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Susan Boyle's Makeover for Harper's Bazaar

We went back and forth on this one and finally decided to post what we think, reactions be damned.


Susan Boyle, the little singer who could, gave her first major magazine interview to Harper's Bazaar with accompanying makeover.


"I did the audition for her [mother] because she always wanted me to make something of my life, but I had to wait a bit because her death prevented me from singing for a while. I couldn't put my heart into it. So I was singing about wanting things to be like they were before she went. You know, it was a double-edged sword because it was about what I wanted to do, but it was also about wanting to turn back to when she was with me." Boyle pauses. "Powerful stuff," she adds, as if to make light of it.

"As a kid, I was in my own wee world when I listened to records in my bedroom," she says. "I didn't mix with other kids much. I was frightened of people because of their reactions toward me." Boyle hurries over what she is saying. "It's complicated," she says quietly. Then she brightens up. "But the best way I could express myself was in the bedroom, singing along and imagining I was entertaining people."

"The YouTube thing was like a demolition ball. It was just overwhelming — to find TV stations camped outside your door and the phone ringing 24 hours a day." She pauses. She seems determined not to complain. "It was good. But overwhelming. It was too big for anyone to handle."

Now, why were we reluctant to post this? Well, let's all look at the pictures first.


Tadashi Collection Spring 2009 [modified version]


Tadashi Shoji gown; Giuseppe Zanotti Design pumps


Michael Kors dress; J. Crew necklace; Giuseppe Zanotti Design pumps


Donna Karan sequin-embellished t-shirt


Donna Karan twist blouse; Marni ring


Ann Taylor trench; Acne top; Donna Karan New York skirt; Giuseppe Zanotti Design pumps


Donna Karan New York sweater; Janis by Janis Savitt pyramid ring


Tadashi Shoji gown

She looks good in almost every shot. We couldn't agree on the Donna Karan blouse (Lorenzo thought it looked silly on her and Tom thought it was kind of flattering), but for the most part, they didn't go overboard and seem to have treated her with respect. So, no complaints here.

No, the reason we were unsure if we wanted to discuss her is because she makes us deeply uncomfortable. The whole "phenomenon," when it erupted months back, annoyed us; first, because we felt that the clip from Britain's Got Talent that introduced her to the world was ridiculously manipulative and designed to get exactly the response it got, and second, because the response it got disturbed us. The one question we kept asking everyone who tearfully mentioned the clip was "Why on earth would anyone assume that she couldn't sing because she's less than attractive?" Seriously, what was with all the surprised reactions to that? Have we all become so shallow and so celebrity obsessed that actual talent from someone who doesn't look like she's been starved and/or airbrushed is shocking to us?

And to take this into even more controversial territory, why are people treating her talent as some sort of once-in-a-generation event? She has a lovely (albeit clearly untrained) voice and she deserves a shot at developing and showcasing her innate talent. BUT. She is, at best, a middle-of-the-road talent. There are literally thousands upon thousands of women toiling at the edges of the entertainment industry who have better voices than her. She's good, but she's not THAT good.

We don't know, it just feels like a bit of overcompensation to us. Like everyone wants to prove that they're NOT shallow by treating this frumpy woman with a heartstring-tugging backstory as the Maria Callas of her generation when she's clearly not.

And what makes this all even more uncomfortable to us is that she has demonstrated that she's not particularly prepared for this kind of fame and attention. She's already had at least one breakdown and we worry that she's only got more in her future.

Let's state this clearly before we get ripped to shreds in the comments section: we think she's talented and we think she deserves a chance to have her dreams realized. It's just that we see the writing on the wall here. Fame has two stages: the one where they build you up and the one where they tear you down. That latter stage is almost always more brutal when the public realizes that the celebrity was built up to a point far beyond the celebrity's actual talent level. In short, we worry for her. We honestly do. And we think the whole phenomenon speaks badly about both the public and the entertainment industry.





[Video/Photos: Hugh Stewart/harpersbazaar.com/tadashicollection.com/bergdorfgoodman.com]



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173 comments:

Well said. I was admittedly hesitant to read why YOU were hesitant, but agree with your comments. She looks lovely. Thanks for posting!


I semi-agree with what you're saying. Some thousands of those women waiting though have no charisma or anything driving a record past their ability. So that narrows the field a bit.

The shots? fabulous.
Gotta go with Lorenzo on the blouse though, sorry Tom.

And now I walk away in my Jay McCarroll Architect Goes to Hollywood T-shirt.


TLo, I agree with you honeys, fuck those who take offense.

I was greatly amused by Susan Boyle when she first came out, despite the cheap manipulate Fox Network-espque editing of BMT, but got tired of it real quick and fast.

With that being said, I am glad that she's the underdog that finally got her day, and its nice to see Harper's feature someone who seems more human and tangible then the usual model or actress.


I feel the same way - to the point where I've actually not seen or heard any of the clips of her singing.

I think they did a good job wit the photo shoot for Harper's Bazaar, but I wish they'd left the first dress short, instead of modifying it.


You guys articulated it perfectly, and you'll hear no complaints from me. She can sing as well as anyone else on a reality show. She's not Elaine Paige (although she isn't exactly wonderful, either.) It's as simple as that.

And the slightly cynical observation that people praise her so they don't seem shallow? It seems like the perfect explanation for all the hype. That and the fact that they haven't been exposed to singers like Renee Fleming or Barbara Cook.

As for the spread, I think it was wasted on her. No offense to anyone, but I just don't think she deserves it.


Amen! I've been saying that all along!


You guys certainly have a point. It is very much the result of our American Idol world in which people are more excited by the fact that they "found" this person rather than their actual talent. A lot of them are genuinely entertaining performers/singers, but it certainly doesn't mean that they are the best. But the same could be said for shows like PR. Just b/c you win PR doesn't mean that you are the best or most deserving new talent. It just means that you were the one who was lucky enough to be liked by the producers and put on the show.

I think they did a very nice job with this shoot though. They could have very easily taken her makeover too far and made her look ridiculous.


I agree with you on the phenomenon of her fame. The whole situation reminds me of the mainstreamed retarded boy in my junior high, who was taunted and teased for three years by bullies and jocks. Comes graduation, and the announcement of his name, and these same bullies and jocks are on their feet cheering for him. They were so impressed with their own magnanimity. It had nothing to do with the poor kid. (btw, not implying Susan is retarded -- just equating her outsider-suddenly-embraced-by-the-mainstream situation with that of the kid in my school)


I love Susan Boyle. Yes, she makes us uncomfortable. And that's why we love her. All of us make judgment calls about people based on looks and Susan made us realize the error of our ways.

TLo, normally I love you guys. But you come across as holier than thou about judging people based on appearances. HELLO!!!! You guys do that all the time, with every single post. You do make insinuations about people's character and talent based on their looks. Yes, you do.


I think she looks lovely and appropriate. As for your comments, I agree with everything you said. I watched her performance on Youtube and while I enjoyed it, it wasn't the earth shattering event that the audience seemed believe it was. And since they screamed and clapped through the entire thing, how could they truly hear her?!!
After watching the whole hulabaloo from a safe distance, I can't help thinking that we will look at this in the future and wonder, what in the world was that all about?


I agree with your comments about Susan Boyle. I kinda feel sorry for her, 'cause her overexposure really caused me to actually kind of hate her, when it's not really her fault. She does look nice here, I will begrudgingly admit.

One of the worst things I thought about the entire thing was that they did it the previous season with a man: Paul Potts (who eventually went on to win). The set-up was exactly the same, with the same initial audience reaction, the same sweeping background music, and the same shots of that annoying female judge's teary eyes. Even worse, America's Got Talent then did their own version, complete with a similar dumpy heavy-set guy singing the exact same song with all the same emotionally manipulative set-ups.
Yes, the notion that one needs to be attractive in order to be talented is ridiculous, and of course all these dumb shows are manufactured. They're not even trying to hide it anymore. (Google Paul Potts and Neil B. Boyd, "Nessum dorma." For reals.)


I love Susan Boyle. Yes, she makes us uncomfortable. And that's why we love her. All of us make judgment calls about people based on looks and Susan made us realize the error of our ways.

TLo, normally I love you guys. But you come across as holier than thou about judging people based on appearances. HELLO!!!! You guys do that all the time, with every single post. You do make insinuations about people's character and talent based on their looks. Yes, you do.



I'd like to know what posts you've been reading here because I have NEVER seen a post here where Tlo judge people's character OR talent based on their looks.


"Grace said...

TLo, normally I love you guys. But you come across as holier than thou about judging people based on appearances. HELLO!!!! You guys do that all the time, with every single post. You do make insinuations about people's character and talent based on their looks. Yes, you do."

Insinuations about people's character and talent? Since when?


I never understood why she became so famous, her voice is OK, not the greatest. I feel that the whole thing was pretty manipulative and calculated.


Have we all become so shallow and so celebrity obsessed that actual talent from someone who doesn't look like she's been starved and/or airbrushed is shocking to us?

Yes.
At least those in the media.
But I would also say that many of us have been brainwashed into buying the BS that only the beautiful and the YOUNG are worthy of success or have talent.
There are people all over who are talented, but are rejected in the entertainment industry everyday based on their everyday, normal looks or age.
And if the crowd had not supported her and taken her into their hearts, Simon Cowell would not be spending money to make her a success.
She looks lovely and happy in those pictures and as a woman of a "certain age" I wish her all the best.


I think normally people wouldn't be surprised that someone like her could sing... but in American Idol (and shows like that) the people who don't look the part of a star, usually are awful...

They pick the best (people they want to be on the show... usually attractive) and the worst (people that are to be made fun of... for one reason or another, sometimes because of looks as well as talent).

You can usually tell right off the bat which one you are getting before they even open their mouth! So I guess people were surprised in that sense. It didn't fit the mold of the show.

If any of that makes sense :)


I think it's gotten to the point that talented people must also be wildly gorgeous to have any widespread success, especially among women. But also among men. I doubt very much that Walter Matthau would have become a successful movie actor if he were starting out these days.


