Susan Boyle Meets the (Social) Media

Just minutes after West Lothian phenom Susan Boyle walked onto the stage of Britian’s Got Talent last Saturday night, even snarky Simon Cowell’s heart was melting under the brilliance of her song. So too everyone fortunate to be watching the show live across the UK.

Back in the day (i.e. around the turn of the millennium) Ms. Boyle’s first television appearance might have been the beginning and the end of her 15 minutes of fame. Never more.

Within hours, Susan Boyle’s performance was blogged, buzzed up, dugg, tweeted and you-tubed — more than 7M views so far — for all to see and hear; within a day it was in heavy rotation in the news media. Her instant visibility speaks to the reach of online social networks but beyond the technology there’s more to the story.

Of  many who’ve commented on Ms. Boyle’s come-from-behind step-out into the reality TV zeitgeist, I think Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly said it best:

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.

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UPDATE – This story has drawn more traffic than anything I’ve posted in four years of blogging — 1,157 5,820 views and climbing — and the YouTube hit counter is way north of 20M for Susan Boyle clips. Testament again to the power of organic search and the power that the universal theme of personal triumph, like those invoked by Ms. Boyle’s story, hold for us.

33 comments

I agree totally. Have we all forgotten the greats like Ella Fitzgerald and Ethel Merman who were also not “lookers” but had wonderful voices?
I was mesmerized by Susan Boyle’s voice and performance and would love to hear other songs from her.

The last time I heard a voice like that was back in the 50s & late 40s
Kathran Grason to be sure was the greatest female voice I had ever heard in my life until today , I am holding my opinion until I can hear more of this voice , but man I can hardly wait , when do you think she will be able to sing for the world ???

I was blown away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is one of God’s wonderful secrets being revealed. I have listened to her voice over and over again and each time the Spirit within me jumps for joy. She is a gift from God to the world. Now if only people will hear Him in her voice.

I just want to thank her for sharing her beautiful, wonderful gift with us.

Jose Pedro Ramirez Reply

With such sadness in these last few days, what a joy, what a voice! I am happy for her!

I have been a soloist for over 40 years and know the nerve it takes to stand before a potentialy hostile audience. I also know the thrill when you are able to turn that around. There is no other feeling like it in the world and she has just experienced the ultimate. I listen with a critical ear and can find no flaw in her voice, style, presentation, control, or body language. It was extremely professional and I feel blessed to live in a time when I am able to have access to this wonderful event. I cannot think of another singer’s performance when I have been so moved. Right now she has been validated as one of the most beautiful women in the world. If she does nothing else in her life this one moment is vindication for all of the disappointment she has experienced through the years. May God bless you Susan as you have blessed us!

i totally agree with karol because thats exactly what i felt when i heard her for the first time and was awestruck that this voice was from god!

Wow! What a talent! Her performance brought tears to my eyes. This lady will be known in the future as one of the classic artists of all time.

Christian Couturier Reply

never heard such a voice , a gift ,i am amazed this is not the type of program that i watch , i am glad that I did .I am happy for you Suzan and wish you the best .

Again. I know there is a GOD!

Awesome, Awesome, Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

There are no words for this feeling-response to Susan Boyle’s performance and incredible reception from the masses. It is God tapping all of us …..AT ONCE….. saying, “Listen, listen, listen………….I am here!
So a BIG Amen, to you Susan, for yielding to this indescribable Spirit-gift.
(I keep going back for the experience.) And, it’s always awesome. Can’t wait to hear MORE.

BEYOND INCREDIBLE! It’s like God’s hand touching our hearts!

Everyone, take a look at the vidio AGAIN…as if we aren’t going to do that! Watch Simon’s face!! It’s the VERY FIRST TIME I”ve seen a genuine smile and genuinely entranced face and glistening eyes thoughout her performance! She’s a marvel, a talent that we have missed for all the years she hasn’t sung for us. Because of her age, she will have possibly 10 REALLY good years left to use that amazing voice. It’s such a shame someone didn’t find her many many years ago. She will sing beautifully until she dies, but, the next 10 to possibly 15 years will be spectacular for us all!! Susan, Susan, your voice is the stuff dreams ARE made of. Tears of joy you have given to us all!!! Brilliant!!

