Last night on the season finale of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” chicken farmer Kevin Skinner won the top prize on the show for his unexpected but deeply moving musical ability. But the moment that got everybody talking was the performance by Susan Boyle, who sang her cover version of the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” during the broadcast. Boyle, the British singing sensation who became an instant star when her rendition of a showtune (“I Dreamed a Dream” from “Les Miserables”) became a viral hit after she sang on “Britain’s Got Talent,” made her first appearance singing on American television last night with the tune, and she lived up to all of her Internet hype. Her version of the song is beautiful and soulful, and more than lives up to its pedigree as one of the more gorgeous entries in the Rolling Stones’ songbook.
In fact, it’s not unlike the version put out by the Sundays, the dreamy British alternative pop group who found their biggest success with a version of “Wild Horses” that was squarely staring at its shoes. The band, lead by singer Harriet Wheeler, took the Stone’ classic and soaked it in lush, jangly guitars and a general sense of melancholy. While Boyle’s version highlights the dynamism of her own voice, Wheeler’s vocal turn is far more casual.
Boyle’s debut album, I Dreamed a Dream, will be out on November 23 and will feature not only the title song that first made her famous and “Wild Horses,” but also versions of “Memory” (from “Cats”) and “Cry Me a River” (the tune made famous by Ella Fitzgerald, not the Justin Timberlake song).