Yes. Yes. Yes. Exactly.

Well said, TLo.


I think Susan Boyle become such a big deal is because she's an example of something that doesn't seem to exist that much in our society, someone who doesn't fit what is considered "beautiful" (no offense) and is actually talented.

Today, so much is about the "whole package" so we have tons of people, especially in the music business, who become famous for being pretty and entertaining others as opposed to possessing any sort of skill when it comes to crafting music or singing.

I'm not saying she is the messiah or anything, but I think she can sing and I'm glad she was given a shot when she probably wouldn't have had that chance otherwise.


I have only heard her sing on THAT video and I thought she sounded wonderful; but agree that the reactions were insulting. SO I guess I can't argue your opinion that she is not THAT wonderful.

To the makeover and the pics. I thought she looked lovely in all but the first pic. When you casrry your weight at your waist like she does (and quite a few women in my family), you have to be careful about dresses and things that grab there. She looks fab in some of the other pics.


You guys are so right. More than ironic, I find quite offensive that she got that response from her clip on BGT precisely because she is not pretty.

It's so sad how people use these characters to make themselves feel good about themselves - not that, at least to mee, Boyle is ignorant about her being used.


THANK YOU, TLo. I actually watched the Britain's Got Talent clip the other day and yes, for the first time, heard Susan Boyle sing (Sometimes I just live under a rock and don't give a crap about "phenomenons").

I couldn't believe how calculated and manipulated the whole thing was. And to think several months ago I overheard a lady talking to her friends about it- "She came out and she was super ugly and everyone was laughing at her and then THIS VOICE CAME OUT OF HER LIKE MAGICALLY." Ugh.

She does look very nice in the photos though. I hope she ends up okay.


She looks lovely.


Can I say the Tadashi gown is killer?

It looks beautiful on her and makes her look like she's about to perform at the Met.

Would love to see something like that on ShelleyO.


The first Tadashi, that is.


There are millions of women in America who can sing amazingly. If those women are not model-gorgeous, however, they're likely not going to become pop stars. Or folk stars. Or indie rock stars. Janis Joplin is pretty much impossible at this point. And because this selection process has been going on for so long, I think people have honestly forgotten that there is no actual connection between appearance and singing ability. None whatsoever. They're just used to all of their favorite singers being pretty. Because the selection of women who can sing awesomely is so tremendous that agents can afford to overlook the unattractive ones.

That's my cynical take on the matter. The slightly less cynical take is that society has undergone a kind of Disneyfication which makes them automatically conclude that pretty people must be better people, which presumably includes singing better. That's not really any better a turnout, but it does imply that it's more of an unconscious thing.


Pretty sound comments from you guys. Harper's did a decent job overall on the pics. I understand your relunctance though. The topic of Ms Boyle leads to a can of worms

I recall seeing that clip and thinking yes she has a very nice voice. And it was a surprise to the audience since they have been conditioned as was stated earlier that a frumpy person is more likely to be a trainwreck than good. Sadly the 25+ yrs after the creation of MTV has proven that looks matter in today's music climate. That's something old Mr Cowell has openly stated to the embarrassment of others in the industry.

I didn't think she was a superstar either. a good voice but as you say not the next Judy Garland or Julie Andrews. In fairness her recording of Cry Me a River is very good. I quickly realized that the reason people probably gave damn about her is becuase she was both middle-aged and a frump. If she was 20 yrs younger or presented herself in a much more polished manner, I dont think she'd be the rage she is now. And that "claim" of hers that she's never been kissed didn't exactly hurt her appeal.

Frank


Well said, I couldn't agree more. But another poster made a good argument in that people may have been surprised to hear her voice based on her looks knowing how these talent shows are edited. On American Idol the good-looking ones are usually the talented singers. Not saying that less attractive people can't sing well but they just aren't shown near as often.

However, I'm happy for her and she looks great in these pictures. I really love the Michael Kors dress on her.


I think the problem is not her looks, it's her personality. She doesn't have the personality and the confidence of a star. There have always been extremely talented singers who were less then beautiful.


If people are so dumb as to think "I see pretty people singing on American Idol, that means ALL good singers must be pretty" then I really, truly fucking weep for humanity.


I totally called this. I told my roommate that they basically liked her because she's "ugly" and if she was hot and 22 no one would care. Within 6 months she'll be on the cover of a magazine with a makeover, release an album or two, then be forgotten.

Well commence part 2 I suppose.


I agree with THAT GIRL. I think a large part of the reaction came not necessarily from the fact that a frumpily-dressed middle-aged woman can sing well, but that a frumpily-dressed middle-aged woman that was chosen to be on a reality tv show can sing well. Yes, the entire thing was completely manipulated, but those clever producers decided to use the stereotypes that they themselves have spent years creating to "shock" the audience into their ridiculous overreaction.


This comment has been removed by the author.

Thinking about the whole looks thing and bringing up American Idol. Idol makes the point of slowly but surely making over the contestants to look as attractive as possible. All part of creating the whole package and image. Sometimes though it's not a good idea.

Someone like Clay Aiken is a good example of this. The irony is that Simon Cowell had stated back then making over Clay to have him "more appealing" by industry standards was in his opinion a mistake. He felt the Clay didn't stand out as much because of it and ended up looking too homogenized in his appearance.

well regardless here's hoping Ms Boyle can get something positive out of this in the long run

Frank


Thank you for an interesting post TLo—very insightful. You guys are the best (and I can’t wait for more of the most dramatic moments posts!!)
I guess the shock of Ms. Boyle came from the fact that she looked so ordinary, and people expect talent to look at least put together. Especially on TV.
Then, she had a lovely voice. And OF COURSE a television show is going to build up the story, and then it went viral. She’s talented, though perhaps not more talented than a lot of people. But she did her thing and it works out. A drama teacher of mine used to say to be successful you need at least three of five things: talent, good looks, connections, perseverance and luck. She kept up at something she had talent at and finally got lucky.
I think the whole thing is unsurprising, and although not the best reflection of media.
Perhaps she can sustain this, perhaps not. She’s an adult woman who should make decisions for herself, and she deserves her chance.
Re: the photos… Makeovers are obviously a fairly common component of fashion magazines, so to do once while getting an interesting interview seems like a good idea. I love the photos and think she looks very nice. It’s interesting seeing beautiful clothes on a more representatively sized woman, and an older woman. I like the Karan on her. I don’t like the chin resting on both hands pose; it looks twee and immature.


I thought part of the "shock appeal" of Boyle's audition was that she had a funny voice, was clearly a quirky woman who bordered on cat lady (she talked a bit about Pebbles). You sort of expect anyone who walks into an audition to try to look a little polished, which Boyle was not.

But I agree that she's been entirely overexposed. I enjoy her singing but it doesn't give me goosebumps. It'll be interesting to see where her career goes, but it's evident that she'd much prefer to be in her cottage with Pebbles. Nice that she is getting to see more of the world, though; fantastic, flattering pictures, too.


Agree 100% with you. When I was first shown the clip of her singing, everyone around me was crying, and I didn't get it. She does have talent, its just not that spectacular. She looks fantastic in these, though!


Sorry, meant to say funny look, not funny voice.


I totally agree with you. Well said.


Oh puh-lease! Like none of you were moved when you first saw that clip of her singing "I Dreamed a Dream"? Come on, hypocrites! Yes, the show/clip was shamefully manipulative (and I truly wanted to punch that guy behind the curtain). But it was also truly, genuinely moving.

Not because it was that shocking that a frumpy, average-looking, older person could sing well... it was shocking because these shows typically set people like her up to be mocked (William Hung, anyone?). And she was a mousy, plucky, good-spirited underdog (albeit edited to be so) on a reality tv competition - which is typically dominated by charismatic, pretty young things. And she sang an absolutely beautiful, completely heartbreaking song very well (who DOESN'T shed a tear when they hear that song?). Couple that with her spinster-like backstory and it had an emotional effect on many people. It is beyond cynical to suggest only because we're patting ourselves on the back for accepting someone like her has talent. It was that someone like her TRIUMPHED because of her talent in a shallow industry/genre.

I do admit to being uncomfortable after the massive amounts of attentions she's gotten and was obviously not prepared for. And yes, I'm sure there are other people out there that are more talented. But that first clip we all saw of her was very impressive and genuinely moving to many people.


Well said! I understand why you're hesitant (because a friend totally jumped down my throat when I gave a similar opinion right when this whole thing started).

But these photos ARE lovely, and I love her smile and most of the clothes (except that little What Not To Wear number with the huge coat and the sensible but modern shoes - it's just too staged for me).


another laura

Whatever happens to her, she'll always have these photos, right? She is most likely to fade back into obscurity quite soon but most people who try and have a career in entertainment do not get fabulous spreads in Harpers Bazaar.


Tim, just because some people were not moved (as someone who is vocally trained, I defnitely wasn't) does not make them hypocrites. It makes them bastions of erudition and taste. Sorry you got so caught up in all the McMusic.


Bob Scrivens

Hate to disagree with you, but I can't let this one sit:

"The one question we kept asking everyone who tearfully mentioned the clip was 'Why on earth would anyone assume that she couldn't sing because she's less than attractive?' Seriously, what was with all the surprised reactions to that?"

You've missed the point. It's because talent shows like these are in the habit of trotting out resounding NON-talents as a sort of twisted comic relief. Susan Boyle projected a powerful aura of "talentless goofball" until the moment she started signing. (Remember, this was pre-makeover.) The surprise was that the producers went off-script by getting a genuine (albeit unpolished) talent to subvert the goofball image.

Hell, ugly people sing all the time. That's nothing new.

"And what makes this all even more uncomfortable to us is that she has demonstrated that she's not particularly prepared for this kind of fame and attention."

I, too, dread what fame may wind up doing to her. And so, evidently, does she. It's her own dread which may keep her grounded; keeping grounded will limit her career, of course, but that's probably for the best.