Susan is truely an amazing person and inspiration to all. She has had a positive influence on people from young children to adults.

Words fail me. I keep going back to the video and the tears flow, and I get goose flesh up and down my arms. In the 1930’s and 40’s America had a similar talent by the name of Kate Smith, an unattractive, plain, large woman, single, but with a voice that won the hearts of all America especially when she sang “God Bless America”. Miss Boyle could well be Briton’s Kate Smith. God Bless her.

What a sweet and endearing woman! And shame on those who judged and looked down on her. Hearing Susan Boyle singing from her heart made me think of a scene from the film, CHARIOTS OF FIRE. The movie was based on the true account of the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris, telling the story of Scotland’s Olympian, Eric Liddell, known as the “Flying Scotsman,” an incredibly fast runner. Eric says in this scene, “GOD HAS MADE ME FAST AND WHEN I RUN I FEEL HIS PLEASURE.” I do believe that with this gift of her remarkable voice, when Susan sings, we all surely feel God’s pleasure. God has gifted Susan Boyle with a most beautiful talent and sweet nature. God Bless Susan Boyle and may her dreams come true.

The most beautiful voice I’ve ever heard. Please make a cd and let us hear more of Susan. God bless you Susan. You have the voice of an Angel.

A comment is not needed. This is a Living Angel.

Oh. Now you Beauties know what Beauty is. Is a SUSAN BOYLE. Love to you Susan. Bert

oh my God! Susan’s voice…………… Never has a singer brought tears to my eyes or made my heart soar like this woman. What bushel was she hiding under?

Susan, you have moved my soul and lifted it to a place it has not been before. God bless you, I can’t wait to hear your beautiful voice again.

When a singer take you to a world that you ever been before; that’s when you known that a new star is born.
This is a one time in a life time that you can hear an amazing and wonderful voice that electrify your soul and take you to the point that you cannot even said a word without getting a tear on your eyes.
All my friends and I hope to see Susan Boyle singing many songs on a DVD soon.

My husband and i have watched and rewatched this performance, a dozen or more times and each time i get a bigger smile on my face and more tears. I can say i have never heard such a voice and defineately surprised as everyone was. Best wishes Susan in your future as an artist.

I grew up listening to great voices from scratchy old recordings from the 30’s, 40’s &on, Caruso, etc.. Their greatness came through. Boyle makes me cry, as I listen over and over to her on-line video. Her greatness overwhelms. Give us more, please Ms. Boyle. You make me want to hear again.

Like everyone else she took my breath away…It was great to see the faces of the Judges..I can’t wait for her to do an album…I will have it

I was moved to tears ! I want to listen to your voice everyday !
Were can I get a CD ? Hurry and record something for us to hear.
As often as I have listened today to ” Cry me a River”…you would be shocked ! haha I dont want to lose the ability to listen to your awesome voice. Good Luck to you !

I am waiting for Simon to publicy apologize to Susan, like the other two judges have done. But as one of them said, it is the $$ signs that are his main interest so I don’t suppose he gives a hoot if he offended her or not.. I hope she finds someone else who will give her a record deal, he doesn’t deserve to represent her.

I have never been more shocked and pleasantly surprised at her performce.WOW! That voice is incredible and England truly does have talent once again. I remeber when Mr.Potts came onto the scene and I was taken a back but Susan Boyles is my cup of tea.I love her voice.
I so hope she will being doing an album of some sort.It was a pleasure to feel the emotion and the warmth of her smile and song.
Good luck to you MsBoyle..Bravo Bravo…

For one brief shining moment in a world so full of negativity there was an endearing lady with a song to sing, and sing She did. The dream She had sung about brought tears to our eyes and hope for the future. Do not change Susan, keep your dream alive and know that you are above all a beautiful person who God gave a voice that is meant to be shared. Please continue to share this gift with those of us who were blessed to hear you. I stand in awe of you and will wait to hear you again and again and ……..

Sysan Boyle represents all of `us’ who have been passed over, neglected and otherwise ignored because we didn’t fit the normal look, the world expects. She proves that if you turn over a rock, you sometimes find lovely, wonderful new things to explore!

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