Aikens and the Elliot Yamins who get plucked, dyed and altogether reinvented. All manner of "Idol" hopefuls get the full-blown treatment.

When it comes to Ms. Boyle, then, her makeover is just one more step along a well-worn path in which a nobody attempts to create a lasting, lucrative career while avoiding being cast into the pit of 15-minute famedom. And what's next? Her own reality show? After all, it turns out that — gasp! — she actually has been kissed!

Here's a crazy theory: This isn't a story about an unglamorous woman compelled to slather on some lipstick. Nor is it a story about "society" and "unrealistic standards of beauty." Maybe it's just about a 48-year-old woman with a beautiful voice that is finally being heard by millions of people — and how happy she must be about it.