Of course a large part of it was her looks, because we've been conditioned to it. Much of that was costuming though, IMO. Had she come out in a gown we wouldn't have been surprised by something classical. But she came out dressed like a frumpy old housewife.

Then to top it off, before singing she acted like a bit of an old burlesque queen. In a bad dress from decades ago. You couldn't help but see Hyacinth Bucket or someone from the applauding old ladies on Monty Python.

So for her to open her mouth and have heavenly sounds come out, well, it was astonishing.

But it wasn't that people thought ugly=untalented, or that her voice is somehow miraculous. It was simply a set of events that made it feel that way on that one day.


I took a few minutes to think about my response here. Not that it's going to be profound or anything, but to think about how I felt. I'm choosing to focus more on the magazine feature then the BGT hype machine.

I admit that her story is a compelling one. There are many woman out there that feel "less then" because their circumstances, whatever they may be, have not exposed them to all the ways that you can make yourself more attractive and celebrate what makes you you. The "never been kissed at her age" hurts my heart a little and I could only assume that it made her feel unattractive and unwanted.

Much of the hype she experienced was focused on how she looked. That type of magnification must have been horrible. I know that it would have been for me. So in that context, I think this makeover of sorts is a positive thing for Susan.

As for the layout itself? I think it looks fantastic and I think she does as well. I think it was handled with class and dignity. I'm all for it. Congrats to Susan. Enjoy this positive experience honey cause lord knows it won't all be so positive.


You know, it's true that she probably won't receive as much attention in the future as she does now, but in the end I think that might be the best for her personality. I don't see her wanting that Ellen Paige, Maria Callas type of global fame; if she can parlay BGT and things like this Harper's Bazaar spread into a singing career that provides a consistent (though not necessarily star level) job doing something that I think she truly loves to do, I think that might be what makes her happiest.

In short, if she plays her cards right she can use this moment to live a comfortable, relatively quiet life. If her handlers try to build her into something she isn't prepared for, well, then this could end badly.


You know, surprise about her being able to sort of sing instead of just being trotted out to be laughed at might be a legitimate excuse for the reaction of the audience in the clip. I don't see how it can explain the ridiucluous amount of attention and hype that came her way afterward, especially once the entire world knew about "the dumpy woman who could sing." Even now, all articles about her are tied to her appearance (including this one, with her makeover). Sorry, but that superficiality surrounding her is entirely the reason she became a 'phenomenon,' versus surprising an auditorium full of people on a reality show and then fading away. I found it distasteful then, as I do now. I find it highly unlikely that anybody would have found it as moving had it been a pretty 21-year-old girl. So over this whole thing. Let's hope 2010 is entirely SuBo free.


Anonymous, it is the very HEIGHT of hypocrisy to create a blog post and feign to not understand how people could possibly be so ridiculous and petty as to judge people on their appearance and poor unstable Susan is not ready for this kind of exposure... when the entire blog post (and most of the entire web site itself) is about posting pictures of her and critiquing her look!

We can't all have taste as refined as yours (what would you do if you couldn't look down on our bourgeois tastes), but she obviously touched millions of people with her McMusic.


PS She admitted later that the never-been-kissed thing was a "joke," and untrue. Uh, right, it was a convenient "joke," not a shameless ploy at exploitation...what a coincidence!


TLo I like the layout and a bigger thank you than usual for showing us the runway looks, it is interesting to see the clothes on her and like with the Linda Evangelista ed, I want to know who did the styling - interesting because they are practically opposites in their looks and feels.

It disturbed me that I have seen media phenoms such as Susan Boyle created enough times that I can almost plot the course and know that the fall is inevitable. I agree with almost everything you said, my one disagreement is that I think that her talent was a major element in "the phenomenon." I am not equipped to say that she has a "once in a generation" voice, but her voice and the delivery of that song made for a memorable event that went beyond the surprise of a frumpy, middle aged woman who could sing really, really, really well. So perhaps ( and for whatever je ne sais quoi reason) you can say that it was a "once in a generation" performance. I would liken it to Michael Jackson at the Motown 25 celebration or Ricky Martin's Grammy Awards performance.


"Tim said...

Anonymous, it is the very HEIGHT of hypocrisy to create a blog post and feign to not understand how people could possibly be so ridiculous and petty as to judge people on their appearance and poor unstable Susan is not ready for this kind of exposure... when the entire blog post (and most of the entire web site itself) is about posting pictures of her and critiquing her look!"

Okay, this is the second time this has come up and we would like to see some backup on this point. Where and when did we ever make assumptions about someone's talent level or character based on how they look? When we critique how someone looks, it is solely restricted to their clothes, hair and makeup. It is also solely restricted to people who either have spent a lot of money on their look or (in the case of editorials like this one) have other people spend a lot of money on how they look.

Frankly, it surprises us that we even need to point that out.


Tim, judging what a celebrity or model (people who dress for a living) is wearing is not the same thing as questioning why people would infer a lack of talent from a lack of natural beauty. Coupled with the fact that TLo does not judge those celebrities' and models' by what they are wearing, or make any inferences whatsoever regarding their talent level or 'worth,' I don't see anything hypocritical at all. Perhaps you should invest in a dictionary as well as a music encyclopedia.


TLo - OMG you guys actually read this stuff? :)

My point was NOT that you judge someone's "talent level or character" based on looks and I am not the person who asserted that earlier. I don't believe you do that.

My points were that it was hypocritical to act so nonplussed about the whole Susan Boyle phenomenon (that people might actually make snap judgements about her based on her frumpy appearance and demeanor) in a blog post all about critiquing her appearance in a magazine spread. And secondly, to emphasize that you are uncomfortable with all the attention she gets and how it will affect her... while you contribute to that attention by writing a blog post about her!

Don't get me wrong - I like you guys and have been an ardent reader/supporter since the Jubilee Jumbles days (ahh Angela how we miss thee). But I just think the hypocrisy needs to be pointed out especially with so many people jumping on the backlash bandwagon.


Have we all become so shallow and so celebrity obsessed that actual talent from someone who doesn't look like she's been starved and/or airbrushed is shocking to us?

I think a certain segment of the populations is this shallow.


I think it might be useful to separate the initial reaction to Susan Boyle's first performance, and the later hyping.

I've not been all that interested in the latter, but I was one of those who was, yes, moved by her debut.

Why?

Well, it wasn't because she was the most amazing singer that ever lived. It was because she was a person who was being mocked and judged and dismissed as untalented before she ever opened her mouth to sing - and then she delivered an enormous slap in the face to those cruel, shallow people who were thinking so unkindly of her.

Yes, I know that this was probably set up and manipulated to produce that reaction. But in some ways, even so, what happened on that stage spoke to a great many people who've experienced similar things in their own lives - being doubted and dismissed for shallow, cruel reasons - and yet never had the opportunity to prove those doubters and critics so resoundingly wrong.

If it were just Susan Boyle singing on the stage in the video, it probably wouldn't have been as popular as it was.

It was the combination of the mockery, her performance, and the dumbfounded and chagrined expressions on the faces of the audiences and judges that made it so popular.

At least in my opinion, based on what I saw among my own group.


She looks beyond good here. I agree with Tim's posts completely. She's fine, from a small town in Scotland (I have relatives next town over) and not your average JLo narcissist, for example. You guys have no trouble waiving in an utterly mediocre case like that whose lip gloss and mink false lash bill alone would feed the populace of a town of any third world country. Susan is more normal. She's in Simon's world now and he seems to be cultivating her talent well. Wholeheartedly disagree with TLo's assessment of her talent. She's out of this world and has the goods. Not mediocre as stated. A lucky fluke? Certainly, well-deserved.


Whoa folks. Fashion blog, remember?

So let's dive into the delicious morsel of dressing a 'real woman' shall we? Can we do that? How often do real women show up in Harpers in fashion shoots?

To that end, the score is Shoji 2, Kors and Karan 0. Sorry. Love the Shoji dresses and how they translate on a less than perfect body. It demonstrates the power of excellent design. It moves me to thank Eve for consuming the apple in the Garden of Eden so that people get the chance to wear clothes like this.

Susan liked the Kors because she liked how Michele Obama looked in his dresses. Perhaps she needs to borrow one of Shelly's belts.

But even one of those iconic belts couldn't have saved that blousy, shiny Karan monstrocity. The sweater looked like something from a thrift store. The sequiny top looked too Liza Minelli.

And mark me as someone who was thrilled to see you post the shoot for the plain and simple fact that on the continuum of women's bodies, I scale closer to Ms. Boyle than Cate Blanchette.


Except for the DK twist blouse, which isn't bad but for the fact that she's got the strangest look on her face, I think that she looks wonderful.

I agree with what you are saying to a degree. There is a certain ridiculousness to the buildup around her on BGT, especially when it takes such a cynical approach to her ability. But she's got charisma, she's got talent, and she's gotten everyone's attention.

But where I differ from you is the expectation that "her fifteen minutes are almost up" and that the public will revel in the schadenfreude of her eventual downfall. I think, for many people, she came off as charming and real. In that sense, she is no Hollywood celebrity, and I think the public will give her every chance to succeed.

And I don't worry for her because I don't think that she wants to have this world-wide fame. All I think she wants is a little corner of the West End theatre district to call her own. If that ends up being her definition of success, she's almost there, and on the way, the public will continue to enjoy watching her perform.

So, I say, you look fabulous, Susan. Keep on working it.


"Tim said...

My point was NOT that you judge someone's "talent level or character" based on looks and I am not the person who asserted that earlier. I don't believe you do that.

My points were that it was hypocritical to act so nonplussed about the whole Susan Boyle phenomenon (that people might actually make snap judgements about her based on her frumpy appearance and demeanor) in a blog post all about critiquing her appearance in a magazine spread.

And secondly, to emphasize that you are uncomfortable with all the attention she gets and how it will affect her... while you contribute to that attention by writing a blog post about her!"

We're afraid we don't understand the comparison at all. In order for it to be hypocritical, we would have to be guilty of the thing we are accusing others of. We're critical of the idea that people were surprised about her talent based upon her appearance. In order for us to be hypocritical about this we would have to have done something along the same lines. We have NEVER done something along the same line. At least, not on this blog.

