Take That, Simon: Scottish Woman Becomes YouTube Sensation

When Susan Boyle stepped on the Britain's Got Talent stage last week, the audience laughed - until she started to sing. Now she's the favorite to win and millions have watched her performance on YouTube.

Boyle's performance aired on Saturday night in the U.K. and it seemed at first that she might have been yet another well-meaning yet fragile person being set up for humiliation, as is often the case on TV talent shows. Backstage before the performance, Boyle revealed that she lives alone with her cat Pebbles, has never been married and has never been kissed. (Many news reports - including that of the Sun, which titled its story "Virgin Atlantic" - have focused on Boyle's admission that she's never been kissed, as if it's somehow shocking that a woman who hasn't found "success" in "traditional" feminine pursuits could have such a beautiful voice. As Hortense says, "Nobody is discussing what may happen to Susan Boyle, now that she's 'famous.' If her performance represents the notion that it is talent, and not looks, that help a person succeed, and that the public should stop judging people by their appearance, is she going to keep the same look? Or are the reality TV show wizards going to give her a "makeover of a lifetime?")

Once Boyle took the stage, she told judge Simon Cowell that she'd like to be as famous as English singer Elaine Paige. Much of audience laughed and the camera cut to a snotty teenager rolling her eyes. Then Boyle began singing "I Dreamed A Dream" from Les Miserables and instantly everyone's expression changed, as seen in this video:

Not surprisingly, Boyle received a standing ovation from the crowd and all three judges voted her on to the next round, with judge Piers Morgan saying, "I am giving you the biggest ‘yes' I have ever given anybody. You said you wanted to be like Elaine Paige and everyone laughed at you. You proved them wrong." (According to The Sun, Simon Cowell says he will give Boyle a record deal whether she wins the overall competition or not. Boyle has already been dubbed "Paula Potts" after Paul Potts, the opera-singing ex-carphone salesman, who won the first season of Britain's Got Talent.)

Boyle is from Blackburn, Scotland, and her previous singing experience was limited to the church choir and karaoke. She told the<em Daily Mail that she has not sung in public since the death of her mother two years ago. "Mum lived with me and she was my life - I cared for her. But she urged me to enter this show as she said I had a fantastic voice. So this year I thought I'd go for it - and I can't believe what has happened."

Watch Boyle's full performance here on YouTube.

How Miss Boyle's I Dreamed A Dream on Britain's Got Talent Trounced Dr Who In The TV Ratings [The Daily Mail]
Virgin Atlantic [The Sun]