Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

I dreamed a dream: on the limitations of appearance

I'm sure that there are many readers of this site who are better dressed than Susan Boyle, better looking, with better figures and more lively romantic histories. And perhaps you too (I know I do) long to step in front of Simon Cowell and belt out a number that would cause his jaw to drop. But in my case that will never happen. It will not happen because however much I dream that dream, however much I spend on the right dress, however much botox I had, I can't sing, and Susan Boyle can.

I now read that Piers Morgan is now planning to take her on her first ever date. Can no gallant man offer himself, in Morgan's place? George Clooney, please step up.


Deja Pseu said...

Isn't she amazing? I really love her spirit too. I hope she has much success and that she doesn't let anyone pressure her to drastically change her appearance (unless that's what she truly wants).

StyleSpy said...

Just lovely. Watching that clip, the world is a nicer place for a few minutes. It's such fun to watch the genuine surprise & pleasure revealed on the judges' faces. Even Simon Cowell seems likable!

Lia said...

She is amazing. She may not be your run of the mill contestant, but I find it a bit disconcerting and somewhat condescending that the judges and people in the audience were amazed that big talent can come in different packages. When I saw the looks on the judges faces, I felt that it may very well have been staged and that they weren't really unaware. But, call me a cynic!

Linda Grant said...

I think that the judges see an awful lot of people who are completely deluded about their talents, and there was no reason not to think that this woman wasn't one of them, until she opened her mouth.

Duchesse said...

What talent! I predict spending on the right dress, a better haircut and cosmetic dentistry (a la Jennifer Hudson)- the usual fluffing for anyone performing. She has moxie, and I hope no amount of inevitable styling messes with that!

Toby Wollin said...

Sigh. While I would have loved to have had the pipes and the talent of Susan Boyle - I actually would rather have gotten a bit more of her determination and persistence. What a story. Never Give Up!

Anonymous said...

The "Cry Me A River" clip shows real range. I never thought she was "ugly" or "homely," although she's definitely not typical talent-show material. I, too, wondered if some of it wasn't staged. But then I've never watched more than a minute or two of "American Idol."

For once, "She sings like an angel" is not an overstatement.

phyllis said...

Yes she has amazing talent, but she also has a trained voice.

metscan said...

Oh, this was great. I too think that she has a trained voice. Thank you for sharing Linda.

miss cavendish said...

On the Today Show (via YouTube) she said that she had a little training. But still, but still. She was absolutely lovely and you can see how singing transports her.

It does give me pause, though, how interviewers are blatantly saying things to her such as: "People were laughing *at* you beforehand." How is Miss Boyle supposed to answer? Do the interviewers want and expect her to agree with them that her physical presence was not worthy of being taken seriously?

To me, no subsequent compliment on her singing could make up for asking her to agree with the initial skeptics.

Jennifer Murphy said...

She is a darling, and I'm just delighted for her. Though, like Miss Cavendish, I'm also shocked and saddened at how rude and idiotic some interviewers have been.

I have to say, while listening to her sing my (somewhat sensitive and over-tired) seven-year-old son was literally moved to tears by how beautiful her voice is.

Good for you, Miss Boyle!

desertwind said...

I thought she was cute (and was embarrassed & a little protective of her when she did the wiggle and her little joke... PLUS the awful mugs on those two guys I'd only read about but never seen in action made me nervous.) AND YET, though I didn't know what she'd do, she showed a determination and confidence that gave me confidence she'd pull through.

Her voice is a knockout and the real deal. A sophisticated musicianship. It was thrilling to see her transformation from cute but dottie auntie to poised diva. That's something that comes from more than native talent and she had to work to get there. She's more than a good amateur... she's a professional who wants to get her career ambitions back on track.

God, I hope she gets a manager who's got her best interest (personal/musical/financial) at heart.

Trace said...

"It does give me pause, though, how interviewers are blatantly saying things to her such as: "People were laughing *at* you beforehand." ... Do the interviewers want and expect her to agree with them that her physical presence was not worthy of being taken seriously?"

Really agree with miss cavendish and find it a bit sad that the idea that a beautiful voice can only come in a beautiful package is so firmly entrenched.

And what's with the idea that someone of 47 has one foot in the grave?

Anonymous said...

But in fairness, loads of pretty girls can sing as well as she can's because she's a weird lady who's fairly unattractive that everyone's going crazy over her. If she was just an ordinary looking girl with that voice, no one would pay her this much attention!
I just feel like the entire world is laughing at her or pitying her, and it's just not fair.

pjyllis said...

I agree that the patronizing comments about her are tiresome, but I also think she has vast reserves of character and she is much more savvy than anyone realizes. After re-watching the video I ralized she played the judges and the audience brilliantly; she knew perfectly well how they would perceive her and that as soon as she opened her mouth she would tear the roof off. There is a subtle indication of this too; when she turns to cue her music her expression suddenly changes from goofy to an intense laser focus on the task as hand. It’s a great moment!

dapper kid said...

She was so confident throughout inspite of fact that everyone there thought she was crazy. Amazing woman, really hope she does well!

TheSundayBest said...

My only problem with this situation is the number of comments/articles that include the phrase "Beauty really does come from within," basically saying "she's ugly but look, she can sing!"

She's not ugly - we're ugly. She is the same person whether she can sing or not, and this supposed juxtaposition is why I tend to avoid "reality" TV at all costs.

Patricia Dudley said...

Having seen a video clip, it seemed obvious to me that the scepticism displayed by all were staged as a foil for the extraordinary gift and cultivation of Susan's voice and acting ability.

Miriam said...

Oh for goodness sake. Maybe she doesn't WANT to be "taken" on a first date. How bloody patronising.

I agree with many of you; the preoccupation with her appearance is degrading. I do hope she'll rise above it all.

BornFree said...

I have heard (I can't remember where from) That one or two of the judges had heard her sing before her auditon. I know that they were probably just trying to prove that we sometimes judge people on appearences, but, to be honest, I'm just disgusted at what so many journalists have said about how, at first, people were laughing at her. I wasn't. I think there are alot of talented people out there, and Susan Boyle is one of them, but not the only one.

footwearqueen said...

Poor Susan, imagine going on your first ever date with Piers Morgan.

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fix credit said...

Just goes to show that talent is a prize to be sure. Susan has got talent to be sure.