Secondly, we're puzzled by your characterization of this post. It's clearly NOT about critiquing her appearance. We devoted precisely 3 sentences to discussing the pictures, mostly to show our approval that she was treated respectfully. That was a deliberate choice.

And finally, while we are proud of the amount of hits this blog gets every day, there's a clear difference between this post and the literally millions of hits her youtube video got, not to mention the appearances on talk shows all over the world, as well as her being featured in magazine editorials like this one. Sure, we're devoting "attention" to her, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to the attention she's already received.


three thoughts:

SuBo will be a short-lived phenom, (hopefully for her own sake) but quite frankly I enjoyed watching her kick a little a-- while she could.

this spread is respectful of her as a person and honestly quite flattering. (finally came down on the Tom side of the blouse debate.)

some of this discussion about performance expectations, looks, and our appearance-obsessed culture has been just facinatingly insightful. cheers to the thoughtful commenters.


* fascinatingly, harrumph *


well-spoken Rana. and TLo, thanks for allowing and responding to comments even when things get a bit heated. :)


What makes me uncomfortable about Susan Boyle is that she is such an obvious product of the "industry."
From the moment she first stepped on stage and what we saw was an audience reacting like a bunch of bratty school children laughing at a classmate. And then the ****magic moment****, bla bla bla. It's all so PRODUCED.

However, I love the photographs, if only for the fact that they are of an average middle aged woman (like me)at her most fabulous best. Good for Susan Boyle!


Rana said:
"It was because she was a person who was being mocked and judged and dismissed as untalented before she ever opened her mouth to sing - and then she delivered an enormous slap in the face to those cruel, shallow people who were thinking so unkindly of her."

Exactly. And I think that's why, in a large part, people embraced her. It wasn't just because she wasn't conventially pretty and was talented; it was because she was those things and got back at people.

The people in the audience clearly didn't expect her to be any good. As others pointed out, that's partly because of the reality show format, although I suspect a large part of it was because she wasn't pretty. So they rolled their eyes at her initally, then gave her a standing ovation because they were surprised and didn't want others to know that they had judged her. I'm willing to bet that the ones who didn't have their inital reactions shown on tvs (the eye rolling, shaking heads, whatever) went home and told people that they knew all along that she would be great.

Then, by the time the video hit the internet and became so popular, people viewing it knew that she was good. So those people came in with the prejudgement that she was talented and those who doubted her were wrong and shallow. And because they knew that, the internet viewers were subconsciously superior to the audience viewers.

I think that if it was just her, singing on stage alone, and the video hit the internet, it wouldn't have been nearly as popular, because the crowd contributed to the rage. And if that video was somehow (although this isn't possible) kept so that people could only see it individually, with no knowledge of the outcome from any outside source, people would have expected her to fail and then been ashamed when she didn't, because it does point out the beauty/talent myth that's so common these days. Some might not have judged, but a lot would. I think that's why a lot of people get so defensive about her, one way or the other, is because they knew that they would have judged.

Why didn't the woman from AGT get as much exposure? She wasn't traditionally pretty, had a disorder, and could sing well, but the audience saw it coming. It had all ready happened once, and people don't need two examples that they're good.

But anyway, I like her. I like her voice, even if it's not the best (and let's be honest, the music industry is not all about the best talent), and I like her attitude.


I'm so glad I'm not the only one who thought that she was pretty good, but not amazing. She most definitely has some impressive talent, but she's certainly not the once-in-a-lifetime find that she was made out to be.

As far as the fashion is concerned, they really dressed her for her body. She looks great!


I like Susan. Agree with the point that she's not the absolute best, but love her getting her moment because I'm so SICK of people who can't sing getting HUGE fame based on nothing but image. Yes, you can pick and choose the pretty ones from the large talent pool, but many times they're chosen only for pretty. No bigger example I can think of than Madonna... The girl can't stay on key, has dumber lyrics than Raffi and she was (and still is) worshipped. Brittney. The Jonas Brothers (god, they're painful). We can all come up with a dozen more examples. Yet Ella freaking Fitzgerald would probably never be heard outside of a church choir if she were starting out today.

I hope that Susan finds a nice, quiet, rewarding career doing just what she wants.


I agree with a lot of what you guys said... She's talented, but not spectacular, but at the same time, she deserves a shot just like anyone else with her skill.

I think part of the reason why she achieved such "phenomenon" status is partially because she's so awkward, not just unattractive by celebrity standards.

Despite this awkwardness, though, she has a certain charm and sweetness, which I sincerely hope that she manages to keep, now that she's been thrust into the spotlight.

And, in almost all of her shots, I think she looks lovely and sophisticated and polished. Not a fan of the blue blouse, though.


I'm not sure what I think about the whole "phenomenon", so I'll just say:

I actually like the blouse! I think the blue is a great color for her and for some reason, the shape is oddly flattering on her. Maybe it's just the shot.


Good post, boys! :) First, let me say that she looks lovely in most of the outfits, except that billowy blue shirt. Becuase of all the hype surrounding her, when I first saw the YouTube clip of Susan Boyle, I was expecting to hear a really great singer. I think she's talented, but I don't think she's as talented as everyone has made her out to be. She's got a pretty voice, but there isn't really anything exceptional about it. What sold it is her intriguing backstory...


TLo's "job" on this blog, as I understand it, is to comment about fashion and whether it looks good or makes people look good, as well as to comment on the character and abilities of people who make or wear fashion. That requires a lot of discussion of what looks good and what doesn't, but it doesn't require any discussion which equates physical flaws with character flaws or lack of ability.


I sincerely hope that what she gains from this entirely ridiculous experience is perhaps to meet a nice man, fade into obscurity and live out a happy life.

She looks quite lovely in the spread and I hope this gives her the confidence that she so clearly lacks.


The blue Donna Karan is absolutely gorgeous, fits her beautifully, and the ring is really the icing on the cake.

I wish they had her smile more. She's gotta pretty smile and it makes all the difference.


All I have to say is that I'm happy for Susan Boyle to have been able to have her moment to shine.


I'll just admit straight off that I was moved when I saw the video. Maybe that makes me easily manipulated, I don't know. But she's definitely better than a "middle-of-the-road" talent. I'm far from an expert, but come on. It's been reiterated by many people since (here and elsewhere), and I think it's kind of absurd. There's a middle ground between "middle-of-the-road" and "once in a lifetime talent." To me it just feels like an easy way to discount her.


After what just happened to a friend of mine I will never look at these talent shows the same way. My friend has real talent but I knew this wasn't the right forum for their act. I was surprised when this person made it past every prelim to actually be on the show. Then I saw the show--I already knew that they had not made it to a second show but. . . I was not prepared for what they did to this person during the taping and post production. They were COMPLETELY set up for failure. It was horrible, and it was someone very young and they totally didn't see it coming. They were made fun of on the show, the music was turned down so they couldn't hear the key change----and so much, much, more. Totally manipulated and MEAN!!!!!

And regarding Susan Boyle--I have two close friends who have had good careers as opera singers here and in Europe. Both have very successful voice studios. They both think Susan Boyle has a gorgeous voice and isn't too old to realize her vocal potential through formal training. They think she has a top-notch raw voice.


I wish people wouldn't talk about what an unhappy childhood they had in interviews .
She looks good in the pictures though. I even like the blue blouse on her.


THANK YOU

Finally someone who assesses the situation for what it is and gives an insightful appraisal. I completely agree with everything. The saddest part is that the reactions are due to our shallow perception of celebrities yet the girl in the youtube video who made the "face" got death threats sent to her home. Hypocrisy much?


I think Rana said it best about the key reasons behind the sensation, but I'd like to add another, from my personal observation. There is a subset of women who feel, fairly or not, that they are marginalized and ignored-- the common word is "invisible"-- and I think that may have driven people to identify with Ms. Boyle and get a vicarious thrill from her triumph over the same people who would have also dismissed them.

(I'm basing this largely on the responses of my boyfriend's mother and aunt, and various coworkers, whose reaction to the video was less like people who are pleased with themselves for not being shallow than like fans of a sports team that pulled off a surprise win.)


Totally agree with you, TLo, about her talent and the reactions to her. A singer who was better put-together and the same voice would not have made it on the show, and neither SuBo nor a better put-together singer with the same voice would make it through a Les Miz audition.

I'm glad to see that they dressed her well in clothes that are flattering and stylish.


"Tim said...
Oh puh-lease! Like none of you were moved when you first saw that clip of her singing "I Dreamed a Dream"? Come on, hypocrites! Yes, the show/clip was shamefully manipulative (and I truly wanted to punch that guy behind the curtain). But it was also truly, genuinely moving. "

Now I'm going to be brutally blunt. NO, I was not moved in the slightest because I myself have a better voice and so do many of my friends. It's called Youth Theatre.


Mariah
8/6/09 3:32 PM "Tim said...
Oh puh-lease! Like none of you were moved when you first saw that clip of her singing "I Dreamed a Dream"? Come on, hypocrites! Yes, the show/clip was shamefully manipulative (and I truly wanted to punch that guy behind the curtain). But it was also truly, genuinely moving. "

Now I'm going to be brutally blunt. NO, I was not moved in the slightest because I myself have a better voice and so do many of my friends. It's called Youth Theatre.





That's just plain old jealousy.


What I really appreciated from the photo shoot is that she's not made up to look anything beyond what a woman of her body-type and age could/would realistically and stylishly wear without looking desperate or clueless.

Even with a moderate budget; didn't I read at the jezebel.com site that the T. dress was under $500?

So she didn't have to go all out Tilda on us... she just looks like she had a nice prepaid credit card, a good smart shopping friend, a lovely make-up counter staffer and went from frump to nicely-dressed suburban middle-management type.

After seeing all the grotesquely photoshopped 'art' fashion spreads recently on this blog, I find it refreshing to see this very real, very down-to-earth spread and how a few simple things (right make up, decent haircut) can quietly improve someone's look without clangingly changing it.

And, come on... that woman hasn't had Botox. Kudos just for that!


"Tlo said: Have we all become so shallow and so celebrity obsessed that actual talent from someone who doesn't look like she's been starved and/or airbrushed is shocking to us?"




Yes, the culture HAS become that shallow. Just turn on the TV: Performers are packaged based on looks, not actual talent. There has always been some degree of that, but it's just a lot worse because the media has exploded in such a way in the last 20 or so years, that they are chewing people up and spitting thhem out at a faster rate. They need new content to feed the 24 hour news cycles, so they create new celebrities.

But the other part of the reaction is because, of her behavior combined with her looks. She is developmentally disabled, and shows like these new fangled talent shows (which are more about obnoxious judges & excitable audiences than they are about actual talent), make mocking disabled or marginal people their stock and trade. That's why I don't watch them anymore.

But with Susan Boyle, while she's not a once in a lifetime talent, it was satisfying to see her wipe the smirks off the judges faces and silence the lauging audience. Anyone who has ever felt misjudged likely found something relatable in that and made her talent seem bigger than it is. Her performance was packaged in the same way they now package Olympic coverage: Turning every life story into a mini soap opera, with every athlete having obstacles to overcome.

Yes, it's manipulated. It's corporate media and no corporate media is more manipulated than Fox.

--GothamTomato


BTW, at the base of it all, it is satisfying to see someone get to have their dreams come true. And those pictures look great

--GothamTomato


Mariah, are you and your young friends trained to sing or trained to imitate Mariah Carey? I'm cynical about a lot of what seems to pass for voice training these days. Vocal tricks substituting for actual emotion are way too common to my ears. Not to mention the negative influence of overproduced voices like Britney Spears'.

On that note, I quibble with claiming Boyle is untrained. She isn't up to full professional standards, but she clearly has had some brush with the concepts of breath control, tone, and placement.


She looks absolutely lovely in the entire shoot (yes, even in the Donna Karan top).
While I agree with TLo's comments for the most part, I also think that the world was ready for a Cinderella story. We wanted to believe they just picked up this plain, dumpy woman and were totally aghast that she had such a beautiful voice.
Producer manipulation or not, I certainly wish Ms. Boyle the very, very best.


too many cats

The dream I dreamed early on in her emergence was that Sir A. Lloyd Webber would hear the voice and be inspired to write for it, much as he did for his first wife, or was she his second? Nonetheless, knock the hype off, and there's still something there and it could lead to a broadening of musical theater.


Here's my undoubtedly unpopular viewpoint: I relish the schadenfreude of watching the gormless un-self-aware masses make fools of themselves for my amusement. I'm not proud of it, but there it is.

In the context of these reality shows, one expects a middle-aged frump to sound awful - this isn't a judgment about looks+talent, it's just the format.

It's easy to forget all of the beautiful people who audition with nasty mangled vocal chords: again with the schadenfreude.

I've never bought any of the overproduced "music" that comes out of these shows (or downloaded it illegally, for that matter), and until I hear something I like I doubt I ever will.

I think the deeper question here is why were some people moved when they heard her sing?


(By the by, I'm of the opinion that Mariah Carey can sing but most of her imitators cannot.)


Ok, I gave up on following the prolonged back-and-forth about the hot-button issues brought up in the comments, so let me just say that I COVET the Donna Karan shirt. Not sure about it on Susan, but it would look fabulous on me. :)


I was under the impression that her appeal was that she was laughed at and jeered at by the audience but then proved them wrong?


While many people think she's "amazing", I think the larger part of us celebrate her mediocrity. She makes us feel alright that we don't look like supermodels and can't sing well enough to land a record deal.

But really, I agree with your post.


I agree to a point. What I take issue with -

Susan Boyle has already come through the negative side of fame, and she seems to have come through stronger and better.

I think you could make an argument that no "average" person has become globally famous overnight, with hundreds of paps on her doorstep, over 100 interviews in weeks, as Susan Boyle did. You could also make a case that no "average" person has had to endure the massive cruelty heaped on her by the horrid British tabloids, who set about seemingly to destroy her.

The videos of them taunting her are sad.

But she made it through this. I'd say she didn't have a "breakdown" since a breakdown requires serious recovery. What she had was a 4 day stay in a psychiatric hospital, following which she went on tour.

I do agree that her appearance generated odd and uncomfortable responses - and a good deal of overcompensation. But, for me, I was attracted not only to her voice, but to her personality. She seems sweet and genuine and very, very funny. She talked back to Simon and joked with everyone - there was a confidence (put on, I'm sure) and zaniness that was a joy to watch. In the videos of the Harper's Bazaar shoot, that's obviously still there.

Susan Boyle is a unique package - a very good singer with an ability to emote while singing and a personality that makes people like her and root for her.

She's committed to a singing career, so why not go for it all the way?


you guys are so pretentious and shallow these days!

i liked this blog better when it was raw and fresh and not in the pockets of various networks and the two of you werent seduced by your own good press.

i really cant stand anything but project runway sstuff on here these days and that is purely for screenshots.

i disagree with most of your fashion opinions as well.


So, we're to believe then that a group of people in an auditorium, who are there specifically to see average people try out for a reality show talent competition is automatically going to jeer and make fun of anybody that isn't a supermodel because they "must be untalented"? Le doubtful, folks. That SuBo clip is so edited and manipulated. I highly doubt those initial reactions were as extensive as they made it look, and completely unrelated to any prompting from producers. Ever attended a live taping of, well, anything? They have signs that tell you to laugh, clap, be quiet, etc. This wasn't even the first season of BGT. The audience expected everyone to be attractive? Please. No. Sorry.


Cupcake Reacharound

"And to take this into even more controversial territory, why are people treating her talent as some sort of once-in-a-generation event?"

I've been hearing and reading this a lot, and it ruffles my feathers a bit. I don't recall anyone saying she was the world's best singer. She is, however, better than the melisma-abusing college girls that get praised to the skies on these shows. And I don't recall anyone saying that Rhianna, Britney, Madonna, or J-Lo don't have the right to a career, a magazine spread, or even a moment in the sun because they're not the best singers in the world. Why does she have to be "a once-in-a-generation event" to deserve these things? Because only by being a once-in-a-generation event can she compensate for inflicting her hideous self on us? I love you guys and I've been reading forever, but it seems like your two points contradict each other a bit.

For the record, I think she's a cute lady and I thought the styling was perfect here. She looks glam while still looking like herself.


I find it hilarious when everybody talks about how "emotionally" she sang I Dreamed a Dream, because I thought it was sung rather straight, without any emotion at all. Listen to anybody singing that song on cast recordings and the emotion they put it into. Susan, while she does have pleasant voice, got up and sang it like it was a song about cheese. If you thought it was emotional, I imagine that is because of the set-up and not anything she is doing with the actual song (which, incidentally, was probably not a coincidental choice, either).


I think Rana said it best about the key reasons behind the sensation, but I'd like to add another, from my personal observation. There is a subset of women who feel, fairly or not, that they are marginalized and ignored-- the common word is "invisible"-- and I think that may have driven people to identify with Ms. Boyle and get a vicarious thrill from her triumph over the same people who would have also dismissed them.
Yes, that's how I felt when I saw it. As a fellow frump, fight it though I do by reading fashion blogs, I saw a lot in Susan Boyle that I recognized in myself -- the woman who finds herself at middle age, having surrendered her life to the needs of others, reaching for her own dream at last. That was what moved me the most.


It may be 100% manipulated but when I saw her famous debut I was as gobsmacked as the next person - the next person being my sister who went weepy. I don't know, I just hope the best for her. I hope like crazy that she has enough immunity to not get sick on fame.

She looks really good in this layout. I like the Kors dress on her a lot. It is really interesting to see the fashion translated onto her figure.


" Cupcake Reacharound said...

"And to take this into even more controversial territory, why are people treating her talent as some sort of once-in-a-generation event?"

I've been hearing and reading this a lot, and it ruffles my feathers a bit. I don't recall anyone saying she was the world's best singer. She is, however, better than the melisma-abusing college girls that get praised to the skies on these shows. And I don't recall anyone saying that Rhianna, Britney, Madonna, or J-Lo don't have the right to a career, a magazine spread, or even a moment in the sun because they're not the best singers in the world. Why does she have to be "a once-in-a-generation event" to deserve these things? Because only by being a once-in-a-generation event can she compensate for inflicting her hideous self on us? I love you guys and I've been reading forever, but it seems like your two points contradict each other a bit. "

There is nothing in our post about her "right" to have a career or a magazine spread except this:

"we think she's talented and we think she deserves a chance to have her dreams realized."

And there is NOTHING REMOTELY in our post that could be construed as classifying her as "hideous."

We'll say it again: disagree with our points all you want, but make sure they're actual points that we've made and not misreadings on your part.


I'm going to quickly point out that just because a person signs their name as "Mariah" doesn't mean they attribute themselves to Mariah Carey. There are others named "Mariah," you know, it's not as if Mariah Carey created the name herself.

That said, I enjoyed the BGT clip solely because she pulled a fast one over everyone there, and they deserved to be humbled for how they treated her. HOWEVER, I understand that was probably less her doing and more of the show's manipulation, which is gross in itself and puts a damper on what she accomplished.

I'm glad she's getting her chance, but I agree that there are better out there, I know of better singers, and that the only reason she's getting her 15 minutes of fame is because someone out there decided to market her a pity party.

But on the positive side, she is getting her chance.


Can you imagine what would
happen if Edith Piaf appeared
as an unknown on this sort of show?
Tiny little woman, drab, no style,
all pure heart and talent.
It's not just the voice with Susan,
it was the heart behind it - that is what is so rare now. Any heart - any soul - any kind of reaching out to an audience so they can feel and be moved. Madonna with all her pointy brests and corsets
will never move an audience as much as Susan will. That's her gift. It's incredibly courageous to put your heart out like that. It's also what makes her so
very fragile - like Piaf - like
Judy - all these ladies so enormously gifted and so self destructive. Let's hope Susan has the support she needs to survive.

And thanks TLo. i worry sometimes
that all the misreading people do
with you blog will someday make you throw your hands up in the air and say ENOUGH. There are people here who apprecitate what you do.


(Insert Country Here)'s Got Talent is just another entertainment hour, and this was a classic-formula story to get everyone buzzing about the show. I feel sorry for this poor woman but at least she got a nice makeover out of it.


I'm sorry, but she is more than "middle-of-the-road" talent.

Yes, her voice is untrained and yes, the BBC manipulated her for the response, but this woman can SING and I for one, will proudly buy any CD or go see her in a show.

PS: The Donna Karan looks stupid & ill-fitting on her.


Rana said it quite well.
As I posted earlier, I've only seen the first video/performance - and I do think her voice (and song choice) was moving.

People should try listening to music BEFORE or without seeing the singer. I had a tv band radio that I would occassionally listen to AI on while not by a tv. Really gave a different perspective - and the ability to judge the voice without judging the appearance (or facial contortions.)

I feel like a "women's libber" here - but .... how often does a woman (entertainer) get far judged far more harshly based on appearance. Look at many male singers vs female singers. Rick Ocasek (sp) comes to mind - or all of the Rolling Stones (those are some scary looking dudes), etc. And then compare to what % of their female counters are so unattractive or dirty, etc

I wish Susan the best and I do hope to hear more - singing - from her.


Gee whiz. I just looked at this as a simple fashion spread and nothing more.

Contest shows are manipulative? This blog is named after a manipulative contest show. Come on. Folks get tossed into a dorm, no TV, music or books to pass the time. For 15 hours they sew and attempt to make clothing out of garbage, vegetables, candy wrappers.

Manipulation is everywhere, not just the entertainment industry. Hell, a Congressman can't even have a town hall meeting without being disrupted by corporate sponsored hecklers.

I'm just longing for the day, in the not-so-distant future, when some PR contestant comes up before Michael Kors in some "real woman" challenge and says, "Oh yeah? I saw that purple monstrocity that made Susan Boyle look fat in Harpers and my dress is 10 times better than that!"

But, alas, it will likely be edited out. Sigh.


Hi TLo,

This is the Grace who accused you of judging people's talent and character based on their looks.

I'll back that up with a PR post about Kit Pistol. You guys said something like, "We took one look at her Baby Jane drag and assumed she'd be a bitch, and an untalented one."

So, you guys do make judgment calls about people based on their looks. You guys admitted that you were wrong about Kit, but you admitted that you did make that judgment call about her. But we all do that to some degree. I think it's hilarious for people to claim that they don't do what the audience at SuBo's audition did (or were edited to do). We all do it to some degree. Some more, some less.

However, I love TLo. Yes, you judge people's fashion and style. That's why I read this blog. I just think that this post came across a wee bit holier than thou.


" Grace said...

Hi TLo,

This is the Grace who accused you of judging people's talent and character based on their looks.

I'll back that up with a PR post about Kit Pistol. You guys said something like, "We took one look at her Baby Jane drag and assumed she'd be a bitch, and an untalented one."

So, you guys do make judgment calls about people based on their looks."

Oh, come ON. This is so easy to refute that we can't even believe you posted it. That wasn't based on her LOOKS; it was based on HOW SHE WAS DRESSED.


I started thinking about this, and thought, middle-aged frump that I am, that I'd like to comment on the clothes from the perspective of the frump who wishes she were fashionable. (Does anyone else remember the novel about the charwoman who longs for a Dior gown?) Like Susan Boyle, I carry my weight in the middle, which is a frustrating body type for finding elegant clothes.
The lighting and posture is difficult for me to tell what the gown does for her waist, but the dress does look lovely and it does seem to balance her figure.
I really like the Kors dress, and I'd wear it (and it would probably make me look wide, but I wouldn't care) because I would feel comfortable and classy.
I love the color on the Karan blouse, but I hate everything else about it. It's too loose and belts do our non-existent waists no favors.
I like the trench with the top and skirt. I could definitely wear that and feel like I was professional for a work day when I had to dress to impress.
I don't like the last Shoji dress. It would make me look even shorter and dumpier than I already am. To me it looks like a concert soloist's dress.


I think, as demonstrated by the makeover, she's not unattractive...she just didn't know how to style her hair, didn't bother with makeup, and chose plain clothing. She blended in with the masses. Was the fact that she wasn't some 21-year-old blonde bombshell really the point? No. It was that she was a very unassuming woman who'd spent her life not seeking the spotlight and she finally got her 15 minutes.

As you noted, TLo, the upside of fame comes with a downside. And for that, I don't believe she's hardwired to handle. Somewhere along the way, I hope she finds a dear friend who'll help her navigate those waters.


I think the cruelest things was telling her she'd have a career and even stardom, based on a single one-minute-long performance.

The cool thing? That she AND the clothes look marvelous in this shoot. Apparently, you don't have to be an ultra-tall, super-skinny teenager to put clothes across.


Damn. When DON'T I agree with you guys?

Well said.


Can, opened. Worms, out. Two days in a row...


Appreciate. The word was appreciate.
Not that it matter to anyone but me. Red face, can't edit.


I love this blog, but yall need to get over yourselves. Acting like you guys are the first brave pioneers of susan boyle hating is incredibly annoying. Anytime something/someone becomes big, people must always somehow find some way to insult it. It's "calculated/manipulated" sure. It's also extremely fun and to some people, inspiring. It IS shocking when you see a woman who isn't stik thin and fitting the mold, sing like that. You really can't deny it. And I really do like you guys, I just respectfully disagree


" Anonymous said...

I love this blog, but yall need to get over yourselves. Acting like you guys are the first brave pioneers of susan boyle hating is incredibly annoying. Anytime something/someone becomes big, people must always somehow find some way to insult it. It's "calculated/manipulated" sure. It's also extremely fun and to some people, inspiring. It IS shocking when you see a woman who isn't stik thin and fitting the mold, sing like that. You really can't deny it. And I really do like you guys, I just respectfully disagree"

Anyone who reads "hate" in this post has shitty reading skills. And anyone who thinks it's shocking that a woman who isn't thin can sing should be embarrassed to admit it.


She looks fantastic in the Donna Karan sequin-T shot(!)-- cupped within those hands is a beautiful face.

The prejudice against Susan Boyle-- prior to her rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream"-- had more to do with her age than her appearance (frumpy appearance is only incidental to middle age).

I think people were moved by the triumph of an over-the-hill "loser", not the triumph of an ugly duckling.


@Anon 10:22 - Were you reading the same post I did? I thought this was straightforward and respectful. TLo were honest, but not the least hateful or rude or negative; nor were they, if I may address others, hypocritical. They discuss the reality of fashion and photo shoots and clothes and reality TV and all those who participate in those activities on this blog. Sometime they're catty, sure - it's one of the reasons I love them. But I saw none of that here, just their opinions, expressed politely.


I saw a You Tube of Ms. Boyle singing on a karyoke night in Blackburn next door to Motherwell where my mother's family came from (near Glasgow). She was about 22. She was as slim as a whip, little waist, looked like a very cute young lady (in a belted A-line print dress) could not sing a lick (even I have a better voice) but had the seed of the same style she showed singing "Dream", very deliberate and phrased. I see more of a jazz singer in her. What on earth did people think of Billie Holliday at first? Very wierd style that grows on you. That may be Susan. Billie also improved drastically with age, despite her tragic and early self-immolation.

I am for the home girl and was not, am not, and will not become, uncomfortable by her normalcy and grab for the brass ring. So you forgot the Beatles? Nobodies from nowhere with B A L L S x 4 plus all of John's genius and extreme neuroses. You think Sue is bad? John was worse. Give her a break, and me too, while you are at it.

You are all to prissie for me, majorly, Sorry TLo. Is there a Jay in the house?

So Susan looks a bit like a shorter Julia Child. The sly Scottish wit and manner and that nose of hers (pure Scottish)


Sorry about the dangling paragraph that was supposed to go in above the end. Point was - Susan is not a Brit nor Welsh, she is very, very Scottish and they are the very definition of salt of the earth and S L Y. Think James Bond and the actor who was born to play him, Scot Sean Connery. Sue may have needed age to be on her side. How refreshing! More!


"BarbH said...
I am for the home girl and was not, am not, and will not become, uncomfortable by her normalcy and grab for the brass ring. So you forgot the Beatles? Nobodies from nowhere with B A L L S x 4 plus all of John's genius and extreme neuroses. You think Sue is bad? John was worse. Give her a break, and me too, while you are at it."

Can someone translate this?


Thank you for that, boys. Ditto. Enough said.


Thankyou thankyou thankyou!
As an aspiring opera-singer-in-training, I'm glad to find someone who isn't blown over by her. Yes, she is talented. Yes, she could possibly have potential. But it's saddened me deeply that she has got so much attention, praise and exposure over an alright performance when this industry is so cut throat and there are many many much more talented singers out there who will never be 'discovered'. As you said, if she was younger, or more good looking but had the same voice, there would be less hoo haa over the whole thing.


Bravo, TLo, bravo - my thoughts exactly! Very well said (and much better than I have been able to say it myself).


I think people can relate to her more than most stars, etc. "If she can make it, looking like that, maybe I can accomplish more than I think".
She gives all us plain, middle aged, zaftig women hope.


First off I think these pics of her are lovely.

Like many I see the PR/Marketing side of these "shows" disturbing (said while watching SYTYCD, LOL).

I hope Susan can define what happiness means for herself. Because at the end of the day, she is the only one looking out for herself, taking care of herself, accountable to herself. If that means stepping back from the spotlight to the village, so be it. If that means recording an album, so be it.

But only Susan can determine what is good for Susan-- and that is one of the hardest determinations for anyone to make.

I wish her luck.


My tears bursted out when I saw her first audition clip. The reason I cried was not because I was touched by her voice (she did sing quite well, don't get me wrong), but becuase I was so angry that people assumed she can't sing based on her look!


I'm an American living in England, what they aren't really telling people outside the UK is that the reason she didn't mix well with others when she was young and why they assumed she couldn't sing AND why she had a breakdown is because she is a bit mentally deficient. She is slightly mentally handicapped. I hate Simon Cowell, but there was some basis to him thinking she would tank.


Blame it on MTV and technology. MTV was influential in selling music through the visual medium of TV so looks became an integral part of the package vs radio or concert halls. You can see he influence of TV on operas as well now that lots of operas are televised. The new stars look better and sound worse than those of a generation or two ago.

Blame technology that can make any whisper boom across concert halls and manipulated beyond recognition. How often do we get concerts with just one person on stage holding an acoustic guitar? How often do you get to see a concert that is not lip sung?

As for Susan Boyle - I am glad the photo shoot is respectful but I am also kinda sad that they didn't work WITH her quirkiness and her individuality and just made her another average woman who fits the average style. Their heart is in the right place, they are trying to show us that she is NOT different, that we shouldn’t judge people by their appearance because they can all clean up and look presentable. But I am frankly sick of presentable. That’s why I loved those photos of real people’s style.

The people who leave an impression are those with individualistic talent and style. Elvis, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Lady Gaga, Amy Winehouse – they took chances and went overboard and left and continue to leave an impression. I don’t like the safe photo shoots where we all end up saying, yeah it’s lovely. I like the ones where we say WTF? And then love or hate but either way feel something.

I wish they let Susan Doyle go wild and pick her own outfits and THEN worked with those. Rock the Susan Doyle style and leave the hausfrau after a day at the spa look.

Michelle


Anonymous
8/6/09 11:46 PM "BarbH said...
I am for the home girl and was not, am not, and will not become, uncomfortable by her normalcy and grab for the brass ring. So you forgot the Beatles? Nobodies from nowhere with B A L L S x 4 plus all of John's genius and extreme neuroses. You think Sue is bad? John was worse. Give her a break, and me too, while you are at it."

Can someone translate this?


Simple: wonk-wonk-wah-wonk-wonk-wah
(In a Charlie Brown Teacher's voice)


No, not jealousy. I have never tried out for American Idol nor would ever want to. I am offended by Tim's insinuation that all of us who say we are not blown away by her are lying. I do not like being called a liar. The example of "me and my friends" is meant to demonstrate that you can find plenty of people walking down the street at any given time that can sing "better" than her. And please, don't insult my experience by assuming that I use "vocal tricks" which I despise and lumping me in with the likes of Britney Spears.


Add me to the list of people saying "amen". I've been disturbed by the reaction to her since day 1. It's all so patronizing.


I haven’t read through all of the comments yet – so my thoughts might be old news.

Aside from the very condescending “underdog” thing they promote, I could see someone who listens to nothing but current pop thinking that Susan’s voice is amazing.

It’s not – it’s just nice – but to someone who mostly listens to Brittney Spears? Or Miley Cyrus? Fergie? Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, the new folkie chicks…none of them are truly voices. Next to them, Ms. Boyle is freakin’ Joan Sutherland.

Aside from some R&B singers, the only place you’re going to hear a real singer is in the Easy Listening section (lordy I hate that tag), musical theater, jazz, cabaret or opera.

Maybe some people who loved Ms. Boyle will be inspired to go pick up some Rene Fleming or Barbara Cook (excellent choices, btw), or some of my faves like Diane Schuur or Sally Mayes.


For me, this is one of Vogue's all-time best fashion shoots. I haven't seen anything that penetrated so gently but clearly into the inner woman since Vogue's spread on Princess Di.

My impression was that Susan Boyle's desire to avoid becoming something she's not clearly frustrated the press and public, who are used to seeing ordinary people instantly get made over into slick, glam, shiny media objects when they are "discovered." Even when she tried to dress up within her limited budget, she got picked on mercilessly. The paparazzi needed fabulous shots of "the next big star" and she would not allow herself to get sucked into their manipulative whoring.

What I love about this spread is that Vogue found Susan's inner beauty while respecting her modesty. They didn't try to re-cast her into an image that was "created" for the shoot, but instead when to great lengths to select clothing that was respectfully simple yet elegant and wouldn't overwhelm her. Susan glows in these beautifully understated clothes and looks relaxed, happy, confident, and feminine.

Vogue even found Susan's sexiest feature -- those beautifully creamy shoulders. The impish twinkle in Susan's eyes lets us know that she's delightedly surprised she could be so beautiful on her own terms.

This is a truly outstanding job!


Gotta disagree a little bit with you. Not only is she THAT good, she's great. What she lacks in training, she makes up for with a certain amount of honesty, purity and lack of embellishment that is missing from, many of the women that you speak about who are toiling on the fringes of the entertainment industry. Having worked for many years in the entertainment industry, I firmly believe that you either have "it" or you don't. You can train someone to use what they have but you can't create talent where none exist. Aside from all the hoopla about her looks and youtube etc..., Susan Boyle has it in spades. Talent like hers does not come along every day and is not as common as you suggest. I only hope someone comes along with the foresight, sensitivity and patience to steer her career in the right direction.


"And we think the whole phenomenon speaks badly about both the public and the entertainment industry."

Well, yes, but in the inexorable march towards fifteen minutes for everyone, her case isn't nearly as troubling as, say, any of the Real Housewives. Or Paris Hilton.

I don't know about middle-of-the-road talent. Vocally, perhaps, but the number of people with a lovely and untrained voice who could stand up and perform so well in that setting is much smaller than the number of people with lovely, trained voices.

I don't think anyone's compared her to Maria Callas or Renee Fleming. To say that she's neither of those people is too obvious to be meaningful: she's not an opera singer.

I worried about her a little after her initial troubles, but she seems to have gotten some help with them. I reckon that six months from now, she'll be back home, with some money and a lot of good memories, and it'll just be a nice story. Either that, or she'll be on one of those reality shows where they put a bunch of has beens in a house and humiliate them. That would be troubling.


And, if I'd had my coffee BEFORE posting, I would have correctly referred to Harper's Bazaar, not Vogue, as the magazine that did this wonderful spread!

Harper' did an absolutely outstanding job. I think that's getting lost in the sauce amidst all these comments today.


I know that all said is just for fun but who here is a professional musician? Or singer? Who has the right to make fun of her? I understand TLo's take onfashion and TV but this woman is mentally disabled despite the press and celebrity that has ensued. Her life story and her ability to sing is something positive, not something to blast. I know this sounds harsh but I was not happy to read all of this. Sorry


"Anonymous said...

Who has the right to make fun of her?"

Who has made fun of her?


I like the clothing and the photo's, she looks lovely. I too was a bit moved by the original clip, but more because she proved them wrong than because of her voice(..I don't actually really like the song or think her voice is all that amazing). I thought she was charming and quite funny when she got on the stage, then got irritated when everyone laughed at her and it was a bit of a 'good for you!' feeling when she began to sing and everyone loved it. Of course it's edited, but the way it's shown, it's a bit of a Cinderella story and that's nice to watch. I would be as moved if it were fictional.

Anyway, I sincerely hope she will find what makes her happy and that the fame and harshness of the entertainment industry doesn't destroy her. Even though I'm sure there are more talented people out there, it's nice to see anyone get a shot at their dream and I hope the best for her.


I'm with Lorenzo on the DK blouse. The other outfits were all much better on her.
I think the photos of her are really great. I'm really happy for her that she got to do this.

As far as her talent goes, I'm still very impressed with her and I think her talent is well above middle-of-the-road. But I know a lot of people who feel the same way you do.

I do share your concerns about whether or not she's equipped to handle it all, though. It's such a brutal industry and she does seem a bit naive about the whole thing.


This comment has been removed by the author.

Uh, I teared up because of the song she chose. MY GOD, who wouldn't?! Afterwards, I replayed my Les Miserable 10th Anniverary DVD and bawled my eyes out.

Bob Scrivens said it best. Opportunities appear at strange times & circumstances. You're left to figure the rest out.

Good luck to Susan Boyle. She looked wonderful.


Very insightful. I agree and I feel a bit "uncomfortable" myself that more people have not analyzed this.


Until your post, I'd actually not bothered listening to the Susan Boyle clip. I'm a trained singer and I've heard a lot of auditions. I kind of assumed that Boyle's voice was overrated just because of the incongruity.

Having seen the clip now, I have to say that I do think she's got a real voice (belt, not legit) with a nice timbre. Middle-of-the-road? Frankly, it all depends on how she uses it. Her voice is definitely good enough to do what she wants--how interesting she is as a singer is another question.

Lots of great singers did not have "great" voices--Maria Callas' tone was what we call "covered". She also carried too much weight up. Babs is too nasal. Garland's was thin in spots.

Even someone like Joan Sutherland--great voice, great range--had lousy diction.

And there are some beautiful voices that will put you to sleep.

Keep in mind that Boyle's was able to perform that song without years of coaching, training and experience. That kind of poise coming out of nowhere *is* rare.

Does she have the grit (and time) to catch up to far more experienced and tougher performers? That's a big question. I hope she's handled well--the gentle Bazaar spread is okay, I think. It would be nice if she could have kind of club-sized career.


Great post, guys. I understand your reluctance to cover her; I haven't mentioned her on Fabulon for the same reasons. She does have a lovely voice, but the whole "phenomenon" is just more than I care to deal with. Really, it's all karma, destiny, fate, whatever one wishes to call it; hers and society's.

Still and all, another reason to view the mainstream media with a jaundiced eye.


Well said, I just have a little bit to add...

First off, anyone who didn't see her being "amazing" a mile a way the minute they started making fun of her before the singing.. well, might be a little thick. It was not unexpected, especially given the gentleman who won the first season of BGT- it was essentially the same thing.

The thing is.. I'm uncomfortable with Susan Boyle for the same reasons you are, but I ALSO think that at least part of what has people so enchanted with her is that she, well, found the courage to do that. She had been rejected before, she'd been made fun of, and she still showed up for the audition. She still put herself out there, even though she likely knew she was going to be made fun of, and she did pretty good.

I think on some level we all have something like that we're not doing and wish we could.


Also, she looks fabulous, which pleases me.


Grace said...

I love Susan Boyle. Yes, she makes us uncomfortable. And that's why we love her. All of us make judgment calls about people based on looks and Susan made us realize the error of our ways.

TLo, normally I love you guys. But you come across as holier than thou about judging people based on appearances. HELLO!!!! You guys do that all the time, with every single post. You do make insinuations about people's character and talent based on their looks. Yes, you do.


In fact I think that TLo are very careful about NOT judging someone's character based on their looks. And they're hundreds of times more honest about it than most people who are devoted Susan Boyle fans.

I don't dislike her. I just think she's "okay"


I think the looks thing was hyped too much. People now believe this is what makes her a tear-jerker. It is not. It is part of it, because her looks were the trappings of lets call it a little life. One like most of us have one. When we are 16 we dream of things we could accomplish, fame, fortune, making our mark and at over 30 to 40 most of us find out, the world didn't wait for us. We live our lives, like everybody else, not unhappy, but not really interesting.
But sometimes we still dream of our hidden talent, of making our mark, of the world suddenly taking note of us. If we just would have the courage ...
And that is the special appeal of Susan Boyle. She has lived a "normal" life, she is no child prodigy, no genius, not glamorous. She has lived her live in some small town in Scotland, done her job, cared for her mother, did all these things everybody does, which is called living.
And one day she takes the courage to try to make her dream true. Most of us don't dare to do this. Stand in front of so many people and declare I have a dream. And this is the magic of Susan Boyle. There is this woman, who at an older age, when people should be content with their live, adult and functioning, declares I have a dream. And it fits, the song she sings, the way she presents herself and the real talent. We want to be her. We all suspect we look on TV like her, slightly batty, not glamorous and still to have her courage and her talent and the nerve to go out there and make people take her seriously, that is what Susan Boyle is about.
Unlike Lucy Jordan in that song about the dream of driving through Paris, Susan didn't kill herself, when she feared her dream might not become true, she made it happen. And she tells us, so can you. Even if you are not sixteen anymore and just a normal person (meaning not really different from most people), you can make your dreams come true. Just take heart and do it.


Anon 11:58 asks "I know that all said is just for fun but who here is a professional musician? Or singer? Who has the right to make fun of her?"

I am a classically trained, formerly professional singer (well, I still dust off the old chords now and again).

I don't know if you were referring to anything I typed, but I would like to stress that I did NOT make fun of her. I stated that her voice is nice, but not amazing. She entered a televised talent contest - that invites critique.

In fact, in my post, I hoped that some people who have not been exposed to great voices might be inspired by Susan to check out other types of music.

(Oh - since I didn't mention it before, I also wanted to agree that she looks lovely in these photos, and this confirms my belief that the most important grooming you need to do is your eyebrows. Eyebrows always make a HUGE impact.)


Amen. You've finally articulated what has been going on in the back of my mind and I haven't been able to piece together. These pics make me uncomfortable because she looks so unhappy and awkward, like a fish out of water.


Boys, you have articulated your thoughts - and mine - quite perfectly. I thought the same way about Paul Potts - although he never got a fashion spread in Harper's Bazaar...
I do think, she looks very lovely in every shot - yes, the blouse too, the dress items are well chosen and I'm happy for her to get that chance. She's certainly talented and liked by the auditory and I've always been a firm believer in living your dreams and not caring whether people think you crazy or not. So I think, she should go for it and make the most of this chance.
On the other hand, I'm a young opera singer myself and as such am not only used to the likes of Damrau, Freni, Pavarotti and Garanca and all the old school heroes of our trade, but I know the trends, and those make the future prospects quite harsh for an untrained and slightly frumpy elderly lady, who, though talented and charismatic, just doesn't cut above the enormous crowd of young, pretty, okay-talented and -sorry! - willing girls waiting for their chance to showcase their talent and "talents". You are right to say her talent's middle-of-the-road, but I hope she'll get good training and make the best of something that makes her happy. I just hope, she doesn't get eaten alive and spit out by the PR.


That blue blouse looks tragic on her.


Yay! A size 14 little brown bird made it to Harper's. Stupendous.

And the VERY BEST THING about her performance? Watching disbelief change to amazement on the judges' faces.

She was talented enough to deserve THAT, I think.


AMEN. While she seems like a lovely, albeit awkward, woman with a nice voice, she is not as amazing as people proclaim her to be. Her "surprising" popularity speaks volumes about the vapidness of the American public- simply because they consider someone unattractive or homely, they are amazed when said person has a talent at something. It's rather shameful, actually.


I would not worry about Susan's future. She will make some CDs and a few appearances and comfortably fade into the background. She has no controversary and drama to drive a career as some others do who may or may not sing as well but certainly bring the drama with sex, drugs, and scandals. And that is as it should be and what is probably best for her. I wish her well, and by that I mean a modestly successful career and not the over-the-top Hollywood star treatment that usually leads to destruction.


Someone above made a comment and then said "not implying Susan is retarded". Well, you see, there's the rub because she is, well, something on that spectrum. The official wording is that she was deprived of oxygen at birth, and it is apparent to anyone with knowledge in the area that she is somewhat impaired mentally, although it is impossible for anyone to tell to what extent based on what appears in the media.

Whether ITV's producers, or anyone associated with the show was aware of that at the time she auditioned, they're not saying, but they are in problematic territory with this. They can't allow a child to audition without permission from a guardian, but nobody seems to have advocated with Susan as to whether doing the show would be the best thing for her. Producers have since said that they realised [possibly only at the moment it was announced she hadn't won] she was very ill-equipped to handle rejection, and they have now scrambled to provide her with some assistance and guidance, but in any case, this is a bloody mess, and ITV and their production company are clearly culpable in creating it.

She appears to be able to sing well (I'm really not a musical expert), but she is unlikely to have much of a career. She doesn't seem to be able to act, and given her choice of musical genre, that limits her options considerably. She doesn't appear to be able to handle performing (she's cancelled more appearances than she's done), and she may get one album of showtunes out and sold (I'll put a fiver on a Christmas album this year) and then it will be back to Pebbles in West Lothian. I can only hope she has the strength and resources to not be devastated by not having the glittering career she dreams of, but that doesn't seem likely.

Simon Cowell and co really fucked up with this one. There's a reason reality shows screen for mental stability, and they are culpable for not doing so with her. Quite frankly, if her family sues, I won't be surprised.


Casey said:
Her "surprising" popularity speaks volumes about the vapidness of the American public


Uh, Casey, you do realize the show she was on was a British show in front of a British audience, and their "surprising" responses are what skyrocketed her to fame?

Your comment does speak volumes about your prejudices, however.


100% correct! The same press that catapulted her to fame, will tear her to pieces in the end, and she doesn't have any life experiences that are needed to prepare her for the wolves at her door. It's an amazing transformation, it shows that anyone with an excellent team of assistants, stylists, etc can look incredible.


Spot on, spot on, spot on, TLo. It is shameful how so many of us were so darned shocked that this woman could sing well.


I know I'm a bit late to the conversation, but as a bit of an underdog and a bit of an ugly duckling, I love it when one of my "sisters" gets to shine.

I think she looks cute and happy and confident in those clothes ... and that is the point of fashion right? Not to make you into someone else, but to build your confidence and help you find the strength to be who you want to be, the person you feel you are inside?

So I say it's a positive on all counts


I don't know. Obviously hype can kill anything, and overreaction can rightly make us question whether we were manipulated by producers, guilted, etc. But I was moved by the Susan Boyle audition, not because she was the best singer I'd ever heard, and not because she was an ugly woman with talent, but because life had knocked her around and she seemed to have a need to sing that stupid song. The need, the emotions, got me. Think of little Christian bursting into tears when he won Season 4. He'd been a prick, a princess throughout, but even TLo shed a little tear.


Huh. I never thought of that. I saw the YouTube clip and thought, "Huh, that's neat." and never thought of it again. I had thought her 15 minutes were over and done with that clip.

I like her voice, I cheer her on, but I hadn't thought of why I was cheering her. I guess I'm as shallow as the rest.

I hope she doesn't break down too hard. I do think that there may be better voices out there, but she's the one who got the big break. I just hope it doesn't destroy her. I also wish people would tone it down a bit, so that she doesn't have so far to fall.


MeganKnight, if that's true, it's very sad. I certainly had no idea.


For me, I connected with the video not because she was unattractive but because she was untrained. She lived in this little village, she had never been trained. Yet she was able to go and impress the judges and the crowd. It is like discovering that your neighbor was a math genius or you dentist is a world class billard player. Somehow it makes me think that there is a chance that my dreams are still achievable, maybe it isn't too late. Plus I know that song, it is beautiful and so heart wrenching all on its own. And screw it, I sometimes need a little video that makes me FEEL like I could do something that would make people cheer.


Late to the party!

(My fave looks for her are the blue slouchy Donna Karan & the purple Michael Kors)

SuBo Phenom is a complicated thing, isn't it? I agree with everything you're saying here, except ...

I really think she's got a special voice. (She's no Elaine Paige, but then I can't stand Elaine Paige)

With the right kind of musical direction, the right venues, and good & smart & kind management, I think she could have a pro career and a nice life.

The recording of "Cry me a river" she did for charity 10+ years ago is top-notch.

The sharks are a worry, though, aren't they?


I just realized something.

I wonder why they chose all American designers?


I'm FREAKIN' estatic that Harper's has a real person modeling in their magazine!!!!

I prayed for her the night I saw the clip because she seems so fragile and exploitable...but I want this woman to succeed because she is not young, she is not skinny, she did not have connections, she only has her voice and a dream. It's about hope for the common folk.


OT, but... I thought the estate "Clivesden" sounded familiar.

Major scandalous actions of The Profumo Affair took place there. Fun!


i am a filipina but i love Susan Boyle and we dont have the right to judge people's talent physically or just with the looks. Susan Boyle is very much talented!





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